SETOMAA – UNESCO INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
Package type: full day tour
Season: all year
For whom: individuals/groups (max. 30 pers.)
Package includes: guided tour + entrances + local lunch
Programme duration: 8 hours
Type of transport: private driver/tour bus
Distance: Tallinn 285 km, Riga 240 km
Setomaa has been inhabited for about 8,400 years, which makes it one of the oldest human settlements in Estonia. It is located on the border of Eastern and Western civilisations, bordering Russia, Latvia and Estonia. Setomaa is famous for its well-preserved traditions and culture. For centuries the local handicraft skills have been passed down within families. Seto polyphonic singing (Seto leelo) is inscribed on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Setos have distinctive national costumes, rich in detail and unique to each family. Perhaps most impressive is the distinctive array of Seto jewellery. These visually striking pieces not only reflect the social standing of the wearer but are also worn as a safeguard from misfortune. To this day, the Seto lifestyle remains closely tied to nature. It is common practice for the Seto not only to enjoy the natural beauty of the forest but to also use its gifts. Berries and mushrooms are picked freely in their seasons.
It is best to start the tour from Võru and finish in Tartu.
• The group is greeted by local guide Helen Külvik.
• Värska Farm Museum. A living farm museum with livestock to give you an idea of the traditional way of life of the Seto people some 100 years ago. Optional workshop on baking traditional rye buns in a Russian stove. Option to have hot drinks and/or lunch in the museum restaurant. Handicrafts for sale and a gift shop. Duration: museum tour approx. 1 hour, bun baking approx. 30 min., restaurant meal approx. 45 min.
• Saatse Boot: drive through Russia. There is a section of Russian territory in the route from Värska to Saatse. Visitors are permitted to drive through without a Russian visa, but they are not allowed to stop.
• Old George’s Soap Shop and God’s Hill. A visit to a courageous and smart entrepreneur who combines ingredients from the local environment – such as bog peat, the holy water of Pechory Monastery, fine sand, birch leaves, blueberries – into lovely-smelling products. Listen to his stories, smell the soap, and buy some lovely and useful souvenirs (payment in cash only). God’s Hill is a small hilltop of local historical significance. Duration approx. 1 hour.
• Obinitsa Museum: get dressed up as a Seto! The Seto women have a special look and wear a lot of silver jewellery. Get an idea of how to dress as a Seto – one of the group members is dressed up in Seto clothing and jewellery. This is equally enjoyable for the other members of the group: the person who gets dressed up will look completely different. Gift shop and souvenirs. Duration approx. 1 hour.
• Seto Art Gallery: the story of Seto silver. The local silversmith will share his knowledge of Seto silver jewellery and show the group some nice examples. Duration approx. 1 hour.
• Taarka’s House. A heart-warming and bountiful dinner featuring the best traditional recipes from Seto cuisine. The hosts welcome visitors and tell them all about the food. Duration approx. 1 hour.
• The dinner can be accompanied or followed by a performance by a local choir presenting Seto Leelo (groups only), the traditional Seto polyphonic singing, which has been included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009. Duration approx. 1 hour. Optional: a session with a musician to learn some traditional dances. Duration approx. 30 min.