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Yearbook 2003
Last change: 05-01-2007

Summaries of articles

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Tiina Jürgen

The parish of Viljandi was situated in the middle of Viljandi County. To the north from this parish were the parishes of Kolga-Jaani, Suure-Jaani, Pilistvere and Põltsamaa, to the south – the parishes of Paistu and Tarvastu. In the west the parish bordered on Kõpu parish, in the east on Lake Võrtsjärv.

Ethnographically, Viljandi parish was a transitional district, where in the fashion and decoration of the national costume features typical of both North and South Estonia could be found. The northern parishes of Viljandi County were relatively sensitive to innovations and fashion. The costume here also had several common features with North Estonian ones, which did not reach further south from Viljandi. The southern areas of the parish represented the ethnographical elements of the southern part of Viljandi County. Women in the southern municipalities wore, similarly to women in Mulgi parishes, shirts with low stand-up collars and red cross-stitching, Mulgi kerchiefs, longcoats with red ornamental braiding, red gloves with rose pattern and stockings with wide calves. At the same time the parishes north from Viljandi accepted the influences of North Estonia: beside the longcoat, indigo blue knitted woollen jackets with folded edgings were worn, shirts with rich white embroidery and folded collars, small coifs edged with bobbin lace or commercial lace in the front, two-yarn or blue-and-white patterned gloves and rose-patterned stockings. Also men’s fashion was different in northern areas than in parishes south of Viljandi, where men had stuck to old-fashioned eastern-Mulgi clothes. In the northern parishes men more easily accepted the fashion influences of North Estonia and started to wear indigo blue suits made from all-wool fabric.

The women’s costume of Viljandi in the 19th century included a fine linen shirt, a striped woollen skirt or a linen wrap-skirt, a long linen coat, a knitted jacket or a black woollen longcoat, a sheepskin coat, an apron, a belt, a small coif, stockings, gloves and leather shoes (earlier rustic peasant shoes) as footwear. A maiden in Viljandi wore similar clothes, without the apron and coif. On festive occasions she wore a headband or a chaplet.

The costume of a man from Helme included in the middle of the 19th century a white linen shirt, linen or woollen knee breeches, a short jacket, a vest, a longcoat, a sheepskin coat, a woollen belt, stockings with laces, gloves, rustic peasant shoes and a hat made from black-sheepwool or a cap with ear flaps.

Over the years, quite a rich collection of folk costumes and decorations has been collected for the museum, including clothing items, which are very representative from the folkloristic point of view, but also several ethnographical rarities. All in all, 248 single items have been collected from Viljandi parish.

The collection of folk costume includes 136 items. Among women’s clothing articles there are 9 aprons, 3 shirts, 3 longitudinally striped skirts and 4 pieces of skirt fabric, a chaplet, 7 coifs, 2 coif details, a crocheted hat, 2 flap pockets, a knitted jacket, a jacket’s collar, 3 longcoats, a sheepskin coat, 2 shawls and a fragment, 3 handkerchiefs, 7 pairs of stockings, 4 pairs of gloves and glove wrist patterns, 21 patterned belts, 6 pieces of lace for stockings, coif or apron and a silk scarf. Men’s costume is represented by a shirt, linen trousers, a short jacket, a long-coat, a figured belt, 6 sprang plaited men’s belts, 3 beaded belts, 2 pairs of gloves, 8 pairs of garters, 4 copper buckles and 8 leather buttons. In addition to the above, there are 16 copies in the costume collection, made by Valve Alamaa, instructor of the museum handicraft circle, after original items in the museum.

In the E-collection of Viljandi Museum there are 112 different decorations worn or made in Viljandi parish in the 13th to 19th centuries. The collection includes 12 penannular brooches, 6 wheel brooches and 3 fragments, 2 square brooches, 3 heart-shaped brooches, a star-shaped brooch, a brooch-type decoration with a varied contour, 15 small brooches, 3 conical brooches made by masters of Viljandi, 2 small cast conical brooches, 7 leaf-shaped brooches, 7 pendant Russian silver coins, a crucifix, 3 silver coin buttons, 13 rings, a bronze chain with pendant coins, 5 bead necklaces and 16 single beads, 6 brooches, an eye brooch, bronze spirals and 2 watch chains made of hair. Among the most interesting items originating from Viljandi parish we could mention the Vardi archaeological find, a crucifix, a necklace of silver and glass beads, conical brooches, as well as the brooches carrying the sign of the masters of Viljandi. The Vardi find (VM 9535; Plate IV) contains 52 items: a silver penannular brooch, an amber bead, a bronze chain with 16th-century silver coins (mainly from Riga or Tallinn), bronze spirals and a silver thaler (1576–1612). The hidden treasure was found by workers in 1967 in Kuumanni gravel pit near Verilaske, not far from Vardi farm. The penannular brooch with ball ends is interesting because of the text IHESVS engraved on its front side, referring to the reformation, but on the backside there is the name in accurate gothic minusucle Ihesus. Andres Wannawardi van Alhier. The only crucifix in the collection of jewellery dates back to the 17th – 18th century and is made of silver. The central cross is surrounded by a wide sheet silver ring that is decorated with flower ornamentation. The crucifix was found together with the decorative leaf and 16 silver beads and 4 half beads, 2 rings, 3 glass beads, a piece of silver chain and nine silver coins in the ground near the old buildings of Lassivälja farm in Vana-Võidu municipality. A string was put through the silver beads and the glass beads to form a necklace.

At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, Viljandi became an important centre of making folk decorations beside Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Lihula, Paide, Rakvere and Võru. Stylistically compact local jewellery schools formed around all the mentioned places. Conical brooches were regarded the most festive decorations in the 19th century. In the jewellery collection of the museum there are four such brooches, known to be the works of the masters of Viljandi. The brooches of Viljandi compete in diameter with the largest in Estonia – the Setu brooches. Viljandi brooches are more than 20 cm in diameter, but their cone is lower than that of Setu brooches. Also the Viljandi brooch has not got the motif with the crown and the two-headed eagle on it, which is obligatory for Setu brooches. It is known that Setu brooches were also made in Viljandi, and some features typical to the Viljandi brooch were transferred to these – like the aureole and the rosette of Viljandi. Brooches made in Viljandi have a characteristic aureole of grain heads or spruce branches around the eye of the brooch, an intermediate shield and some definite types of roses.

One of the most beautiful Setu-type brooches made by masters of Viljandi is also in the jewellery collection of Viljandi Museum. Records about this large low conical brooch say that it was worn in Aiamaa farm, Heike municipality, Nõo parish, Tartu County. The brooch belonged to the contributor’s great-grandmother and was four generations old when brought to the museum. The brooch was decorated with a two-headed eagle under the brooch eye and a rosette next to it on both sides. In the rosette there is a four-leafed flower and an aureole around the eye of the brooch. Between the crown, the eagle, rosettes and the aureole there are plant ornaments. The star engraved around the eye of the brooch, in which lines do not come together at the tips, is regarded “typical to Viljandi”. It is thought that this brooch was made in the 19th century by a master from Viljandi, whose sign has not been deciphered yet. Unfortunately the authors of a lot of Viljandi-type conical brooches have not been identified so far.




Aivar Kriiska, Arvi Haak, Kristiina Johanson, Mari Lõhmus, Andres Vindi

In 1997 the archaeologists of the University of Tartu started systematic search for Stone Age settlement sites in Viljandi County. The work has been more intensive in the recent few years, financed by grant projects 4558 and 5328 by the Estonian Science Foundation. The research has mainly been concentrated upon the Early Mesolithic fossil coast of Lake Suur-Võrtsjärv in the territory of the drumlins of Kolga-Jaani, the western and south-western shore of the lake, and the banks of several rivers (Õhne, Ärma, Tänassilma etc.).

Within seven years 41 Stone Age settlement sites and 8 locations of finds have been discovered on the historical territory of Viljandi County. Most of the sites (27) are near Lake Suur-Võrtsjärv, but quite a lot have been discovered on the banks of larger rivers (15). The settlement sites and locations of finds that are further from water-bodies (7 in total) give us the chance for the first time to differentiate antiquities, which have probably been formed by or are connected with temporary hunting or harvesting camps set up in the forest.

Among the collected finds, the predominant position belongs to flint. Mostly the local mineral formed within limestone was used, but there are single finds of a better-quality mineral, which can originate from southern Lithuania / northern Byelorussia and from central Russia. Flakes form the most common category of finds, but there are also quite a lot of blades and fragments of blades (in settlement sites with more representative and therefore comparable material the proportion of these among flint finds is 10,2–26,2%). The found cores refer to the use of different knapping techniques. Among items of secondary finishing the most numerous are scrapers, but there are also single finds of burins, a knife and a small arrowhead.

According to the stone use, the specific features of knapping techniques and the morphology of items, all the settlement sites and locations of finds discovered in Viljandi County between 1997–2003 are similar to the Mesolithic settlement sites known and studied in central and south-western Estonia (excl. the Early Mesolithic Pulli) and probably belong to the same period of prehistory.

Current investigations have convincingly shown that already in the Mesolithic period there were strong settlement units not only in the Kolga-Jaani drumlins, as emphasised on the basis of material collected earlier, but also at least at the mouth of the Õhne river and on the banks of the Navesti and Tänassilma rivers; and probably also elsewhere.




Riina Rammo, Heiki Valk, Martti Veldi

In 2003 archaeological research was continued in Viljandi Lossimäed (Castle Hills) between the ruins of the Order Castle and Valuoja valley, on a hill called Musumägi. Two excavations: 1) 6 m2 trench and 2) 19 m2 plot, were located, respectively, on the south and on the east side of the hill.

Stratigraphy of the south excavation revealed 15 different layers, mostly consisting of disturbed cultural layer of Late Iron Age settlement. The soil was once carried on the hilltop to make it higher. A low stonewall (1,3–1,4 m thick, 0,3–0,4 m high) made of loose head-sized boulders was discovered near the edge of the former hill plateau. Probably, the wall surrounded the hill. Outside the wall there was a step laid of small cobblestones; the width of the step was ca. 1 m. Inside the wall there appeared a very intensive black layer which contained charred logs, charcoal and burned stones.

The stratigraphy of the east excavation was similar to that of the southern one. It also consisted of disturbed soil, including both layers of Late Iron Age settlement and those of natural soil. From the east excavation streaks of rotten wood that formed a quadrangular shape were discovered. These streaks can be interpreted as remains of wooden constructions meant to prevent the earth from eroding.

Most of the finds are pottery sherds from different periods, mainly from the end of the first millennium AD and from the 11th – early 13th centuries. There are no finds from the Middle Ages, which suggests that the massive earth works were carried out before the beginning of the Medieval Period. There were some rare finds also from the Roman Iron Age and the Mesolithic.

Most probably, the earth works to make the hill higher were carried out during the besieging of Viljandi in 1223, in order to construct foundations for trebuchets. Traces of similar constructions have been discovered in former years on the neighbouring hills also. The finds from the soil, heaped up to form trebuchet platforms, refer to a settlement, which existed continuously from the Viking Age up to the German conquest. The only unmixed cultural layer on Musumägi is presumably the black sooty layer revealed in the bottom of the south excavation.




Arvi Haak, Liina Pärnamäe

Archaeological excavations at the Viljandi castle were continued by three excavation plots in 2002, and two plots in 2003. In 2002, the largest one was situated at the first outer bailey, by the southern wall of the so-called sacristy (Fig. 1: 1), the other two in the staircases leading into the cellars of the eastern wing of the convent building and the sacristy part just next to these (Fig. 1: 2, 3). In 2003, the first one (25 sq metres) was located by the southeastern corner of the main castle and the second one (8 sq metres) by the northeastern corner of the first outer bailey (Fig. 1: 4–5). In addition, archaeological supervision was carried out by the removal of construction debris between the northern wing of Convent Building, and the building north of it at the first outer bailey (Fig. 1: 8).

The earliest finds - flint flakes and fragments of blades – date from the Mesolithic, indicating habitation of that period at the plateau. The next stage can be dated to the Viking Age on basis of hand-made pottery. The strata from that period have the width up to 40 cm; fragments of slag and crucibles from inside the later cloister indicate metalworking. The latest find below the fill originating from the constructional activities of the Convent Building was a crossbow arrowhead from the first quarter of the 13th century (Fig. 2: 2). Other 11th-13th century finds were missing, probably due to levelling works at the plateau.

The excavations revealed an intensive cultural layer from the late 13th and early 14th century, situated just above the fill mentioned above. A fragment of a casting mould (Fig. 8), and remains of bone processing together with bone objects (disc and die, Plate VI, 1, 5) led to the conclusion that bone processing and metal-casting was carried on at the outer bailey. The large quantity of iron nails indicates that the first fortifications were to some extent constructed of wood. Approximately from the same period, fragments of blue enamelled glass beaker (Plate VI) were unearthed. The beaker, most likely of Venetian origin, represent a rare group of those luxury vessels, the bush-like ornament (Plate VI, lower fragment) has not been documented earlier on such finds. The collection of ceramic vessels is impressive: products from Lower Germany, Middle Rhineland, Siegburg, Southern Scandinavia, and local imitations (Fig. 3) were present. A number of coins (minted in Tallinn, Tartu and Riga between 1265–1332) adjust the dating of the layer. Crossbow arrowheads from the second half of the 14th century were collected from slightly later contexts.

Of somewhat later, probably of late 14th century origin was a building with brick floor (Fig. 4), which was covered with lime mortar. Inside the building, finds from the 15th-16th-century were collected, notably dice (Plate VI, 2, 4, 7), coins, and a bronze tap (Fig. 5). Excavations inside the cloister revealed a stove, probably of early 14th century origin (Fig. 6), and part of the foundation of a pillar of the cloister. In the first outer bailey, another fill of sandy loam was found in 2002, the fill most likely originates from the cellars of the officials’ building. The original outer wall of the castle was investigated both in 2002 and 2003, and the second excavation of 2003 revealed that the southern wall of the building at the northern part of the outer bailey had a brick foundation (Fig. 7). All the foundations documented so far at the castle have been constructed of granite stones.

Settlement traces from the Livonian War (1558–1583), the demolition period of the castle, were unexpectedly weak. A cobblestone pavement was erected next to the original outer wall at that period, deposits rich in animal bones might also originate from these decades. In 2004, the investigation of the building remains unearthed in 2003 will continue.




Mait Talts

Karlis Tennison(s) alias Karl Tõnisson alias Brother Vahindra is an essential, although controversial figure in the history of Buddhism in Estonia. He undoubtedly was the first to disseminate Buddhism in the Baltics. Moreover, Tennison was one of the earliest propagators of Buddhism in Eastern Europe as a whole and one of the first Westerners to choose the life of a Buddhist monk. During the last couple of years the interest towards this controversial figure has grown, although we know still quite little about his life. In the present article, the author tries to shed some light on the less known facts of his real biography.

The personal myth of Tennison was kept alive mainly due to the book “Brother Vahindra” by Russian Soviet writer Gennadi Gerodnik during the Soviet period. This book was written to serve the atheistic purposes, but created something, which could be described as the mixture of Tennison’s personal myth, facts and fiction. Author of the present article tries to analyse some important details of the biographic discourse presented by Gerodnik in his book. Mostly due to this book Brother Vahindra become a part of Estonia’s new time folklore and was actually never forgotten.

Karl August Tõnisson (later Karlis Tennison), born in 1883 near Põltsamaa (Greater Viljandimaa), Estonia, later repeatedly changed his biography. His earlier autobiographical texts differ from the legends he launched later. It is well known that in the early 1920s Tennison suddenly changed from an Estonian to a Latvian and simultaneously became ten years older. Somewhere around years 1909–1911 Tennison become a devoted Buddhist. These were the years of great chance in Estonian culture in general, the period when Estonian culture became open for new influences both from the West and East. In 1917, for some reason, Tennison left Tallinn and spent the turbulent times of the October Revolution and the Civil War in Russia and in the Caucasus. He returned to the Baltics in 1923 (then already as a Latvian citizen). In the publications of this period, Tennison retreats from the principles of Buddhism and allots more space to the glorification of his own personality and to criticism of Christianity, which was typical of neo-paganism that was popular in Europe at the period. One of the most peculiar ideas in Tennison’s books of the time is that of the Pan-Baltonian Empire. He envisages Pan-Baltonia as a neo-theocratic state on the Eastern shore of the Baltic, consisting of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the neighbouring regions of Russia. Its established religion would have been Buddhism and the official language — Russian written in the Roman alphabet. The shadow of a suspicious “Russophile” followed him through his life and was in fact one of the main reasons why he along with his devoted disciple Friedrich V. Lustig was expelled from Thailand in 1949.

In late 1920-ies Tennison also began to disseminate the view that Estonians’, Latvians’ and Lithuanians’ pre-Christian beliefs were somewhat similar to the religious and philosophical systems of Vedic-period India, which, in the present-day world, are represented in their purest form namely in Buddhism. Later, during his stay in Burma Tennison developed the idea even further. In addition to that he also asserted that the people the Baltic countries (especially in his “homeland” Latvia) treated animals with special care in genuine Buddhist manner.

In 1930, Tennison, accompanied by his only true disciple Friedrich V. Lustig, left the Baltics and a year later also Europe, settling for 1932–1949 in the Kingdom of Siam. After leaving the Baltics, Tennison did not publish his texts as separate books, although during the last period of his life, in the 1950s and early 1960s while living in Burma (Myanmar), he is known to have been writing his so-called Buddhist Catechism, which, however, remained unfinished. A few paragraphs published in the Burmese press, which by now have reached Estonia, allow us to conclude that in that period Tennison returned to authentic Buddhism. Brother Vahindra died in 1962, but there is a slight possibility that if he would be little younger, he could obtain the similar status and become an object of worship like Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’i (Osho). 1960-ies was convenient time for interesting “spiritual” personalities as he was. At least in this sense he was ahead of his time.




Mari Vallikivi

In 2003 the Kondas Centre was opened in Viljandi, dedicated to the top Estonian na?ve artist Paul Kondas. Beside varied exhibition policies, the centre’s priorities include finding the outsiders of the art world, disclosing them to the public and evaluating.

There are lots of different phenomena beside mainstream art. These are phenomena that do not easily subject to the analysis and systematisation of art criticism and these are impossible to define uniformly. While the works of the “insiders” are generally regarded as belonging to elite art, the works of outsiders, including the na?ve artists, belongs to culture in its broadest sense. Na?ve artists and other self-taught artists have so far always been described from the position of professional art and obviously one of the major problems the Kondas Centre has to face will be the wording of the assessment principles of the “outsiders”. A lot of different terms are used for phenomena standing outside the institutional art world and it is often difficult to get oriented in such a terminological mess. The words ‘outsider’ or ‘outsider art’ alone have a wide semantic field. On the one hand it is a definite art term, which marks the English equivalent of the term art brut introduced by the French artist Jean Dubbuffet at the end of the 1940s (came into use as a synonym only in 1972). On the other hand the concept of “outsider art” has broadened and also become more vague: sometimes the term is used to denote visionary art, contemporary folk art, marginal art, na?ve art or the creation of other non-professional artists. Thirdly, even a professionally educated artist who has not succeeded may prove to be an outsider in the art world.

Discovery of outsider artists and bringing them before the general public has usually taken place at a time when the professional art has come to a standstill or is in crisis. So, the na?ve artists were discovered at a time when academic art had fallen into a deep crisis and art brut emerged when avant-garde art was waiting for the new coming. In Estonia na?ve artists became an issue and they were dealt with institutionally at the beginning of the 1980s. Thereafter and at the time when Estonian professional art attempted to quickly reach the level of the Western art, na?ve art was not dealt with. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we can speak of the second coming of the na?ve art and the second start of dealing with outsider art in Estonian art landscape. Professionalism may change in time, but despite the shift of limits, outsiders do not disappear. Paradoxically, there are more and more people, who are bored of “professional art” and fascinated by the outsiders’ – often introspective – art.




Jaak Pihlak

This article is a continuation to the series about the holders of the Cross of Freedom from Viljandi County. The articles in last five yearbooks dealt with the Cross Brethren from Kõpu, Tarvastu, Paistu, Karksi and Kolga-Jaani parishes. This article provides an overview of the holders of the Cross in Suure-Jaani parish, analysing them according to their life stories and giving an overview of the administrative history of the area.

As an introductory note, the Cross of Freedom was granted to 3 134 people mainly for merits in the Estonian War of Independence from 1918-1920. About 2 050 of them were Estonian citizens and about 1 100 foreigners.

Significantly more than 300 of the holders were associated with Viljandi County during their lifetime. 38 among them had considerable contacts with Suure-Jaani parish. 20 of the holders of the Cross of Freedom were born in the municipalities of Lahmuse, Olustvere, Sürgavere, Taevere and Vastemõisa in this parish, and one man’s family belonged to Suure-Jaani congregation, although he was born in Viljandi municipality, Viljandi parish.

Among them, 15 men were christened in Suure-Jaani Lutheran Church: Karl Hansen, Jüri Jürgen, Mart Jürine (formerly Jürgen), Hans Kink, Ants Käspre (formerly Hans Käsebier), Karl Lipand, Jüri Naelaste (formerly Nanelson), Jaan Olev (formerly Rinaldi), Jaan Puusild, Gustav-Oskar Reimann, Hans Rõuk (also Rauk), Jaak Tammpere (formerly Tiss), Hendrik Vahtramäe, Tõnis Virula (formerly Ventsel), as well as Jaan Paap, who was the one born in Viljandi municipality.

In Suure-Jaani Orthodox church 6 men were baptised: Tõnis (formerly Dionisi) Meiner, Jaan (formerly Joann) Männik, Jaan Neem (formerly Ivan Neimann), Jüri Randla (formerly Georgi Bachmann), Jaak Vendla (formerly Jakov Feldmann) and Tõnis Vendla (formerly Dionisi Feldmann).

In other parishes of Viljandi county 8 men were born: Jakob Koitla (formerly Teikes), Johan Piir, Johan Tammiste (formerly Tiidemann), Artur Viilip, August Rebane, Villem Männik, Jaan Tõnisson and the above-mentioned J. Paap. In Pärnu County also 8 men were born: Hans Aarna (formerly Abram), Jaan Helm, Martin Kullasepp and Juhan Lõhmus, Victor-Adalbert-Osvald Kivirand (formerly Kreuzstein) and Mihkel Nõmmik. In Järva County, Jüri Grünberg and Jüri Schvede. Tartu County was the birthplace for Artur Tenno and the city of Tallinn for Alfred-Leopold Kolviko.

Most of the Brethren of the Cross of Freedom were Lutheran. In addition to the aforementioned 6 holders of the Cross, A. Rebane was a member of the Orthodox congregation and J. Tammiste changed his religion at the time of marriage.

During the War of Independence most of the men served in infantry units, but several of them were in the armoured troops, the artillery, the navy, and also there was a judge, a medical doctor and a cavalryman among them.

Fourteen men achieved the position of an officer. Of them, 10 men were promoted to the position of officers in the Russian Army and during the War of Independence 4 more men were promoted to deputy officers for personal bravery and military services. The highest military rank was awarded to H. Vahtramäe, who was advanced to the rank of a colonel.

In civil service H. Vahtramäe became the chairman of the Tallinn-Harju District Court and later directed the civil department of the Court of Appeal. A. Tenno made his career in the army – for years he was the chief of the 5th artillery unit, which was located in Viljandi. Colonel lieutenant A. Viilip was advanced to position of the deputy chief of the Border Guard.

The Cross of Freedom for military services, I category 2nd rate (abbr. VR I/2) was given to G.-O. Reimann and H. Vahtramäe. The same category, 3rd rate was granted to 6 men: V. Männik, J. Puusild, J. Randla, A. Tenno, J. Tõnisson, J. Vendla. Among them, Captain J. Tõnisson was also given the II category 3rd rate order. The largest number of decorations were granted for personal bravery, lower rank, i.e. the Cross of Freedom, II category 3rd rate. Among the holders of these, Karl Lipand also received the II category 2nd rate Cross, which has been issued in 29 cases only. Private Jaan Paap received the Cross of Freedom, II category, 3rd rate, posthumously.

Captain Jaan Puusild also got the Latvian 3rd-rate Order of Lacplesis from our neighbours. In World War I, however, the 4th-rate Georg’s Order was given to Hendrik Vahtramäe.

After the Soviet occupation that started in summer 1940, five men continued service in the Red Army or the Border Guard for some time. Many of the holders of the Cross served in the German army or the National Defence League during World War II.

Twelve holders of the Cross were repressed by the Soviet occupation authorities: M. Jürine, H. Kink, A.-L. Kolviko, A. Käspre, V. Männik, J. Naelaste, J. Schvede, J. Tammpere, A. Tenno, H. Vahtramäe, A. Viilip and T. Virula. A.-L. Kolviko was killed near Suure-Jaani and J. Tammpere perished in Viljandi. M. Jürine, A. Käspre, V. Männik, H. Vahtramäe and T. Virula were killed in the prison camps of Russia. But the political or economic pressure of the Soviet authorities concerned almost every one of them, excluding only those who had died earlier.

The last to leave our world was Jüri Naelaste in 1990, he was 95 then and he was also the one who lived to be the oldest among the Brethren of the Cross of Freedom associated with Suure-Jaani.

The last resting-place is known for most of the holders of the cross. 17 of them are buried in the Lutheran cemetery of Suure-Jaani and 2 men rest in the Orthodox cemetery of Suure-Jaani. The graves of the rest are in different other places in Estonia. One man died as a political refugee in Sweden. Five men rest in the unknown graves of Russia and Estonia.




Ülo Stöör

Viljandi celebrated its 700th Anniversary in 1983. It was the initiative of local people, not a routine ordered by the Communist Party. In Estonian SSR official Russianisation was on the way. Estonian language was being driven out, the national past was denied and Estonians were “melted” into the “Soviet nation”. The legal activities of the intelligentsia were at that time directed against Russianisation, by emphasising self-identity, dignity and the heritage of the past. Proceeding from these principles also the celebration of the town’s anniversary was planned. In 1983 all the Song and Dance Festivals, exhibitions and newspaper articles on history carried the symbols of the anniversary and were dedicated to it. A science conference was organised to celebrate the anniversary. Well-known researchers took part in it, the conference speeches were published in a book on the opening day of the conference.







Staff as of 31.12. 2003

Jaak Pihlak – director

Ain Vislapuu – research director

Anne Jänes – chief treasurer

Tiina Jürgen - researcher, ethnologist

Tiina Parre – researcher, photo and nature collection

Heli Grosberg – researcher, archives and guide services

Herki Helves – researcher, conservator and IT - specialist

Inga Ronk – researcher, library collections

Ebe-Triin Arros – junior researcher, library collections

Meelis Luhomaa (until 31.07.03) – exhibitions, and public relations

Tiina Kütt – bookkeeper and secretary

Lea Maling – reading room services, cleaning personnel

Evi Sarapson – cashier-attendant

Maie Teng – attendant

Edith Henn – attendant

Helle Kimmel – attendant

Kalle Jaaniste – cashier-attendant (at Hüpassaare)

Vello Kilusk – housekeeper-caretaker





Growth by different collections, in comparison with the year 2002


Collection   2002    2003    
History 2 182
Ethnography 0 28
Archaeology 1882 6065
Library 170 301
Archives 1690 647
Art 1 75
Photos 214 40
Numismatics-2  0 41




Venera Malinovskaja Memorial Exhibition. January 9 – February 9

Carpets by Ani Liffländer. February 12 – March 2

Photos by Kalju Suur. March 5 – April 6

Handicraft by Maie Teng. April 9 – April 27

Birch-bark bags, pouches ... Handicraft by students of Viljandi Maagümnaasium. April 30 – May 25

Ancient archaeological finds from Viljandi County. Exhibition by the Institute of History and Viljandi Museum. May 28 – June 15

Viljandi in Art. Exhibition of paintings. June 18 – July 20

Tricks from Muhu. Exhibition of handicraft. July 23 – September 25

Return of Maarjamaa. Exhibition by the Estonian History Museum. October 1 – November 7

Close and Distant Views. Exhibition of the Art Studio of Viljandi Maagümnaasiumi. November 12 – December 15

Pleasure on the Snow and Ice. Exhibition from the Museum funds. December 15 – December 31





The displays of Viljandi Museum were in four buildings – in the Museum Exhibition House, in the Old Water Tower, Mart Saar Memorial Museum and Kondas Centre. The latter was opened in 2003 on the basis of the collections of the naivists Paul Kondas and Joann Sõstra in the funds of Viljandi Museum. The total number of visitors of all the exhibition sites has grown from 16 497 to 17 972.





The library and the reading room of the museum were actively used in 2003. All in all, there were 4420 borrowings, and 820 visitors, including the researchers.




Major events and projects

On May 28 Viljandi Museum celebrated its 125th anniversary. A festivereception and the presentation of the 2002 Yearbook was held. To celebrate this event, the exhibition Ancient hoards from Viljandi County in cooperation with the Institute of History, was organised.

In the programme of the Hansa Days in Viljandi, a history conference was organised in cooperation with the municipality, with presentations by Heiki Valk, Kaur Alttoa, Arvi Haak and Liis Allik.

On June 5–6 in cooperation with Dr. Magnus Mörner, the history day dedicated to the topic of the Tartu-Viljandi-Pärnu waterway was held in the museum.

On June 9–10 practical training for Viljandi C.R. Jakobson Gümnaasium was conducted on the basis of the ethnography, archive, photo and nature collections of the museum.

In November and December the course Basics of Museology was taught to the students of Viljandi Culture Academy.

In December Christmas performances were given in cooperation with the Culture Academy.

In 2003 two study days for small museums were organised:

On June 21 a study trip was made to Tartu City Museum and Estonian Sports Museum.

On October 28 a lecture was held in Viljandi Museum on the archaeological finds from Viljandi County (A. Haak) and in Suure-Jaani the participants visited the Kapps’ Museum and celebrated its 30th anniversary.





The Life Story of Märt Müür
Diana Kvartsehelija, Tarvastu Gymnasium, Grade 11
Supervisor Anu Saluri

The Story of Deportation of My Grandfather Endel Saluri’s Family
Maris Saluri, Tarvastu Gymnasium, Grade 10
Supervisor Anu Saluri

Fragments about the Soviet pioneer organisation...
Tõnu Põldma, Viljandi Maagümnaasium, Grade 10
Supervisor Riina Helinurm

Soul Mirror of the schoolchildren of the 1980s
Kai Peiel, Viljandi Maagümnaasium, Grade 10
Supervisor Tiiu Luik

From the Pawn into the King
Mari Piir, Viljandi Maagümnaasium, Grade 10
Supervisor Tiiu Luik

Art Education in Viljandi Maagümnaasium
Anne Kallas and Kersti Eiche, Viljandi Maagümnaasium, Grade 10
Supervisor Tiiu Luik

About the history of Vändra and my family
Jaanus Mägi, Holstre Basic School, Grade 9
Supervisor Ivar Rüütli

The lifestyle of young people in the 50s and the 70s in Estonian SSR
Egle Loit and Liina Malk, C.R.Jakobson Gymnasium, Grade 9
Supervisor Agnes Ümarik

About the history and pastors of Viljandi St. Paul’s congregation
Kadi Sassi, Valuoja Basic School, Grade 9
Supervisor Leili Närska

Childhood in the vision of different generations
Kristin Kase and Annika Närripä, Kolga-Jaani Basic School, Grade 8
Supervisor Jevgenia Kampus

Pärnu Road Cemetery
Herta Võido, Viljandi Paalalinna Gymnasium, Grade 8
Supervisor Igne Lembinen (continued)

The painful journey to being 14 (the childhood of my mother and me)
Kert Sindi, Raudna Basic School, Grade 7
Supervisor Imbi-Sirje Torm

The creameries and dairies located in the neigbourhood of Kolga-Jaani in the first years of the Republic of Estonia
Taavi Unt, Kolga-Jaani Basic School, Grade 7
Supervisor Jevgenia Kampus

Praise and punishment of pupils of Kirivere School in the second half of the 20th century
Grete Reiss and Sandra Arus, Kirivere Basic School, Grade 7
Supervisor Mare Mikolai

Kindral Laidoneri plats 10, 71020 Viljandi Estonia · · phone +372 433 3316 OK Interactive