The Church

The old church (which is actually a chapel) was located on a sandbank at the northern extremity of the island. According to legend, the church was destroyed in a fire (between 1700 and 1710) during the Great Northern War. The hill where the old church stood has also revealed a burial ground (a so-called underground cemetery) used when the church still stood. The Lutheran church reached Kihnu Island in about 1530, when the land was under Swedish rule. A new chapel was built in the middle of the island, at approximately the site where the current church stands. A subordinate church was established at the same location in 1624.

As a result of the religious conversion movement that began in the 1840s, the inhabitants of Kihnu converted to Russian Orthodox en masse. In accordance with the proclamation of the tsar, the stone church building was handed over to the Orthodox congregation and the building was fitted with an onion-shaped cupola. The fence and gate made of coloured brick were built at the beginning of this century.

The people of Kihnu consider the cemetery to be as holy a site as the church. They visit it in silence, and never go after sunset, so as not to disturb the dead. The cemetery used today contains crosses erected for people who died at the end of the 19th century. After his remains were brought from Denmark to Kihnu in 1992, the famous captain Enn Uuetoa, also known as Kihnu Jõnn, was buried near the main gate of the cemetery. The person resting next to him is Karl Jerkwelt – the carpenter from Saaremaa, who built Jõnn’s last ship named Rock-City. The memorial stone erected in honour of Kihnu Jõnn stands in Rootsiküla and marks the captain’s birthplace.


The Kihnu Museum

The Kihnu Museum was opened in 1974 in an old schoolhouse. The exhibitions are displayed in four rooms. The works of local naïve artists are displayed on one side of the house along with an exhibit that introduces visitors to the famous men of Kihnu Island, including local historian Theodor Saar, self-made captain Enn Uuetoa, and silversmith Peeter Rooslaid. The other side of the house contains exhibits related to local daily life, such as tools, clothing, handwork, and furniture. The museum’s collection includes more than 700 items.

Kihnu lighthouse

Kihnu lighthouse, located on Pitkänä Cape at the southern extremity of the island, was assembled in 1864 from parts made in England. The local inhabitants call the lighthouse a “puak” and the lighthouse keepers (“puagivahid”) have traditionally been Russians. The height of the lighthouse measured from the sea level and the ground is 31 metres and 29 metres, respectively.