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A holiday at the springs of life - Värska Kuurortravikeskus

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A holiday at the springs of life

The corners of the compass appear to emerge by themselves. The holiday is about to begin. It’s full of healing relaxation, the croaking of frogs, sweet blueberries, melt-in-your-mouth camomile foam and honeycomb. Wherever you look, there are pine trees, whose sweet smell makes you breathe a sigh of relief.

A crow’s chuffing is the loudest noise, a squirrel’s squawking cone the biggest threat. The smell of smoked salmon wafting on the water mirror. In the evening, you can occasionally hear the bellows ringing. Somewhere in between the mournful singing there is the sound of silver beads and shouts – is there a party across the bay? The hippopotamus lets out a long chorus along the lake as the last rays of the sun shine over the lake waters. Time seemed to stand still. Good to come, good to be.

These are the kind of soft and gentle thoughts that should come to every visitor to Setomaa who arrives in the Värska resort area. The special status was granted to this corner of the country exactly 50 years ago, in 1971. in the spring of 2005, when the area around Värska Bay and Lake Õrsava was designated a resort of local importance. At that time, no major tourist attractions or businesses had yet sprung up along the bay, although the area was already somewhat well-known to holidaymakers. It is not for nothing that long ago Värska was written about as the land of springs, and a summer camp for the Võru military detachment was not built near it. The values inherent to the resort area existed before the national decree – it’s just that not all of them had been scientifically explored and, quite literally, drilled out of the ground by then.

One of the three main characteristics of a spawning area is the specific climatic conditions that result from its association with nature. This fact brought holidaymakers from the town to Värska already in the 1930s. The later addition of the mining of curative clay, which has been recognised as unique, and the mineral water wells created opportunities for the emergence of new businesses, which have become drivers of the Setomaa economy and a source of well-being for the people.

You may not be aware of these values in your everyday life, but it is largely thanks to them that Setomaa has acquired its current face – distinctive, active and ambitious. This can be seen in the important events and in the appreciation of their heritage culture, which is one of the expressions of a lively attitude. And an increasingly beautiful environment and infrastructure. In connection with the title of the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture, Obinitsa got a beautiful flag square, around which galleries, a clubhouse and eateries flourish. The new harbour in Värska, the promenade, the memorial to the War of Independence in Petsmeraa and the Reegi House are also manifestations of these developments. Lüübnitsa, which excelled in the Village of the Year competition, and Luhamaa, which has only just reached the final, are also special gems in different parts of the region.

In fact, the resort area has not yet realised the full potential of these assets, and there is much more that can be done.

Since 1793. Heiligendamm, the first Heiligendamm to be established in Germany in 2005, is one of the world’s leading examples of positive change in resort areas. These include lower unemployment than other regions, more developed infrastructure, better communication and transport links, and overall a higher standard of living and higher incomes. Who wouldn’t want all that?!

The special climatic conditions and the unspoilt nature that are expected of the resort area add value to the local strawberry, root vegetable and the running race or concert organised in this environment. Not to mention the souvenirs and handicrafts that the resort’s guests love to bring back from the region. The Värska resort has very special values that are specific to the region and that are not found in exactly the same form anywhere else.

There are several resort areas in Estonia – in addition to Värska, there are also Haapsalu, Pärnu, Narva-Jõesuu and Kuressaare. There are also several traditional cultural regions in Estonia – in addition to Setomaa, there are also Kihnu, Mulgaria and Old Estonia. But there is only one place where these two values come together – Värska in Setomaa!

Tellingly, you could draw a circle around Värska with a diameter of 15-20 km and say that it is probably in this area that resort values have the greatest impact. To the north of Värska is the shoreline of Lake Lämmijärvi from the village of Beresje, to the south the area between the Mustoja Landscape Reserve and Saatse, and to the west Piusa with its sand caves and recreational hub at the train station.

A holiday is an integral part of a resort. Everything about it fits in well with the character of the resort area. A holiday is about relaxation, entertainment and discovering the region. When they rest, people are receptive to positive emotions and new experiences. And this is a period when everyone has the chance to stop and take their time.

Another important element in the resort area is water. In Värska’s case, this is not only the underground mineral water but also the proximity of a large body of water. Water-related businesses and activities are part of the resort lifestyle – fishing, lakeside saunas, lakeside holiday cottages, fish and water festivals are integral to the resort. Värska’s special feature is the water transport, i.e. the possibility to move around the region along the water. And it’s definitely worth indulging in, because in addition to being a nice soak, the water is simply soothing.

Also part of the resort area is the wonderful nature and the opportunity to enjoy it on the hiking trail or by picking blueberries and fleshy chanterelles ripened in the resort climate in the forest.

Värska’s mineral water and therapeutic mud are best known as a medicinal resource, but on a broader scale, it is also worth appreciating the traditional spas – such as the Unesco World Heritage-listed smokehouse on the Lelo – and even the local health trails and sports facilities.

If any of the above is in play, in addition to the location, then it is safe to say that it is something that is specific to the resort area and carries its values.

The aim of the resort area is to emphasise all these values more and to make both visitors and locals take more notice of them. One of the biggest events in the resort area is the regular Seto Kingdom, which comes to Värska again every few years. The Seto Folk and Leaf Day, the Seto Village Folk Days and other important festivals of the folk calendar, which the Seto people celebrate with all their heart and soul and with great devotion, are important events.

The feeling of being in a good place takes root in the resort today more than ever, because Värska is a holiday at the springs of life.

Gates of Värska Farm Museum.

Weekly schedule 22-28.05

Monday 22.05 14.00 LEISURELY WALK TO THE HIKING TRAIL OF THE SPEED-SCOOTER. Those wishing to do so should gather at the reception. 16.00 SHINDO VENITUS

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Silver Hüdsi, owner of Vana Jüri soap shop. The Värska Spa Centre recommends.

Weekly schedule 5-11.06

Monday 5.06 14.30 LEISURELY WALK TO THE HIKING TRAIL. Those wishing to do so should gather at the reception. 16.00 SHINDO VENITUS AND BREATHING HOUR

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An aerial view of the Värska spa hotel building in the middle of the forest on the shores of Värska Bay.

WEEKLY PLAN 17 – 21.04

Monday 17.04 16.00 SHINDO VENITUS AND BREATHING HOUR in the gym, room 321. Pre-registration and payment at the reception, participation fee 10 EUR, limited places.

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