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Iida cavern

Juuru Parish
Other references to the location
Kuimetsa and

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Vaopere village, on both sides of the Kose-Purila road
lat=59.057892342872, lon=25.141825160626
59° 3' 28" N, 25° 8' 30" E

On both sides of the Kose-Purila highway in a forest(almost 20 ha) there are many dolines and corries, some of which have entrances to the caves. There are 9 caves, most of them are very small. The height of the caves is up to 2,5 m, length more than 20 m. Dolines are bath-like or brusk-sloped holes that remind of boxes. Depth: up to 3 m, diameter: up to 3 m, length: up to 20 m. The brook originating from Mustsoo goes under ground in the Eastern part of the karst, near Iida farm. The brook has got a lot of water in spring but is very small in summer. The place where it goes under ground the end of its bed on the ground is marked with a 1,5 m high limestone wall.


The site has been used as a shrine and, in wartime, as a refuge. Legends and lore The entire surrounding area was once the site of the town of Iida in the pre-Christian era. After the Teutonic Order came and Estonians lost their independence, the city was said to have sunk. But, it was said, it would rise once more when Estonia regained freedom. - During serfdom, the serfs had an unwavering faith in the truth of this story. Each morning, while heading to the manor at sunrise, the workers would look toward the site of the former town to see whether its lights already shone, and whether Estonian freedom was regained. The passageways in Iida hollows were considered the streets of the erstwhile Iida town. Iida forest is in Kuimetsa. Animals named Iida roam there. Large caves are located there. They live there – people are afraid of them. Food was brought to the groves on Christmas Eve. Whoever gave most generously would have the best fortune. On New Year’s Eve, food would also be taken. They say that the tragic events of 1220 during the crusades took place in the Iida caves: “The plunder seized by the Livonians was great. They had besieged the Harju tribes’ underground caves in which they were used to taking refuge, suffocated them all, the men and women alike, by lighting smudge fires at the cave openings, which gave off smoke night and day. And then they pulled them out of the cave, some in the process of giving up the ghost, some half-dead, some dead, they killed the living and took others prisoner and plundered their treasure and money and clothing and other booty. There were about a thousand souls who suffocated in all the caves combined, both men and women. And after that, the Livonians turned back along with the Germans, giving thanks to God for making the Harju people with their haughty hearts submit to Christianity.” Chronicles of Henry of Livonia, 2005, p. 141.

The karstic caves covered by a scenic wood are noteworthy and attractive.
From the Kose-Purila road, down a dirt road.
Infrastructure, management, facilities
Parking lot, hiking trail, outhouse, benches. Parking for cars or bus. The path is wheelchair and pram-accessible.
Local info
Signpost, information board, protected nature monument sign.
41 and more
Legal Status
Private and state land, nature conservation and he

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