Ajaveski windmill and Loo Village
AJAVESKI towers like a landmark over the meadow. This former Dutch-type windmill was built in the late 19th century and belonged to Kostivere manor. The mill operated only for a few decades and then burnt down, with only the limestone walls left standing. In the mid-1980s, part of the southern wall collapsed as well.
The ruins of the old mill have now acquired a new appearance and new content. The reconstruction project was initiated by the non-profit association Ajaveski and the contemporary architectural solution was provided by Eek & Mutso.
The wingless windmill, with the southern side largely covered with glass, was opened in May 2014, under the name of the Ajaveski Handicraft and Art Centre. It accommodates clay and felting classes; exhibitions and various courses are organised and there is a handicraft and a coffee shop. On the upper floors the visitor can enjoy a beautiful panorama towards Kostivere and Vandjala and of the Jõelähtme church across the road. It is especially exciting to observe the birds' spring and autumn migrations, and of course to watch the stars. It is certainly worth a visit.
Loo village is located in Rebala heritage reserve; people have lived and worked here for centuries. All around we can see stone graves, cult stones and those with a hollow in them. On a map from 1803, the Loo inn of Kostivere manor, in the territory of the current Loo village, was the only household. When manors were nationalised in 1919, Kostivere became a state manor, and when the plots of land were rearranged (1921–1922), farms of settlers emerged besides old Vandjala village farms and cottagers’ houses. The settlers had their land away from the village centre by the road to Jõelähtme. During the Soviet period, the old village and the new settlement were separated and the latter was called Loo village. After Estonia regained independence in 1991, Vandjala and Loo villages were listed separately in the register of villages.
Today’s Loo village is a small place, with tidy limestone houses side by side, and with moss-covered stone fences. Slate was allegedly quarried in olden days straight from the bottom of the Jõelähtme river. Maret Tamjärv at the Estonian Open-Air Museum writes in her article, „Nature reserve under a siege”: „The village is in no danger of becoming extinct; the location, close to a big road and to Jõelähtme, works in its favour. Sheep would greatly help preserve the village and alvars. Värava farm deserves special mention as an excellent model for all inhabitants of the nature reserve. The farm has been professionally restored : the barn house has a shingle roof, old ceilings in the interior, etc.”
The big village well, nicely restored, is situated in the Värava farm courtyard, built jointly by village people. The conical well is cut into limestone and its perimeter is 14 metres.
The site of the old Kostivere inn is also near Värava farm. Between 1842 and 1847 the inn was run by Juhan Leinberg (1812–1885), who became known as Prophet Maltsvet.
Near the Värava farm is the stone of Prophet Maltsvet. According to a legend, the tipsy prophet Maltsvet fell asleep on the stone and experienced his famous revelation that the Estonian people must be taken to the Crimea to seek a better life. In his sermon, Maltsvet predicted the collapse of the Russian state, the overthrowing of the tsar and the end of the world. People saw Leinberg as a prophet and thus a new religious sect emerged – the Maltsvets. Leinberg called upon people to leave Estonia, abandon their possessions and go to the promised land where everybody lives carefree and in great comfort. With a few trusted people, he went to Russia in February 1860 to check everything out. Before leaving the prophet promised that a heavenly white ship will arrive at the end of May and take away the chosen people, therefore saving them from certain death. Hundreds of people indeed waited near the sea during May and June for the white ship. In spring 1862, about 700 peasants arrived in the promised land. However, soon enough they were all disappointed. A few years later, the prophet himself returned to Estonia, as his family had refused to follow him elsewhere.
Next to Lillevälja farm, by the road stands a large boulder split in two – the Stone of The Three Kings. It has a tale too. Three kings of Estonian descent passed through Loo village on their way to fight Denmark, and rested on this stone. Unfortunately they quarrelled and one king slapped the stone, which split into two.
We now proceed towards Vandjala village.
Tiiu Allikvee, 2016
T. Hiio „Jõelähtme kihelkonna asustus ja rahvastiku protsessid 1726–1858. a.” Diplomitöö, Tartu Ülikool 1991.
„Jõelähtme kihelkonna, Kostiferi mõisa Wandjala ja Loo külade ajaloost ja vaatamisväärsustest.” Koostaja Tiia Välk. Säästvat arengut toetav Jõelähtme MTÜ ja Seltsing Vandjala muinasküla, 2009.