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

Pilgrim’s route

From Janukjärv to Karilatsi Open-Air Museum

There are two possibilities to get from Janukjärv to Varbuse Music Manor. One road leads through Krootuse and Karaski villages. The other road is for those who wish to see Karilatsi Open-Air Museum and Ihamaru, and enjoy a longer walk along the historical Postal Road. The latter takes longer, but the museum is among the prettiest in the country, and pilgrims can overnight in the museum. This route also includes two lakes, big and small Palojärv.


We cross the Piigaste stream and carry on along Kuulmaorg (Kooljaorg) valley. Piigaste stream crops up several times on our way.
On the first crossroads, the left road takes us to Veski farm and Tsähkna mill lake.
Tsähkna mill was known already during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). The watermill stood in Kahja village by Tsähkna stream. The mill was destroyed in fire in 1940.
In 1887, the small Tsähkna mill farm was bought by Joosep Haavakivi, father of our famous poet Anna Haava (1864–1957). Her parents lived there only for a few years; the poet spent her summers there, and the beautiful landscape certainly had an impact on her sensitive nature.

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We proceed along the right-hand road. It turns out a bit later that we have accidentally walked through private property (Palgi farm), but we notice it only when reaching the gate that takes us out. We turn left. On the right is Esälaan. Every forest has its own name. Soon a farm (Pedaja) appears on the left bend in the road, then another (Ojakalda), and a third (Liivamäe). The latter’s white house has a striking appearance.
During all the summers we have been walking through numerous villages, we have wished that each farm would have a name. It does happen occasionally, although the most popular signs unfortunately seem to be Private Property and Private Land.
We have walked for three quarters of an hour and come to a slightly bigger gravel road. We turn left, soon passing Tammelehe farm. At Koopamäe farm we turn right.

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Forests rich in berries on both sides of the road. Tamme farm stands near the crossroads. We walk straight on, past the birch trees by the road. We have been walking for an hour and a half.


On the right is an ancient hillfort Pelgupaik (Refuge) dating from the 2nd millennium. According to the map, the fort is surrounded by Liinatsuu (marshland). The fort is a higher hill on marshy ground, the slopes are quite steep and covered with woods. There are also numerous cave-like holes. It was used as a refuge during the wars.


Our path again crosses the Piigaste stream.
After 600–700 m we reach another crossroad, turn left and soon come to Kõrista farm. The name of the farm is clearly displayed. Until the 1970s there was Kõrista village here as well.

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We pass the farm and a hedge of fir trees. White birches by the road, cowsheds from the collective farm era visible ahead. We turn right between the sheds.
On the left is Kassimets (Cat’s Wood), on the right Kirbumets (Flea Wood). The farm called Kassimetsa is for some reason situated in Kirbumets...

There seem to be a lot of forest in the area, at least for now. Still, the numerous brand new roads that cut into the forest in order to better transport the trees out, leave a grim impression.

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We reach the tarmac, the old Postal Road, and turn right. After 300 m we come to Karilatsi Open-Air Museum, where pilgrims are offered accommodation and, in case anyone is interested, a smoke sauna.
We were on our way for two and a half hours, and walked 7.7 km.

Daila Aas, September 2020


Ello Säärits. Anna Haava: elu ja loomingu lugu. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2007.