The village of Nõva (Nõva küla) is located in the northwest of the Republic of Estonia. It belongs to the rural community of Lääne-Nigula in Lääne County and was the capital of a rural community of the same name until 2017.


Population and location
The place has 112 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2011). It is located on the Baltic Sea Bay of Keibu, 32 kilometers northeast of the district capital Haapsalu.

The Nõva River (Nõva jõgi) flows through the village.

In the 14th century the area belonged to the Lihula nunnery. It was exchanged for the Padise nunnery in 1402.

Nõva itself was first mentioned in a document at the beginning of the 15th century under the name Neyve. The place name probably comes from the same Finno-Ugric word that gave its name to the Russian river Neva. It means marshland or wetland.

During the Middle Ages, mainly Estonian Swedes lived in and around the village.

Nõva Manor and Manor
The Nõva Manor was first mentioned in 1559 as an economic property of the Padise Monastery. In 1575 it came into private hands. In 1663 the monastery property was expropriated before it fell back into private hands.

During the 17th century the estate changed hands frequently. After the Northern War at the beginning of the 18th century, it initially belonged to the noble Baltic German family Mohrenschildt. From 1833 it was owned by the Ungern-Sternberg family.

The elongated, single-storey wooden mansion probably got its appearance in the middle of the 19th century. It was kept in the classicist style, but was redesigned many times.

In the course of the Estonian land reform, the estate and mansion were expropriated by the young Estonian state. The last private owner was Josefine von Baggehufwudt (born Ungern-Sternberg, 1839-1917) or her son and heir Eduard (Ned) von Baggehufwudt.

The town's school has been located in the former manor house since 1920. During the 20th century the building was redesigned several times. In 2002 the dilapidated building was completely replaced. The local authorities tried to preserve the shape and appearance of the historic building.

Nõva wooden church
One of the oldest surviving wooden churches in Estonia is located in Nõva. The church already existed in the 17th century. It is dedicated to St. Olav, which suggests that the church was founded early.

The current church building was probably built in the 18th century as a beach chapel, as was typical of the Estonian coast. Only a few of these wooden churches are still preserved. With a footprint of 13.6 x 7.1 m, it is one of the smallest churches in Estonia. The west tower adjoins the nave. The light enters the church through arched windows. The original wooden church ceiling has been preserved.

A wooden wheel cross has been preserved inside. For the windows on the east side, painted parchment from 1836 imitates the missing glass windows. The separate pews for men (with backrests) and women (without backrests) are designed differently. The altar and pulpit are more recent and designed in the neo-Gothic style. The oil painting depicting Christ in Golgotha ​​is a donation from 1820.

Next to the building is the local cemetery. Characteristic of the cemetery are the numerous individually designed wheel crosses made of iron, which were made by local blacksmiths. The grave of the last private owner of the local estate, the Baltic German noblewoman Josefine von Baggehufwudt (née Ungern-Sternberg, 1839–1917) is also located on the Gottesacker. The wheel cross on her grave was made according to her own designs.

The best-known son of the village is the Evangelical Lutheran sexton and school teacher Friedrich Brandt (1830–1890). He compiled numerous popular Estonian hymn books. Overall, Brandt is considered the author of over ninety publications. He is the father of the Estonian bookseller and publicist Alexander Eduard Brandt (1856–1909).