Do you know that there are altogether ten places called Arukülas in Estonia? The word „aru” means a meadow and the name is thus not exactly rare.
We are in Aruküla in Raasiku rural municipality in Harju county beside the Tallinn–Tapa railway. The ancient village on that site (Arenculle) was first mentioned in 1291.
Aruküla manor was separated from Raasiku in the mid-17th century. As happened in many other places, the railway brought new life and people here in the late 19th century so that a new settlement emerged near the railway station at the beginning of the 20th century. A garden city was established in mid-century in the nice pine forest, which had already been planned before World War I. In 1977 everything was united into a small country town, currently the administrative centre of Raasiku municipality.
Aruküla manor was at first an auxiliary manor of Raasiku. From 1766 until the manor was taken over by the state in 1919, it belonged to the Baranoffs.
The single-floor classicist mansion was built in the early 19th century; a wooden second floor was added at the end of the century. From 1921, the manor accommodated a school until the new schoolhouse was completed in 1978. It is now home for the Waldorf School (since 1992), a kindergarten and a hobby school. Pilgrims can be accommodated at the Waldorf School, although a prior booking is required.
Of the mansion’s auxiliary buildings, the mill, barn, stables, and steward’s house have survived. After the state take-over of the manor, a settler’s farm was established around the steward’s house and the barn. In 1925 it was donated to the then minister of the interior, Karl Einbund (Kaarel Eenpalu) who had taken part in the War of Independence. Eenpalu’s grandchild Anne Eenpalu set up a small museum in the steward’s house. If you would like to look around the house and listen to Anne Eenpalu’s stories about her grandfather, please make an appointment at 56 687663.
Two alleys start from the heart of the manor, one lined by larch trees, the other by chestnut trees. We take the second, the bigger road, and walk towards the railway station.
There is a schoolhouse and community centre on our way. A stylish commemorative bench of black polished granite stands in front of the community centre, and a stone next to it, bearing the date when the village was first mentioned, 1291.
On our way we also see the huge Aruküla boulder (or Hellema or Hellamaa boulder), one of the biggest in the country. As for boulders, we are the richest country in Europe.
Just before we leave Aruküla, we come upon a wonderful coffee and handicraft shop, VildiVilla. A traveller needs fuel, and this is on offer here aplenty, in impressive variety. We make our choices and plant ourselves in sunshine in front of the café, feeling very pleased with life in general and with Aruküla in particular. It is almost tempting to try some purring in harmony with a local cat who has joined us.
Still, Raasiku awaits.
Accommodation for pilgrims in Aruküla
Aruküla Waldorf School – Contact: Kerti Pellman, tel. 512 2603; Merelle Roolaht, tel. 5661 0205
Daila Aas, 2016