A Spiritual and Cultural-Historical Journey
from Pirita to Vana-Vastseliina

Pilgrim’s route

Paidra Watermill

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Some people believe, at Paidra’s name is derived after the river boats, made of animal skin.
The Pindi Mansion built a Paidra Watermill, standing on the Võhandu River in 1858. At the end of the 19th Century, there was a sawmill and flourmill, where also carded and spun the lambswool.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Gustav Melts became the tenant of the Mill. At the time, the Mill had already three pairs of grinding stones, in there was made a groats and milled flour. In addition to carding and spinning, was also weaving, stretching and coloring the fabrics. In the small sawmills was cut boards and shingles. Over forty workers were employed. Until 1952, the old road to Väimela goes across the dam, its cobblestones have been preserved till now.
In 1917 – the fire started probably from the sawmill – the Mill was burning totally down, only stone walls remained.

In 1937, Kristjan Julius Lüütsepp bought from auction the Mill’s ruins. The energetic son of Saru Alaveski’s owner inherit the Mill, which he put soon into work. The strong support to Kristjan was his wife’s dowry. After few years was completed a residential house. In Paidra was built a concrete dam and a modern turbine was ordered. Soon, there were already three turbines in the Mill, so the electric light got to his own farm and also to the five more neighbors’ households.


In 1944, before leaving from Estonia, the Germans destroyed a large part of the Mill’s buildings. Kristjan Lüütsepp started to rebuild the Mill again. Older people remember, at after the war there was 63 horse carts stood in the order, waiting of grain milling.
But in 1946, the owner had to give his Mill to the Võru County Communistic Industrial Plant. Kristjan Lüütsepp stay as head of the Mill for couple years. In 1947, his family left from Paidra in the fear of deportation. Later, the Mill went from Industrial Plant to the Kirov’s Collective Farm. In residential house was planned to open a shop, but night before the opening, the balcony windows were taken off and the robbers took all the goods. The store was never open. The grain was milled in Paidra until 1978, but the sawmill worked until the returning of the assets after Sovjet occupation.

In 1992, Paidra’s old Mill was returned to the owners and now lives in there Kristjan Lüütsep’s daughter Valve with her husband Ülo Kaasik. The Mill works now as a sawmill for its own use and supplies with electricity to its household, but the surplus is directed to the electricity grid.

Valve Lüütsepp-Kaasik (born 1937) graduated from the University of Tartu in 1961 as a pharmacist, but has never worked in this specialty. Valve is a former top basketball player. She has been playing basketball for over twenty years and has become in European Champion (1962) and in World Champion (1964). Later she worked as a sports specialist. Valve takes care of his large garden with lots of flowers and different herbs.
Couple of summer back, when we went to the Paidra, with friends of the Pirita Convent and Lagle Parek, Valve talked about how good it is to be back here in the Mill, built by his father, and to hear every day the swash of the Võhandu River, which he has dreamed so much, in many years. We wish, at the life of the Paidra Mill to continues as well as possible.


The protected barrow cemetery lies near the Paidra mill on the right bank of the Võhandu River. There are a number of other barrows in the forest nearby and to the north and south of Paidra Lake. The cemetery allegedly dates from the second part of the first millennium.

In Paidra, pilgrims can overnight at Jüri Puhkemaja (Jüri Hostel, see the map!). Contact: Tel. 51 999 454
Accommodation by the Lake of Paidra:
Contact: Tel. +372 676 7122, 5555 4217, info.kiidjarve@rmk.ee

Daila Aas, 2018