Sillamäe, known also in Germanized version as Sillamäggi or Sillamägi (Estonian for”Bridge Hill”), is a town in Ida-Viru County in the northern part of Estonia.
During the Soviet regime in Estonia, Sillamäe remained a closed town due to the secrecy and security measures related to the uranium production activities at the local plant.
And till today, this is quite complicated to notice the entrance to the city.
The locality of Sillamäggi was first mentioned in 1502 when the area was under the control of Livonian Order. The bridge across Sõtke and a mill in Sillamäggi were documented in 1700.
In the 1800s, Sillamäggi developed into a resort village offering a more tranquil experience than the nearby resort town of Hungerburg. But In the 1920s and 1930s, Sillamäe became the industrial city.
This part of Estonia- north-eastern Estonia, Ida-Virumaa, has a challenging and little bit sad history. Settled a long time ago. Amazing nature, sea, forest and cliff coast. Near to Russia…Older people still remember beautiful buildings, cosy cafe…
But by the end of 1944, the original native inhabitants were not allowed to return to their homes after the war and immigrant Russian-speaking workers from other parts of the USSR were brought in to populate the city. As I wrote, Sillamäe was a special, industrial and very secret city, even the locals could not visit it. I visited Sillamäe first time at the end of the 90s…
But Sillamäe is a very different, stylish and interesting city. You have the possibility to examine the buildings from the post-war period of Stalin, classical avenues, pompous promenade and museums.
And yes. Most of the inhabitants of the City are Russians. And yes. There are still live some people, who believe that their president is Putin, People who cannot and do not want to speak Estonian.
But most of Russians in this area are very hospitable, hearty and friendly people.
Best Route to Visit Narva Jõesuu
From Tallinn to Narva 211 km (2 h 30 min) on the way back visit:
- Narva is the third-largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, by the Russian border, Not far from the town is the Narva Waterfall, whose spillway capacity is one of the largest in northern Europe.
- Narva Jõesuu 7,5 km beach, covered with fine sand and lined with a pine forest; Old fashioned dachas (summer houses) alternately with gorgeous villas. Abandoned nine-store houses alternately with The New Russian (a person who gained quick riches) style palaces with arches and towers…
- The Sinimäed Hills (or Blue Hills; The hills are best known as the location of the Battle of Tannenberg Line, fought in World War II on July 26–August 12, 1944. There, the Waffen-SS defeated a Soviet offensive against Germany.
- Sillamäe during the Soviet regime in Estonia, Sillamäe remained a closed town due to the secrecy and security measures related to the uranium production activities at the local plant. You have the possibility to examine the buildings from the post-war period of Stalin, classical avenues, pompous promenade and museums. (Drive in the city Rumjantsevi Street and find Sillamäe Kultuurikeksus (Cultural Center- if possible ask permission to visit this centre as well, inside is very interesting)) Park your car and walk in park and promenade
- Toila palace and Park, President Päts used as his summer residence. You can walk in the well-marked and well-maintained park, look at various species of trees and shrubs, explore Hõbeallika (Silver Spring) Cave, as well as enjoy the sea view and the sunset from the Swallow’s Nest.
- Valaste waterfall located on the Ontika limestone cliff, is more than 30 m high, making it the highest waterfall in Estonia
- Vihula Manor At the time it belonged to the Danish baron Hans von Lode. The manor fascinates with its atmosphere and picturesque location in Lahemaa National Park.
- Viinistu In the little coastal village of Viinistu, you can visit an Art Museum located in old cold storage of a fish processing plant.
- Viru Raba Viru bog nature trail ( 3,5 km) 3,5 km is one way, a circle will be 6 km.
- In this region the first language is Russian. But practically all Estonians speak or at least understand English. Because of the similarity of languages, Estonians are able to understand Finnish. Children learn German, French, Swedish or Chinese at school
- almost everywhere you can pay with a card. ATM -s are in the bigger place and petrol stations.
- and yes, this is not a fairy tale. Almost everywhere in Estonia is Wifi
Best Souvenirs to buy from Estonia
- Kalev confectionery, liqueur Old Tallinn/Vana Tallinn, Balbiino ice cream and Tallinna spiced sprats (Tallinna vürtsikilu) and Narva silmud (lamprey)
- Handicrafts made of linen, wool, wood, juniper or limestone. Haapsalu scarf.
(NB! In Tallinn Viru Street you can find a lot of amber and Matrjoschka. Amber is from Lithuania and Matrjoschka from Russia. Both countries are beautiful and with a rich culture and interesting history. I suggest to visit Lithuania and Russia :))
- for children, everything about and with Lotte.
Estonian Food you Must to Try
- visit Estonian supermarkets and buy some Estonian dairy products: kohuke, kodujuust (cottage cheese), hapukoor (sour cream). Buy Kama and rye bread, handicraft beer
- In restaurants ask for quark cake, soups with dumplings, meatballs or cabbage. Semolina cream, quark cream or bread cream. Local lake fish. Drink kefir, kvass or local beer. Värska mineral water. And Estonian tap water and spring water are clean, pure and drinkable.
- check and google timetables for Viljandi Folk, Pärnu Weekend, Jazzkaar, PÖFF or Laulupidu.
- buy movie about Estonian history: ” Nimed marmortahvlil”, ” Tants aurukatla ümber”, ” “Tuulepealne maa”. Or ” Malev”, this is a comedy and pseudo history, but very good summary about Estonians.
- Music: Pärt ja Tüür. Tõnis Mägi, The Sun; Metsatöll and TradAttack. And read my blog posts. I gave a lot of links for good Estonian music.