Drive back from the village road to the main road, then
turn right and drive until you reach Kärdla (about 6 km).
Photo: Tiit Leito / www.fotokogu.com
This is the only major town in our
island. Kärdla as a small Swedish
village probably existed already in the
14th century, but the oldest and still
preserved written note date back to the
year 1564. Before Kärdla got its city
rights at the beginning of 1938, it was
quite famous as a factory settlement.
Kertil, Kärtellby, Kertel, etc are the
better known of its older names. Some
place and family names hark back to the
first inhabitants of Kärdla, the Swedes.
The name Kärdla comes from the Swedish language and means a
swampy, wet valley. The Nuutri River, which flows through town, got
its name from a man called Knud or his farm. Kärdla is a garden city.
Big gardens behind the little wooden houses, trenches and ditches with
running water, lots of trees, bushes and flowers is an evidence of that.
Old Kärdla or the part of the city closer to the sea is like a romantic city
miniature, a wonderful place where grandparents spend their time with
their grandchildren. Kärdla started to develop especially rapidly when
the Ungern-Sternbergs established a textile factory in 1829. The main
article was a high quality manufactured woollen cloth - broadcloth. In
1941 retreating Soviet troops set fire to the factory’s main building and
so the story of the factory ended.
Urban planning and residential construction, started by the factory
management board, helped to create an enjoyable environment that can
be felt even nowadays (the street grid, large lots, lots of green). The
history of Kärdla is more precisely laid out in the Hiiumaa Museum, or
Pikk Maja (Long House) that is situated on one side of a former factory
yard and which for a long time was a factory manager's dwelling. From
there a path leads you straight to the bathing beach. Everything that can
be seen in the park of the beach reminds of the long history of Kärdla
(see the information board). Kärdla harbour, a few steps further, was
destroyed during the war. But it is still possible to swim and sunbathe
on the beach. Cafeteria Rannapaargu, the architectural style of which
is reminiscent of the 1970s, has become a symbol of the town, like the church
that was constructed in 1863 or the Firemen's House on
the side of the Keskväljak (Central Square). Today you'll find a tourist
information centre there, where you can ask questions about Hiiumaa
and Kärdla to your heart's content.
About 4,000 inhabitants live permanently in Kärdla, and the town is
very welcoming of visitors during the summer months.
Legends and stories
Kärdla is also famous for its bridges, or "drums". The Silver Drum got
its name from an old legend: the islanders built the bridge unbelievably
long, to which the baron said: "If I had decided to make this bridge
of silver and given a shorter deadline, the costs would have been the