Viljandi is an ancient hilly city in the South of Estonia.
Evidence of civilization around Viljandi dates back to 500 B.C.. The first written record of a "Viljandi stronghold" was in 1154 in the commentaries to al-Idrisi's world atlas "Geography."
Hanseatic merchants settled in Viljandi in the 14th century.
For many people Viljandi conjures up images of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival and Viljandi Culture Academy. This small city is the "capital of folk music" for most Estonians and also appeals to people who enjoy parks. The city also has it's own lake.
- Ruins of the Viljandi Order Castle, Tasuja puiestee, Viljandi. The fortress got its final shape and size in the beginning of the 16th century and was one of the distinguished fortresses in Estonia and Latvia. Due to wars all that is left from the entire order castle today are just a few stone walls. From the ruins you have the most beautiful view over the lake of Viljandi.
- Trepimägi (Stairs hill), Linnu tn 2, Viljandi. The stairs of the Trepimägi in Viljandi were constructed around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century in order to improve the road connecting the town and the lake. Next to the Trepimägi lie the beautiful homes of the town’s merchants and rich residents from the old days.
- Väikemõisa manor, Väikemõisa bussipeatus, Peetrimõisa küla, Saarepeedi vald, Viljandi maakond. The Väikemõisa manor was build in the beginning of the last century and is a good example of Swiss chalet style influenced by art nouveau. Today the manor house accommodates the Väikemõisa young children orphanage and the house can be marvelled at from the outside only.
- St. Paul’s church in Viljandi, Kiriku tn 3, Viljandi. Since 1866 a G. Knauf organ fills the church with music, the biggest still functional organ of its kind in Estonia.
Viljandi hosts many events and several international festivals throughout the year. The Early Music Festival, Hanseatic Days, Young Dance Festival, Mulgi Rally, Winter Folk Dance Festival, the "Theatre in Suitcase" puppet theatre festival etc.
Hanseatic merchants' spirit can still be felt in Viljandi every June. People trade at a fair, dress the way people did in that area, organise exhibitions and party.
Since 1928, a run around Lake Viljandi has taken place on the first day of May every year.
Tennis courts, cafes, playgrounds, a diving tower, boat rental and catamaran trips are available at the lake.
- The Viljandi Folk festival, . The festival runs for 4 days on the last weekend in July. More than 100 concerts take place in Viljandi castle's ruins, churches, and other venues throughout Viljandi County. It is the largest annual music festival in Estonia.