Märjamaa municipality is located on the low plain of Western Estonia reaching from the border of Pärnumaa and Läänemaa to the Harjumaa. Area of the municipality is 1141,8 km². The municipality is divided by the tributaries of Western Estonia's water-richest river Kasari and it is covered with forests, woodlands, bogs and fields alternated with scattered villages hidden between the gardens and primeval trees. The center of the municipality is Märjamaa country town located at the road from Tallinn to Pärnu, the distance to either city is a little over 60 kilometers.
The local nature is influenced by the Silurian and Ordovician limestone bedrock denuded as Raikküla stratum which layers reach the dictyonema slate at a depth of more than 200 m. Low water lakes that appear in spring and sometimes in fall on the woodlands near Märjamaa town are quite unusual and called järtad by the locals. They can disappear overnight as the water drains through the cracks in the limestone. The layers of soil filter it to the ground water or it will ooze to the surface as a spring. The layer of soil above the limestone is very thin and sensitive to the drought but very fertile as an arable land and is beneficial for different kind of orchids, the most well-known are the lady's slippers and the butterfly orchids what the locals call "the violins of the night".
The alvar is a rare surface form in Northern Europe and it is found only in Åland Islands, Gotland and Öland. In Estonia there are alvars in surroundings of Kostivere and Jõelähtme (Harjumaa) and in Sõtke near Märjamaa. It is an open area without any soil where the limestone ground is flat like a floor covered with lichen, golden clumps of stonecrop and pink patches of thyme, with some tufts of fescue mixed in. Estonian name for alvar is loopealne. It is quite remarkable that the word is used as a geographic name in Märjamaa: the area of denuded limestone between the fields is called Sõtke Loopealne.
The history of Märjamaa goes back to the early Stone Age. The higher limestone grounds and river banks have been inhabited for almost ten thousand years. Archaeological finds include primitive hewn stone axes found near Vigala River and the circular mound in Sõtke date back to a very distant period. Konuvere hill-fort, which stronghold was burned down in the first millennium of our era and the archaeological findings from Haimre and the burial sites in Moka and Maidla bear witness to an ancient settlement. The Estonians had cultivated fertile fields and large herds in ancient time according to the chronicles, the goods and money were exchanged with the neighbors and other counties. The ancient pilgrimages and later trade and connecting routes starting in the North from Paldiski, Rävala and Harjumaa, in the West from Haapsalu, Ridala and Lihula heading inland all crossed this region near Läänemaa for centuries.
The Estonians lost the fight for freedom and the uprising against the usurpers in the XIII-XIV centuries after fighting until not even one boy taller than küünar (an ancient unit of length close to 0,5 meters) remained as the edlers of the Estonians had sworn. The Estonians lost the ancient freedom and were enslaved for centuries. The foreigners built a fortified church at the crossroads of ancient routes to defend their property and maintain their control and power. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was first mentioned in written chronicles in 1364 and presumably gave the name to the parish and the church hamlet.
In the middle of the XIX century the village began to evolve into a small town. The transport of goods and mail was increasing, the pubs were built by several manors, a school, a telegraph, a hospital and a drugstore were founded. There was a parish house and several stores in the small town with the post office and other public offices opened later. The condition of the roads was improving and the stone bridges were built in Konuvere and Sipa. The first is pictured on the coat of arms of Märjamaa municipality.
The decade of the 1930's could be considered the golden age of Märjamaa when Tallinn- Rapla-Virtsu railroad was opened in 1931. Lääne-Eesti Ühispank located in Märjamaa was the largest bank in the country. The farms were becoming richer and the demand for agricultural produce was increasing. The connection with Tallinn was better and traveling easier. The cultural life was very active throughout the municipality – there were education societies, volunteer fire departments and the Defense League in the region. The up to date building of the elementary school was constructed in 1940.
The still growing development of culture and the economy in the Estonian Republic was constrained by the invasion of the Red Army. That was followed by the enforced proclamation of Estonian SSR and the war a year later when German occupation occurred and then the return of the Red Army.
The violent soviet regime lasted in Estonia for 50 years. The rebuilding of the Estonian Republic what was made possible by the victory in the the War of Independence by our grandfathers 95 years ago, has been going on during the 20 years following the liberation in the year 1991. The rebuilding now is in the hands of our young generation and they will determine how the task established back then will be achieved at the 100thanniversary of our Republic and later.
In 2014 Märjamaa - the center of our municipality - celebrated its 650th anniversary.
Writer and honorable citizen of Märjamaa Harri Jõgisalu (1922-2014)
Area 1163,52 km², 1 country town, 112 villages
Population 7507 (01.11.2023)
Largest inhabited town Märjamaa with 2463 inhabitants
Acknowledgment of Märjamaa municipality is: Honorable Citizen of Märjamaa municipality; Merit Badge of Märjamaa municipality; Merit Plate of Märjamaa municipality; Certificate of Honour of Märjamaa municipality.
Merit Badge of Märjamaa municipality is Maarjarist. There are two classes of Maarjarist: 1st class – kuldrist (Golden Cross) and 2nd class – hõberist (Silver Cross).
Märjamaa municipality is publishing weekly newspaper - Märjamaa Nädalaleht - and a calendar once a year.
Coat of arms Flag
Märjamaa gümnaasium. Photo: Tiina Gill
Kivi-Vigala Põhikool (comprehensive School, 9 grades)
Kooli 6, Kivi-Vigala, Märjamaa vald, 78001 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Priit Kärsna, +372 5167 227
+372 482 0096; +372 482 5696
Vana-Vigala Põhikool (Comprehensive School, 9 grades)
Hariduse 4, Vana-Vigala, Märjamaa vald, 78003 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Margit Liira
+372 482 4582, +372 482 4586
Märjamaa Muusika- ja Kunstikool (Music and Art School)
Pihlaka 2, Märjamaa, 78302 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Anne Aaspõllu, +372 5340 8255
+372 482 1627
Orgita, Märjamaa vald, 78313 Raplamaa
Director Küllili Lepik
+372 5854 0755
Kivi-Vigala Põhikooli Lasteaed Pääsulind
Lasteaia 3, Kivi-Vigala, Märjamaa vald, 78001 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Priit Kärsna
+372 482 5679, +372 482 0096
Sipa, Märjamaa vald, 78102 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Katrin Jaik
+372 482 5468 in Sipa
+372 482 9184 in Laukna
Lauluväljaku 2, Vana-Vigala, Märjamaa vald, 78003 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Ave Lazarev
+372 482 4516
MÄRJAMAA VALLA RAAMATUKOGU
Moka küla, Märjamaa vald 78236, Raplamaa, Estonia
Librarian Ada Mitt
+372 482 6748
Teenuse mõis, Teenuse küla, Märjamaa vald 78103, Raplamaa, Estonia
Librarian Helle Rehepapp
+372 482 5219
Open: May 1st – August 31st every day 10.00-17.00, closed on public holidays
September 1st – April 30th from Monday till Friday 10.00 – 17.00, Saturday and Sunday on request
To visit the Farm Museum, you need at least 2 hours.
It is preferable that groups book the time for the visit.
Märjamaa Valla Rahvamaja
Märjamaa Valla Rahvamaja
Sauna 2. Märjamaa, 78301 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Kristina Oss
+372 482 1355; +372 4820075; +372 5656 4614; +372 482 1150 (Cinema); +372 482 0074 (Cafe)
Russalu küla, Märjamaa vald 78317, Raplamaa, Estonia
Address: Sulu küla, Märjamaa vald 78253, Raplamaa, Estonia
Valgu küla, Märjamaa vald, 78204 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Mervi Vaarmann
+372 482 8798; +372 5302 1959
Jaama 21, vana-Vigala, Märjamaa vald, 78003 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Astra Põlma
+372 482 4581 +372 5565 8763
Varbola küla, Märjamaa vald, 78203 Raplamaa, Estonia
Director Piret Linnamägi
+372 5309 0366
Velise küla, Märjamaa vald 78201
+372 505 3387
Kooli 2, Kivi-Vigala, Märjamaa vald, 78001 Raplamaa, Estonia
Contact Ave Vaarma
+372 482 5681, +372 5805 0530
Photo: Reet Saar
Sauna 2, Märjamaa vald 78304, Raplamaa, Estonia
+372 482 1150, +372 558 6429
Cinema projectionist: Hans Veimann
The cinema was probably opened in 1934 or a year before according to a photo taken in 1934 showing a cinema advertisement. The Märjamaa cinema was located in the building belonging to the Defence League. The building itself has not been preserved. Movies have been shown in several different places, even on the Song Festival ground because the movie theatre could not accommodate every interested person (this happened on the opening night of "Tarzan").
The movies were shown 5-6 days in a week during the Soviet ocupation; and there were weeks when movies were shown every day. At first there were two film sessions in a day; and later there were more. There were 4-5 routes in the municpality, each with 2-3 stops to show movies. The record breaking movie was "Sound of Music" in 1972.
Since 1967 the cinema has been located in the Community Centre. After a complete rebuilding of the cinema in 2008 it was opened to the public again on January 23rd 2009.
Nowadays there are no movie tours, but sometimes arrangements are made to show a movie in Pärnu-Jaagupi.
Vigala church in Kivi-Vigala. Photo: Anne Aaspõllu ja Kristin Unga
There are three churches on the territory of Märjamaa municipality: Märjamaa St. Mary's Lutheran Church, Vigala St. Mary's Lutheran Church and Velise St. John the Baptist Apostolic Orthodox Church.
Velise St. John the Baptist Apostolic Orthodox Church
Velise, Märjamaa vald, 78201 Raplamaa, Estonia
Pastor Kuldar Rajapu
Contact Jürgen Kusmin
+372 505 3387