The five idyllic lakes of Kuremäe (Puhatu järv, Puhatu Martiska järv, Pahanselja järv, Viinamardi järv and Korponi järv) are popular destinations for hikers and anglers.



Pühtitsa Convent


Kuremäe is famous for the Russian Orthodox nunnery of Pühitsa (German Püchtitz). The monastery was founded between 1892 and 1895.

According to an Orthodox legend, an apparition occurred in Kuremäe in the 16th century. An icon is said to have been found later under an old oak. According to today's thesis, it is said to have been the remains of a chapel of the Woten. Afterwards the place was called "holy" (pühitsetud) in Estonian.

There has been evidence of an Orthodox chapel in Kuremäe since 1608 at the latest. In 1888 a nun from the Ipatios monastery in Kostroma sent three sisters to Virumaa to heal the sick. In 1891 they received permission from the Russian authorities to build a nunnery in Pühitsa. The patron of the building was the governor of the Estonian governorate. The establishment of the first Orthodox monastery in Estonia called the resistance of the Lutheran Baltic German landowners on the plan, but they could not prevail.

In the center of the monastery is an oak tree with a diameter of 4.3 m. Believers regard it as a sacred tree. The buildings of the monastery are arranged around the tree: the living quarters of the nuns, the winter church (dining house), a hospital, the main church, the bell tower, the holy gates, a school and the guest house. The main church with its five domes was built between 1908 and 1910. It contains three altars as well as a splendidly carved iconostasis and valuable wall paintings. The church holds 1200 people.

During the Second World War, the German Wehrmacht occupied the monastery and set up a prisoner-of-war camp for Soviet prisoners.

Today the monastery is again under the patriarchate of Moscow and all of Russia. About 100 nuns and novices live in the monastery. The sisters maintain a traditional way of life. But they also offer overnight stays and guided tours for those interested.