Listen to Lake Võrtsjärv!

(2-day, the product package is offered during the summer season from 1st June to 31st August) 

DESCRIPTION: On the first day a group (an optimum number of 15-30 people) will arrive at the Võrtsjärve Visiting Centre in Rannu-Jõesuu. On arrival a short overview on the activities of the visiting centre and the area as a whole will be given by a tourism organiser from Võrtsjärve SA, coffee-tea and snacks will be served.

After becoming acquainted with the visiting centre, the Lake Museum situated in Vehendi Village will follow, where Estonian freshwater fish, including also rare and protected species, can be seen. A model of the biggest fish ever caught from Lake Võrtsjärv – a Grass Carp – is displayed in an aquarium without water. To see the inhabitants of the pool through a magnifying glass will surely be of interest.

A kale sailboat with its jolly two-man crew will be waiting for the seafarers at the jetty of the Centre for Limnology. The kale sailboat will offer a genuine experience in its traditional way. Eel soup will be eaten, stories of bygone fishing methods and fishermen traditions and the life of the Lake Võrtsjärv area in the modern times will be told.

A kale is a traditional wooden trawling sailboat used on Lake Võrtsjärv, which, owing to its graceful appearance, was often used also on cruises and regattas. A kale sailboat with a slim hull has two triangular sails – a large main sail attached to the mast and a small jib sail in front of it. When trawling, the sailboat would always move leeward, side ahead, pulling a kale (trawl) on the side of the sailboat. The name kale comes from a large-mesh net, or kale, used when trawling. In better times, which were between the 1930s-1970s, 70 kale sailboats altogether could have been observed on Lake Võrtsjärv.


At the end of the 1960s, introducing baby eels in Lake Võrtsjärv was started, as a result of which trap fishing was beginning to be used more widely. One fishing method would start to interfere with the other, and trawling with a kale would finally be prohibited. After the ban the idea behind kales would be lost, and they would perish little by little. 1985. In 1985 the last sailboat of Valma Village was burned in the Midsummer Eve bonfire.


In order to revive the traditions of the building of kale sailboats, MTÜ Kaleselts was established in 2007, where both kales and rowboats are built, and it is possible to become acquainted with their activities both on their homepage and in Valma Village on the spot. The first modern kale sailboat on Lake Võrtsjärv was completed with help by Võrtsjärve SA in 2005.

The kale sailboat will take the travellers to the Port of Pikasilla, where a bus will be waiting and taking the visitors to the Bagpipe Farm situated in Riidaja Village. Where else could one get a better overview of bagpipe music and traditions than on the Bagpipe Farm established by the legendary Tauls, at only 10 kilometres from Lake Võrtsjärv. On the Bagpipe Farm the visitors will be welcomed by the master, Ants Taul, who will introduce bagpipe music and the traditions of instrument making as an important part of the cultural life of the people of the Võrtsjärv area. The master’s hobby is aviation, owing to which it is possible to have a quick look also at topics related to aviation, in addition to the bagpipe music.

Dinner will be eaten, the sauna visited, the night spent on the Bagpipe Farm.

In the evening the visitors will have a chance to listen to a performance of authorial songs by Anu and Triinu Taul inspired by traditional music.

On the second day, after breakfast on the Bagpipe Farm, the Tarvastu handicraft workshop will be visited, where the mistress will introduce local handicraft and Mulgi culture from a wider perspective. In the handicraft workshop everyone will get a chance to make a worsted ribbon (red ribbon decorating a Mulgi coat) for themselves. Estonian national foods will be introduced and tasted, which is also the last and conclusive activity of the product package. The group will be taken to the next destination desired, if need be.

PROVIDERS: Lake Võrtsjärv Foundation, Bagpipe Farm, Anutar Ltd., Tarvastu Handicraft Workshop