Heltermaa is a small village located on the island of Hiiumaa, which is part of Estonia. Hiiumaa is the second-largest island in Estonia and is known for its picturesque landscapes, historical sites, and unique culture.
The history of Heltermaa, like much of Hiiumaa, is intertwined with the broader history of Estonia and the surrounding Baltic region. Here are some key points in the history of Heltermaa:
Early Settlement: The area around Heltermaa has likely been inhabited for thousands of years. Archaeological finds on Hiiumaa suggest human activity dating back to the Stone Age.
Swedish and Russian Rule: Throughout history, Hiiumaa has been under the rule of various powers. It was controlled by the Swedes, Russians, and briefly the Germans during different periods. These changes in rule left their mark on the island's culture, architecture, and way of life.
Independence and Soviet Era: Estonia declared independence in 1918, and Hiiumaa became part of the newly established Republic of Estonia. However, during World War II, the island was occupied by the Soviet Union and later by Nazi Germany. After the war, it was once again under Soviet control until Estonia regained its independence in 1991.
Heltermaa Harbour: The Heltermaa Harbour has played a significant role in the development of the village. It has served as an important transportation hub, connecting Hiiumaa to the Estonian mainland.
Modern Era: In recent decades, Heltermaa, like much of Hiiumaa, has seen developments in tourism and infrastructure. The island's natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere have attracted visitors seeking a break from urban life.
Cultural Heritage: Hiiumaa has a rich cultural heritage, including traditional music, dance, and handicrafts. Many of these traditions are still celebrated in festivals and events on the island.
Estonian Independence: Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991, there has been a renewed focus on preserving the unique cultural and natural heritage of places like Heltermaa.
Today, Heltermaa continues to be a small, tranquil village on the island of Hiiumaa. It is known for its coastal beauty, historical sites, and as a gateway for travelers arriving on the island by ferry. The village remains a testament to the enduring cultural and historical legacy of the Estonian people.
Top Tourist Attractions
Heltermaa offers a peaceful and picturesque environment that appeals to visitors seeking a break from city life. While it may not have the bustling tourist attractions found in larger cities, it does have its own unique charm and points of interest. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in and around Heltermaa:
- Heltermaa Harbour: The harbour itself is an important point of interest. It serves as a transportation hub connecting Hiiumaa to the Estonian mainland. The views of the Baltic Sea and the arriving and departing ferries can be quite picturesque.
- Hiiumaa Island Museum: Located in Kärdla, the capital of Hiiumaa which is relatively close to Heltermaa, this museum provides insight into the history and culture of the island. It features exhibits on archaeology, local traditions, and the island's natural environment.
- St. Lawrence Church: Located in Käina, a short drive from Heltermaa, this church is one of the oldest stone churches in Estonia, dating back to the 13th century. It's known for its unique architecture and historical significance.
- Kõpu Lighthouse: While not directly in Heltermaa, this iconic lighthouse is located on the nearby Kõpu Peninsula, which is easily accessible from Heltermaa by car. It's one of the oldest lighthouses in the world still in operation and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
- Kassari Chapel of Saint Trinity: Also located on the Kassari Peninsula (which is connected to Hiiumaa by a causeway), this charming chapel is known for its picturesque setting along the coast.
- Natural Beauty: Hiiumaa, in general, is known for its beautiful natural landscapes. Visitors can enjoy exploring the island's forests, coastal areas, and beaches. There are also several nature reserves and hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Local Events and Festivals: Depending on the time of year, there might be local events or festivals taking place. These can provide a great opportunity to experience the island's culture, music, and traditions.
- Craftsmen's Courts: Hiiumaa has a number of craftsmen and artists who open their workshops to visitors. This provides a unique opportunity to see traditional crafts being made and even purchase handmade souvenirs.
Remember that the appeal of Heltermaa and Hiiumaa in general lies in its peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty. It's an excellent destination for those seeking relaxation, outdoor activities, and a taste of local Estonian culture.
The Village experiences a maritime temperate climate. Here are some characteristics of the climate in the region:
- Mild Summers: Summers in Heltermaa are relatively mild. Average high temperatures range from 17°C to 20°C (63°F to 68°F) in June, July, and August. However, occasional heatwaves can bring higher temperatures.
- Cool Winters: Winters are cool, with average low temperatures ranging from -5°C to 0°C (23°F to 32°F) in December, January, and February. Snowfall is possible but not excessive.
- Moderate Precipitation: Hiiumaa, like much of Estonia, receives a fairly even distribution of rainfall throughout the year. The wettest months tend to be August and September, while February and March are typically the driest.
- Wind Influence: Being an island in the Baltic Sea, Hiiumaa is susceptible to maritime influences. This means that the climate is influenced by the sea, which can moderate temperatures and bring breezy conditions.
- Frequent Cloud Cover: Cloud cover is common, especially during the autumn and winter months. This can impact the amount of sunlight received, making for shorter days.
- Ferry Service Impact: It's worth noting that the climate may be affected by the ferry schedule, especially during winter when sea conditions may influence the availability of ferries.
Overall, Heltermaa experiences a climate typical of northern coastal regions with mild summers and cool winters. It's important to check weather forecasts if you plan to visit, especially if you're considering outdoor activities.
Hiiumaa is the second-largest island in Estonia and is situated in the Baltic Sea. Here are some key geographic features of the Heltermaa area and the broader Hiiumaa island:
- Island Location: Hiiumaa is located in the Baltic Sea, to the west of the Estonian mainland. It is surrounded by the Gulf of Finland to the north, the Baltic Sea to the west, and the Väinameri (Strait of Irbe) to the south.
- Coastline: Hiiumaa is characterized by a diverse coastline with numerous bays, peninsulas, and inlets. The island's coastline provides a variety of landscapes, including sandy beaches and rocky shores.
- Kärdla Bay: Kärdla, the capital of Hiiumaa, is located on the northern coast of the island. It faces Kärdla Bay, which provides a sheltered harbor for boats and ships.
- Kõpu Peninsula: To the east of Heltermaa, across the Kõpu Bay, lies the Kõpu Peninsula. This peninsula is known for its hilly terrain and is home to the Kõpu Lighthouse, which is one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world.
- Forests and Meadows: Hiiumaa is covered in large part by forests, which are primarily composed of coniferous trees like pine and spruce. There are also areas of wetlands, meadows, and agricultural fields.
- Hiiessaare Peninsula: To the west of Heltermaa, across Hiiessaare Bay, lies the Hiiessaare Peninsula. It's an area of relatively flat terrain with scattered settlements and agricultural land.
- Kassari Peninsula: Connected to Hiiumaa by a causeway, the Kassari Peninsula is known for its scenic landscapes, including beaches, dunes, and coastal meadows.
- Inland Lakes and Wetlands: Hiiumaa features several small inland lakes and wetlands, which contribute to the island's biodiversity and provide habitats for various bird species.
- Hiiumaa Strait: To the south of Hiiumaa lies the Hiiumaa Strait, which separates the island from the Estonian mainland. This strait is an important waterway for maritime traffic.
- Heltermaa Harbour: Heltermaa is known for its harbor, which serves as a gateway to the island for those arriving by ferry. The harbor area is an essential transportation hub for the island.
The geography of Hiiumaa, including Heltermaa, is characterized by a blend of coastal landscapes, woodlands, and agricultural areas. It offers visitors a range of natural environments to explore and enjoy.