Viljandi is a small town in southern Estonia. This sleepy town during the winter becomes very alive in the summer. It is most vibrant during a folk music festival when the town is full of the colorful crowd enjoying the sun, beautiful music and a company of happy people. But it’s not the only thing Viljandi has to offer. Exploring the ruins of Viljandi Castle, you will go back in time and enjoy a walk in the 13th century.
Nowadays in ruins, the castle used to be one of the strongest castles in Livonia. Today, Viljandi is located in Estonia, but Livonia used to be a historical region on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, basically present-day Estonia and Latvia. The Livonian Brothers of the Sword, a Catholic military order, chose the Viljandi hill to build a fort and a castle in the late 13th and the early 14th century. In the Polish-Swedish wars in the 17th century, the castle was badly damaged and was not repaired anymore. Now, the ruins are a nice place to take a walk, and in a former courtyard, stands an open-air stage where concerts take place.
To enjoy a beautiful day in the lovely town of Viljandi, take a walk in the castle park. It is located in the ancient valley, around the ruins of the castle. To connect the town with the park, in 1925, Crow Bridge was built. Actually, it was supposed to be named Castle Bridge, but the town folk started calling it Crow Bridge, after the name of the mayor of Viljandi at that time - Jaan Vares (Vares is 'crow' in Estonian).
It is said that on the right side of the castle gate, there are fingerprints that bring you luck. If you put your fingers in the old prints in the wall and wish for something really hard, your wish will come true. Legend says that fingerprints have been there since the construction of the castle and were made by someone who built it and wanted to make a mark in the history. So, try to find fingerprints.
So, if you happen to visit Viljandi, don’t forget to take a nice walk around the ruins of Viljandi Castle, you won’t regret it. If you find a concert to attend in the summer, it’s an experience you will never forget. But just a quiet walk, enjoying the weather and sunshine, is also nice - you will feel as walking in the 13th century.
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