Haanjamaa forms a unique corner of southern Estonia where the traditional smoke sauna – with all of its customs, wisdom and invigorating qualities – remains an important part of people’s everyday lives. Owners are proud of their saunas and enthusiastic about sharing their experience, beliefs, customs, skills and knowledge with anyone interested, all in the name of passing on the ancient tradition. In 2011 the Southern Estonian Tourism Foundation named Smoke Sauna Week in Haanjamaa one of the most outstanding tourism events in the region.

Sauna owners in Haanjamaa will be opening up their saunas to visitors once again this year as part of the 2nd Smoke Sauna Week, which is being held from 2-5 August. Everyone interested in sauna and heritage culture is invited to come along with their families and friends to join in the festivities. The smoke saunas on Hartsmäe, Hurda, Kõivsaare, Mooska, Näki, Suhka, Tamme and Puspuri farms will be open to visitors.

The sauna days themselves will be 2 & 4 August. Visitors who have registered in advance will be able to get together with the sauna owners in Haanja Community Centre at 10.00 am to learn more about the smoke sauna as a torch-bearer of local culture. Thereafter the groups will continue on to the saunas, preparing them, carrying out other tasks and enjoying other rituals associated with the experience. As the local saying goes, every sauna has its own story, its own habits and its own unique flavour!

On 2 August there will also be a workshop on traditional medicine in the sauna, while on 3 August the smoke sauna being constructed on Mooska farm will host a meat-smoking master class, and visitors will be able to move from one sauna to the next to see what makes them all so special.

That evening the Haanja Community Centre will be the venue for a concert of unplugged music featuring some of the best folk musicians from southern Estonia.