Did you know that there have been over 3,000 windmills and 800 watermills in Estonia? Or that during the 19th century, most of Estonian potato and grain harvest was used not for food, but instead for making spirits? Did you know that craftsmen have been making porcelain in Põltsamaa since the 18th century or that Räpina has been a manufacturer of paper for almost 300 continuous years?
The industry makes up an important part of every country, nation and culture. Even though the main means of subsistence for Estonians in the past have been agricultural, we also have a rich industrial history. There have been hundreds of mills, dairies, distilleries, linen mills, paper factories and power plants operating in Estonia. During the years, we have been home to Europe's biggest machine and shipbuilding factories, as well as the largest cotton factories. The industrial field has had a significant impact on people's daily lives – residential buildings and stores were built near factories, as were roads and railways. Thousands of people came to live in industrial settlements.
Industrial landmarks in Southern Estonia
Old distilleries, mills, factories and power plants in Southern Estonia are important heritage sites, which have gained new lives by telling fascinating stories and offering exciting activities.
If you head to Tartu, the capital of Southern Estonia, you'll find an old factory complex that operated in the Soviet times and manufactured refrigeration equipment, non-functional umbrellas and zippers, as well as secret details for the military industry. Today, the Widget Factory (Aparaaditehas) is used as a hub that brings together creative entrepreneurs of Tartu. The Widget Factory is home to artists' and designers' studios and unique cafes that offer tasty dishes from Estonia and elsewhere. The bohemian culture factory has something exciting for visitors of all ages.