The Pühtitsa Dormition Convent in Kuremäe, established in 1891 is the only Russian Orthodox cloister in Estonia and a destination for both pilgrims and curious travellers.
The Russian Orthodox nunnery of Estonia sits on the top of the highest hill of the area in picturesque Kuremäe. The hill, about 90 meters above the sea level, is believed to be the work of the Estonian national hero, Kalevipoeg. In ancient times it was a holy place with a sacrificing spring and a site for pagan worship.
The Pühtitsa nunnery of the Virgin Falling Asleep is a pilgrimage destination for Russians and Russian Orthodox believers. The Kuremäe Convent is one of North Eastern Estonia's main tourist attractions. Most of the visitors also go to the sacred spring that is famous for its curing waters. It is not unusual to see people with big containers coming for water.
Pühtitsa Dormition Convent, Kuremäe
The legend tells that a shepherd saw a female shaped revelation on the site and later found a holy icon in the same place. The name Pühtitsa comes from the word pühitsetud, meaning holy. The 19th century witnessed a heated fight over the rights to build on the hill. Local Lutherans had selected the place for a church and the Orthodox community was planning a convent. The governor of Estonia was a firm Orthodox believer and favored Russification. Following his order the nearly completed church was demolished.
At the end of the 19th century, the Russian Orthodox convent was completed on the ancient Estonian sacred mound to house 160 nuns and novices. This is the only building of its kind in Estonia, a blend of attractive natural surroundings and local architecture, affording the visitor the opportunity of experiencing a unique environment. Remarkably the community of nuns and the convent have remained unharmed through all the changes in regime.
(Sources: Estonia Tourist Office, MarvaoGuide.com)