Viljandi: Culture, Heritage, and Art
Some people have likened Viljandi to an imaginary town from a children’s book. It has a particular vibe – it is kind-hearted and tolerant, yet whimsical and artsy. Its tourist board promotes it as the “real Estonia”. And indeed, for centuries, Viljandi and the areas surrounding it have been perceived to be “more Estonian” than the rest of the country. There are places in Viljandi you might feel like in a time capsule, transported back to the pre-WWII era. There is certain innocence present; the place does not seem to be affected by trauma as deeply as many other places in Estonia.
As we have just one day at our disposal, and it would take a while to get to the heart of Estonians and back from there (the time we can spend to learn about history and background), we’ll get just a glimpse.
Upon arrival, we’ll visit a place nearby, Heimtali, wherein an old rubble-stone school house and adjoining buildings, we’ll get an overview of Estonian domestic life in the past, exquisite handicrafts and household goods, and learn about the old way of life. Not just the material culture but also the mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes.
Our next stop would be the Kondas Centre, a different facet of culture, an art centre dedicated to naïve and outsider art, giving us a fresh, somewhat eccentric glance to the world and emphasising the child-like airs of Viljandi.
Naturally, we’ll take time to wander in the castle hills, visit the ruins, and enjoy the picturesque views of the lake that defines Viljandi.
As a bonus, we’ll end our Viljandi exploration by visiting one of the private galleries and having an inspirational talk about art and life and heritage.
The day will start for us at 9 am and we’ll be back in Tallinn by 10:15 pm. Your guide for the event will be Kadi Pilt.