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Sightseeing in Kuressaare - what to see. Complete travel guide

Estonia is a marvelous country that has not one but two capitals. Tallinn is the main capital of Estonia, but right now we are going to tell you about the other capital, the city of Kuressaare that has been a major city in the country for many centuries. It is situated on the picturesque island of Saaremaa. Because of such a location, the city has been the “island capital” of Estonia for a long time. An interesting fact: there are no other nearby cities on this small strip of land. Tourists from all over the world try to visit this place, see the island city with their own eyes and learn more about its unique heritage.
In the past, there were wooden buildings and a market on the site of modern Kuressaare. A castle was built on the island in the 80s of the 14th century. This castle became a bishop's residence. A settlement started slowly growing around the castle. The Dutch kingdom captured the castle two hundred years later. Kuressaare officially became a town in 1563. Starting from 1645, Swedish rulers owned the town for six years. At that time, the Germans, Dutch, and Swedes made up the majority of the island’s population. However, Sweden lost this territory in 1721, and the island became a part of the Russian Empire.
During the Russian reign, Kuressaare increased its importance. The island city started developing rapidly. This is when a large resort was established in Kuressaare. It quickly became popular with Russian nobles. In 1918, Kuressaare joined a new formation – the Republic of Estonia. After that, the settlement got its current name. Until that time, the city had another name, Arensburg. As a part of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, Kuressaare was developing successfully. The island city became renowned mostly as a resort destination. The city hasn’t lost its popularity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Every year, Kuressaare welcomes thousands of tourists from different countries of the world. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
The Kuressaare Castle or the Kuressaare Episcopal Castle is the main landmark that the city is proud of. This is one of the finest landmarks of the medieval architecture in Estonia that has survived until modern days in almost original state. The castle is a rectangular construction that is forty meters long and wide. The castle has bastions and guardian towers. The latter are forty meters tall. The castle got its design that we can see nowadays in the 40s of the 14th century. Initially, the castle belonged to the Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek, but the building got a new owner, the Dutch King Frederick II, in 1559.
Nowadays, the castle hosts the exhibition of a museum dedicated to the history of the majestic building, Kuressaare, and Saaremaa in general. The photo gallery, which opened here not long ago, unleashes the true beauty of local nature. The fortress frequently hosts open-air festivals and celebrations. Would you like to master an ancient craft? There are a forgery and two artisan workshops (a glass and a ceramic) in the castle. All visitors are welcome to learn how to make beautiful items from iron and glass. In the past, there was a deep moat that protected the castle, but it was covered up with soil later. Nowadays, there is a beautiful park on the site of the former moat.
The opening of the park happened in the second half of the 19th century. This is the time when Kuressaare started developing as a resort destination. The first park committee was established in Kuressaare at the beginning of the 60s in the 19th century. The main mission of the committee was to make new recreational areas and maintain their infrastructure in good condition. Local people also tried to help. Some were bringing money, and some offered seedlings. Some people tried to help by providing the committee with horses and carts. Nowadays, the park features more than eighty different trees and shrubs. This is a popular venue for concerts and various city events. Consider taking a stroll here as this park is not only a great place to enjoy fresh air but also to have fun.
Kuressaare Town Hall is a no less important attraction of the island city. The building features baroque elements that make the town hall look simple and elegant. This design is typical for North European countries. Despite the simple design and baroque traits, the building looks majestic and indestructible. The portal sculpture is one of the few decorations of Kuressaare Town Hall. Take a closer look and you will notice the year when the building was finished – 1670. Visitors are allowed to enter the building and go to the second floor. Don’t forget to look at the ceiling because it is decorated with the biggest ceiling painting that has ever been made in Estonia.
Kuressaare has an airport situated three kilometers from the city. It serves flights by Estonian carries from Tallinn and Stockholm. There is another way to reach the island – by ferry that departs from Virtsu and goes to Kuivastu. After that, the road crosses the dam. There are daily buses from Kuivastu that take passengers to the “island capital” of Estonia in one and a half hours.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Kuressaare and surroundings

Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Kuressaare
♥   Castle 'Kuressaare Castle' , 0.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Kuressaare
♥   National park 'Vilsandi rahvuspark' , 40.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Nature Park 'Milzukalns' , 63.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National park 'Matsalu rahvuspark' , 80.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Nature Park 'Talsu pauguraine' , 113.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Nature Park 'Engures ezers' , 116.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sightseeing in Estonia: things to see

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Sightseeing in regions nearby Kuressaare

All about Kuressaare, Estonia - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Kuressaare, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Kuressaare in few days.
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