Culture and history
Enjoy the diverse culture and history of Pärnu County all year round
11,000 years of history
The Pärnu Museum has found a home in a centuries-old granary. The exhibition of our city’s and county’s history is vivified by a 13th or 14th century river gate which was discovered during renovations, and through which the Hanseatic goods were traded. The so-called time-river created in the Museum takes you through 11,000 years of exciting history, and its interactive solutions guarantee a memorable experience for you and your whole family.
Festivals fill the city with music
Various cultural events take place in Pärnu all year round, many of which have become annual traditions. Throughout the summer, parks and seaside cafés are filled with ear-catching music. The August Insomnia Street Festival inundates the city centre and beaches with good food, enjoyable music and other fine arts.
Hustle and bustle in the winter
When the weather gets colder, most events in Pärnu move from the parks into the concert and exhibition halls, but the Pärnu Ice Festival takes place outside in the coldest period – in February – when the sea and river are frozen over. With its open-air concerts, workshops, exhibitions, fairs and dance productions it fills the entire city centre and the historic Vallikäär.
Kihnu follows the wisdom of ancestors
Kihnu and Manija Islands are the home of a unique native culture preserved on Pärnu County coastal islands for more than six hundred years. The cultural space, which was included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2003, keeps alive Kihnu’s folklore, handicraft and customs. The island of Kihnu is known as the home of seamen, fishermen and seal hunters. The men spent long periods of time at sea, entrusting the women with the everyday island life. Women have become the preservers and passers-on of local handicraft, dances, games and music. Their everyday clothing still includes a self-made striped Kihnu skirt called kört. The rules of life on Kihnu have changed with time, but to a considerable extent the ancestral wisdom is still followed. Many traditions and rituals are still alive, for instance, weddings on Kihnu Island last for three days, and it is especially interesting to visit the island on a day of popular or church celebrations.
Work with masters
Forge a souvenir coin in the historic Venus Bastion Smithy, make clay art in the cosy Maripott ceramics workshop located in an old wooden house, or visit the Maarja-Magdaleena Guild of a few dozen artisans, which, in 2010, was awarded the title of the Innovator of Estonian Tourism. You are welcome to realise your ideas, and under the guiding hand of a master your unique works of art will take shape and remind you of your vacation for many years to come.
A retro outing on a retro bus
If you step on a TA-6 wooden bus made in 1961, you will step several decades back in time. Hard benches and loud backround noise are guaranteed on the bus, which starts its journeys from Pärnu, and will take you to the Tõstamaa Manor estate to see former aristocratic country life. You will travel with a speed of up to 75 km/h and your trip will be made more spirited by a musician who will be joining you. The 5-hour trip introduces you to local nature and sights. You will visit the Tõstamaa Manor and enjoy a picnic on the shore of beautiful Lake Tõhela or on the Kastna beach near the manor ruins.
18 years of exhibitions of nudes
The international exhibition of nudes entitled “Man and Woman”, held at the Museum of New Art in Pärnu, has become a summer tradition. In time, exhibitions have come to include an exhibition of dolls and exciting performances.
A piece of Russian culture in an Estonian farm
Amidst the woods and bogs of Audru Parish, there is a little Russian cottage on the Sanga-Tõniste farm. Peeking in you will feel as if you were in a real Russian village where Yemelya lies on a stove nibbling cookies, porridge is cooking, the samovar is steaming and blushing maidens are greeting guests. On this Estonian farm with a fascinating history you will learn about Russian national culture and traditions, and you can see Russian national costumes, taste Russian food and become acquainted with Russian applied art.