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

Pilgrim’s route

Across Härma walls to Väiko-Härma


From Jõeveere we continue towards Väiko-Härma, 5 km away.
From behind the Jõeveere outside toilet we head for young pine trees, on to the road, then left, along the marked trail that runs along the Piusa shore. The views are truly wonderful.

Piusa river starts at Haanja Uplands and runs into Pihkva lake. The 109 km long river has the biggest descent in the country: Plaani Külajärv, where the river starts is about 250 m above sea level, at the estuary the height is just 30 m. The Piusa primeval valley is at its most magnificent at the middle course of the river between Lindora and Vana-Vastseliina, where you can see 20 Devonian sandstone outcrops in a few dozen kilometres. Riverbed is deep in the valley, the river itself is shallow, meandering, full of rapids and supposedly rich in fish. The Piusa river primeval valley nature reserve was established in 1962. The reserve also includes villages on our trail: Mäe-Kõoküla, Lindora, Väiko-Härma, Vana-Vastseliina.
15 km trail of Piusa primeval valley starts at Võru–Obinitsa road at Lindora for those who arrive from north, and finishes in front of Vastseliina castle.



Härma walls
After 1.5 km we see the sign pointing to the Alumine (Lower) wall. Alumine or Kõlgusniidu wall stands a hundred or so steps from the sign.


The 20.5 m high wall with colourful layers seems like a work of art. The traveller is provided with firewood for a bonfire and a possibility to put up a tent.

Going on, we turn left at the crossroads. After 600 m we cross a meadow and see Ülemine (Upper) or Mäemine or Keldre (Cellar) wall. This is the highest Devonian sandstone outcrop in Estonia, 150 m long wall stretches up to 43 m. Keldre wall got its name after an old cellar built into it. The cellar and a mill site of the same name are in private ownership.


Standing here in front of the Devonian sandstone outcrop we could image being a time traveller, we could look back in time for 400 million years when continents were raising and taking shape, when mountains appeared and oceans retreated, when the land where we are standing, our Estonia, was somewhere near the equator.
Time acquires a new meaning. Or, who knows, loses any meaning at all.

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Let us proceed. We cross the bridge, turn right and climb up to Keldre wall where Piusa river can be seen through tree branches.

We walk along the riverbank, up and down, up and down, until Nakrimaa meadow, where we can enjoy a view of Nakri wall. The height of the shore is 17 m and the height of the outcrop 12 m.


Once down on the road, we need to turn to the path in the direction of two o'clock. We proceed along the marked trail across the meadows of Sillaniit, Tsõõrikniit and Rebaseniit.

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We then pick the right-hand path at the birch trees and walk on until we arrive in Väiko-Härma at the Piusa Primeval Valley Holiday Complex.


It was about 2.5 km from Nakri wall to Väiko-Härma.

It is a pity that Jõeveere and Väiko-Härma are so close – the traveller has to choose one, because you cannot really settle down for overnight rest every five kilometres.
Piusa Holiday Complex offers something to all tastes: cottages, a barn, comfortable rooms in the main building and rooms on the second floor of the dining house. The food is really good here, as is the smoke sauna, as is everything else. In order to fully enjoy it, you are advised to book accommodation well in advance.


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History of the Holiday Complex
(shortened from their homepage)
Väiko-Härma mill was established in the 1930s by Aleksander Laanberg (Estonian version Laanemäe). The smithy opened first as the mill needed iron details, and it later served the entire local population.
The mill had two pairs of stones. Besides grinding flour, it also made various items wood. A threshing machine was acquired during the last war. People came from 20 km afar.
The mill lake had pike, perch, burbot, roach, brown trout and crawfish. Fishing in the lake was the privilege of the mill owner.
Aleksandr Laanemäe died in 1944 and his son Voldemar inherited the mill. A new house was built near the mill in 1946 (today’s holiday house), where the Laanemäe family lived until 1961. Voldemar Laanemäe handed the mill over to Petseri (Pechory) Railway and remained a miller there. Between 1963 and 1972 the mill belonged to a sovkhoz (state-owned farm).
After being inherited and donated several times, the farm finally belonged to Voldemar Laanemäe’s son Koit who worked on it over 10 years. At some point it was decided to open a holiday complex; the first visitors came in 2000.

Daila Aas, summer 2021

Accommodation for pilgrims
Piusa Holiday Complex.
Contact: Ülle Ploom, Tel. +372 5289134; info@puhkemaja.ee; http://www.puhkemaja.ee/
Väiko-Härmä village, Meremäe rural municipality, Võrumaa 65354
Please book well in advance!


„Eesti loodusmonumendid. Võrumaa”. Autorid: Martin Suuroja, Kalle-Mart Suuroja. Tallinn, Geo Trail KS, 2016;
Tõnis Saadre. „Eesti ürgloodus”, Tallinn, Geo Trail KS, 2015.