Parnu, Estonia

Parnu is a small city on the southwestern side of Estonia. Parnu is very much a resort town, and its main focu of activity in the summer the beach. Parnu is famous for its beach, which stretches for miles with hundreds of people who come from all over to relish in the estonian summer sun. The city is very charming and it contains a nice 19th century shopping district. The city is lined with parks and to walk down the streets of this city is a very enjoyable pleasure.


City Walking Tour

The Tourism Information Center offers an independent walking tour of the city. The walk takes about three hours and includes the beach area and the Tallinn Gate. Maps and more information can be obtained at the tourist office.

Tallinn Gate

It is the only gate of the former town wall dating from the 17th century that has been preserved in the Baltic countries. Up to 1710, it was called Carl Gustavs (or Kings) Gate. There was a bridge across the moat from the gate to the postal road that headed to a ferry by Ringi St. and from there via Vana-Pärnu to Tallinn. The author is probably Erik Dahlberg, who built the similar Kings Gates and bastions in Narva and Riga as well. In the 19th century, after the military fortification was removed, it was decided that the gate building along with two bastions and the moat should be retained.

Elizabeth Church

The church built under the guidance of Riga master builder J. H. Güterbock in 1744-1747 is one of the most outstanding examples of baroque churches in Estonia. The spire of the tower was made by J. H. Wülbern, the tower master of Rigas St. Peters Church. The church was sanctified in 1750. As Russian Empress Elizabeth funded the construction works, the church was given her name. The neo-gothic pulpit and altar were made in 1850; the altarpiece (Resurrection) dating from 1854 was completed in Van der Kanns workshop in Rotterdam. In 1893, the wooden building of the oldest theatre of the town (Küün) in the southern part of the plot was demolished and the southern wing was erected (designed by R. Häusermann, a construction master from Riga). The organ, built in 1929 by H. Kolbe of Riga, is among the best in Estonia. In 1995 the extension with offices was completed (architect R. Luhse).

The Red Tower

The former prison tower erected in the southeastern corner of the town wall in the 15th century is the only preserved fortification tower of Uus-Pärnu, a Hanseatic town of the Middle Ages. The tower got its name from the red brick lining that covered it inside and out. In 1624, it was a four-floor building with a prison floor that was 6 m deep. Today, it has only three floors due to the renovation work carried out to extend the town prison in the 1780s. In 1893-1908, the building was used by the town archives. The tower was renovated in 1973-1980 without restoring its red brick lining.


Two breakwaters with a total length of 5 km, each reaching about 2 km into the sea, were built in the mouth of the Pärnu River in 1863-1864. If the water is low, the remnants of wooden breakwaters dating from 1804-1811 can be seen. The breakwater on the left bank of the river has become the symbol of Pärnu.

Boulevard of Sculptures

As a result of the 1st International Days of Sculpture in 2001, the first sculptures were put up that was the beginning of the Boulevard of Sculptures. The authors of the sculptures are from Estonia, Finland, Japan, the US, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland and France. There are currently 18 sculptures made of dolomite, cast iron, steel and concrete there.

Parnu Mud Baths

The neo-classicist building of the Pärnu Mud Baths is one of the symbols of the Pärnu Health Resort (architects O. Siinmaa, E. Wolffeldt, A. Nürnberg). It was completed in 1926-1927 to replace the bathing establishment that was destroyed in the fire; it was tried to make use of the chimney of the mud kitchen of the previous bathing establishment. The wings were built in 1929 and 1935. The sculptural forms decorating the mud baths were created by sculptor O. Mellik.

Rannakohvik (Beach Café)

This is an outstanding example of functionalism designed by architect O. Siinmaa and engineer H. Laul and completed in 1939. The building has large picture and circular windows, a mushroom-shaped balcony and terraces of reinforced concrete. It was redesigned into the Sunset Nightclub in the course of reconstruction initiated in 1992.

Rannahotell (Beach Hotel)

This masterpiece of functionalism that includes a presidential suite was designed by A. Soans and O. Siinmaa and built in 1935-1937. It served as the main building of the Estonia Health Rehabilitation Centre after World War II. The hotel was reopened in 1994 after major renovation.

Parnu Museum

Pärnu Museum has grown from the Pärnu Society for Antiquities, founded in 1895. The aim of the Society was the study and preservation of local history.

At the first general meeting of the Society for Antiquities, on November 3, 1896, a decision was made to also open the collection, created by way of bestowals and purchases, to the wider public. In 1909, the museum moved to the building in Elevandi Street 7, which burnt down in September 1944 during World War II.