The Estonian Open Air Museum, established on May 22, 1957 on the territory of the former Rocca al Mare summer estate, reminds of a village which lies in the boundaries of Tallinn. The valuable collection of Estonian vernacular architecture consists of nearly 80 buildings from the past two hundred years.

As located on Estonian landscape, the farms of the museum are arranged according to old village types: farms from Western and Northern Estonia are sited in a row like in a chain village; farms from the islands stand close together around the village green of a cluster village; farms from Southern Estonia spread out here and there in a dispersed type of village. The Setu farm and Russian Old Believer’s house from the Lake Peipus stand side by side by the village lane as typical to the Russian-style street-type villages.

The central position on each of the museum’s twelve farmyards is taken by the barn-dwelling, our traditional farmhouse and onetime home. This unique farmhouse has provided the Estonians with shelter for many centuries. Among the majority of barn-dwellings in the museum one can also see the modest abodes of fishermen and cotters as well as a modern dwelling from the 1930s.

Public buildings like the school, the chapel, the inn, the village shop and the fire station constitute a small village centre. The landscape is made more impressive by several mills and net sheds by the sea.


Did you know?

  • There are almost 80 houses exhibited at the museum.
  • The oldest exhibit building is the Sutlepa chapel from Noarootsi parish (1699).
  • The first object transferred to the museum in 1958 was a cattle-shed from Määra village, Risti parish, Western Estonia. Today it is used as a summer kitchen at Sassi-Jaani farm.
  • The newest buildings are the Setu farm and the Russian Old Believer’s house from the Lake Peipus, opened in May 2015.