Top Historic Sights in Valga, Estonia

Explore the historic highlights of Valga

Valga Town Hall

The Town Hall was built in 1865 and its high half-hipped roof, skylights and turrets make it one of the most outstanding examples of historicist architecture in Estonia. There is a memorial tablet to Johannes Märtson, who was the mayor from 1902 to 1917, in the foyer of the Town Hall.
Founded: 1865 | Location: Valga, Estonia

St. John's Church

The St. John’s (Jaani) church in Valga is one of the most beautiful churches in Estonia. The construction started in 1787, but it was not completed until 1816. The church represents Baroque and Classicism styles. It was built according to the design of architect Christoph Haberland and it is the only church in Estonia with an oval ground plan. The unique organ has been preserved in its original shape and it is the o ...
Founded: 1787-1816 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Stefan Bathory Monument

Valga is first mentioned as a meeting point of tradesmen in the Riga Credit Book of 1286, but it got its city rights only in 1584 from the king of Poland, Stefan (Istv√°n) Bathory, who was originally Hungarian. To commemorate this, a monument to Stefan Bathory was opened opposite St John's church in the centre of the town in 2003.
Founded: 2003 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Valga Roman Catholic Church

The church was built of natural stone and bricks in 1907. Lithuanian and Polish railway workers were actively involved in building the church. The church operated until 1940 and from 1945, the building was used as a warehouse and later as a gym. The extension of the church was built in 1995 and the church was renovated.
Founded: 1906-1907 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Valga Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of Saint Isidore was built between 1897-1898 and it was designed by V. J. Lunski. The church has five octagonal cupolas and represents the neo-classicism style.
Founded: 1897-1898 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.