Meet the mysterious White Lady of Haapsalu

Meet the mysterious White Lady of Haapsalu

2 minutes to read

Haapsalu is a small town in Estonia, 100 kilometers from Tallinn, just on the west coast. Otherwise sleepy little town becomes alive in the summer, especially during the festivities in August, when it is said that the mysterious ghost of the White Lady is celebrated. This is your chance to meet her.

It is believed that during the full moon night in the middle of a hot summer month of August, the White Lady walks in Haapsalu Castle, and you can see her in the southern window. She has become the symbol of Haapsalu and not as a scary ghost but as a loved one. But how and why is she there?

A love story from the Middle Ages

It is said that, in the Middle Ages, every canon had to live a virtuous life and obey the orders of the monastery. Women were not allowed to go to the episcopal castle, and if they disobeyed, the punishment was death. But as it often happens, love comes into the way. So, one canon and one Estonian girl fell in love. As their love was too strong, they didn’t even care about the punishments, and the canon dressed the girl up as a boy and brought her to the castle to sing in the choir. Nobody noticed anything for a long time, but of course, they were finally discovered. The bishop didn’t spare the young lovers: he threw the canon in the castle’s dungeon to starve to death and immured the girl alive in the wall. The girl screamed for days until the silence came. But, sadly, her soul couldn’t find peace, and since then, she comes in August to the window to grieve her loved one. The White Lady Festival always takes place in August. In the weekend closest to the full moon, the Haapsalu Old town is taken over by different activities, buzzing marketplace and open-air performances.

Haapsalu Castle
Haapsalu Castle
Lossiplats 3, Haapsalu, 90502 Lääne maakond, Eesti
Picture © Credit to: iStock/veger
Picture © Credit to: iStock/veger

The Nordic Venice: where time stands still

As for Haapsalu, the best time to visit is definitely during the summer. It is often called the Venice of Nordic countries. There is always something to do – shows, festivals and music events take place during the whole summer. This beautiful resort town is a lovely place to have a romantic vacation. Small and cosy cafes, promenades, endless parks and warm summery seawater makes it impossible not to enjoy your vacation. Haapsalu is actually also known for its handicrafts all over the world. Haapsalu shawl is loved among the knitters. It is made of lamb’s wool and is so fine that it can be pulled through a lady’s wedding ring. So, it’s one thing that you can keep your eyes on.  

Picture © Credit to: iStock/veger
Picture © Credit to: iStock/veger

So, not all the ghosts are gnarly. Some are actually very nice and worth celebrating. Visit Haapsalu during the White Lady Festival and try to meet this mysterious spirit from the Middle Ages.

Cover picture © Credit to: iStock/leskas

The author

Merje Aus

Merje Aus

Merje – proud Estonian, in love with everything her home country has to offer. Studying Estonian philology and working as a journalist.

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