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

Pilgrim’s route

From Raasiku via Peningi, Perila and Rätla to Udara

We cross the railway at Raasiku train station and walk along Jaama Street towards Jägala Road. Once on the road, we keep right, come to the bridge across Jõelähtme River and take the first path left after crossing the bridge. The rather grassy but clearly visible path suits the traveller very well.
Soon we come to a small crossroad, and carry straight on. However, at the next crossroad we turn right along the forest edge and ditch banks. The leisurely walk from the Raasiku train station has taken about 40 minutes.


Soon we see on the left … so sorry, but not sure what it actually is… a pump house? In any case, we walk on and see big trees on the right – this is the way to the Peningi manor. Everyone can now decide whether to go and take a look at the house or carry on.
Incidentally, from where we are standing, there should be a shop by the road behind the Peningi manor, open every day 9.00–22.00.

Peningi manor was separated from the Raasiku manor in 1664. The most famous person connected with Peningi manor is naturally Peter the Great who bought the manor in 1723 for his wife Catherine. Peter allegedly transported hay from here to his horses in Tallinn. After the tsar’s death the manor belonged to the Baranoff family from 1725.
The most tragic event in the history of Peningi was the year 1905. As in many places elsewhere, the manor house was set on fire, but the owner, Arthur von Baranoff, was the only lord of the manor who lost his life in these events – he was shot in the courtyard. His was not the only blood shed at Peningi manor. Baranoff's widow sold the manor to Baron Schilling, the last manor lord of Peningi. In 1917 his son was killed here.
Later, the manor house has accommodated a school and offices. It is now privately owned and waiting to be rescued from total collapse. Some preliminary work has indeed started.

We walk on from the Peningi road (including those who went up to see the house). The sign leads right, to a memorial stone to Jaan Lepp.


We step closer, arriving at the ruins of a big stone stables and there on the left, between the remains of the foundation, is the stone. We learn that Jaan Lepp was the owner of Sanglepp farm, decorated with the Estonian Cross of Liberty, acted as commander of the armoured train no. 2, and that the Russians shot him in Kirov prison in 1941. The memorial stone was established in 1995 to celebrate Jaan Lepp’s centenary. Lieutenant Colonel Jaan Lepp was not only a hero of the War of Independence, but also a gifted sportsman who tirelessly promoted Estonian football.

We now go back a bit and continue. Once on the road, we have (from the Raasiku railway station) a few hours walking behind us.
On the road we turn left. About one kilometre of rather uncomfortable walking by the roadside cannot now be avoided. We pass the Retimäe bus stop. Why are there never any benches at bus stops where a traveller could rest a while and get out his raincoat or water bottle from his rucksack?

A bit further on stands the Peningi old community house (1898), next to the Silmsi spring. In the past, some people took the boat to the community house. Today it seems to be someone’s home.

We come to the sign marking the start of Perila.
Perila is an ancient village, mentioned already in 1298 in the „Liber Census Daniae”. The birthplace of our prominent song festival organiser and conductor Gustav Ernesaks (1908–1993) is marked with a memorial stone.


Our path now turns left off the main road at Rätla bus stop. The sign says: Dendropark 4 km, and this is where we are heading. We have by now covered about 6.5 km. A few kilometres later we turn right at the old grain dryer of Rätla manor. Another 2 kilometres and we reach the dendrological park with a nice name of Smaragd (emerald). The traveller can have a rest here and feel almost like in the Garden of Eden – the species-rich park-garden offers abundant beauty, colours and aromas.

Daila Aas, May 2016