Rakvere is about 100 km East of Tallinn. This place has a prominent landmark in the form of the ruins of a castle that is found there. But just as important is the history of the land and it's people that have occupied it over the centuries.
The earliest signs of human settlement in this area date back to the 3rd century A.D. when Estonia became subject to Denmark. In 1302, Rakvere was given Lübeck rights meaning they were allowed to have self-government. However, in 1346, the Danes sold Estonia to the Livonian Order and a large castle was built on a prominent hill. During the Livonian War in the 1500's, Rakvere was under Russian rule. Sweden managed to capture the town in 1581 only to have the Poles destroy the castle in 1605. In 1703, Rakvere was burned down in the Great Northern War. After the Treaty of Nystad was signed in 1721, Estonia and consequently, Rakvere, passed back to the Russian Empire where it remained under Russian control until after WWI.
Before we left Estonia for home, we were given an invitation to visit Rakvere by a prominent family living in the village of Laekvere, about 40 km South of Rakvere. We were given a personal tour of the Rakvere Castle and a tour of some very historic places along the way.
|Ruins of the Rakvere Castle|
|And still another view|
|From a distance|
|From the side|
|The giant bull|
|Perspective added with Sis. Allred|
Video close up of the bull. Touching a certain anatomical feature of the bull would bring prosperity and fertility.
Perhaps some of you have thought that we have returned home from our mission in the Baltics. To be honest, we're not sure if we ever will return home. After becoming acquainted with this land and her people, we are wondering if maybe we have Estonian roots, as we have felt such a strong connection to the rich black soil, the forested lands, the salty sea, the music and dance and all the festivals and observances. These things remain embedded in our hearts and in our minds. We have come to know the people and we have been the recipients of their kindness, their love and loyalty. We are often asked, "Tell us about your mission." We can tell about our adventures and remember the wonderful activities we participated in, but a short conversation can never express the deep feelings we have come away with. In reality, we may have left Estonia, but Estonia has not left us. We are constantly reminded of this wonderful land by the Baltic Sea and her beautiful people when a salty tear, quite often, will find it's way from our eyes.
Hüvasti, kuni me uuesti kohtume