- Hiiu County
Hiiu County ( _et. Hiiu maakond), or "Hiiumaa", is one of 15 counties of
Estonia. It consists of Hiiumaa(Dagö), the second largest islandof Estonia, and several smaller islands near it. The county borders Lääne Countyto the east and Saare Countyto the south. 0.7% of the total population of Estonia live in Hiiu County.
Human inhabitation of Hiiumaa can be traced back to the 5th millennium BC.
Mesolithicsites in Kõpu peninsula are presented by the seal-hunters' settlements. There are several well preserved grave fields of the Iron Age. In 1228, the island was first mentioned in written annals under the name "Dageida". In 1254, Hiiumaa was divided between the Livonian Orderand the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek. In 1563 Hiiumaa was annexed into Sweden. In 1710, as a result of the Great Northern Warthe island went under the control of the Russian Empire. During World War I, the German military forces occupied Hiiumaa in 1917. In 1918 - 1940 Hiiumaa was part of the Republic of Estonia, then until 1991 occupied by the Soviet Union.
On demands of the
Hanseatic Leaguea lighthouse was built in Kõpuin the beginning of XVI century (previously known as "Dagerort"). It is considered the third oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the whole world, still showing its light to 35 miles to the sea.
The best part of the farm architecture comes from the XIX century. Examples are Mihkli farming complex and Soera farm-museum with all the old national artefacts.
Most important sights:
Suuremõisamanor, Kõpu lighthouseand ancient graves, Suursadamaport, Tahkunalighthouse and costal defences, Ristna lighthouse, Sääretirp, Saarnaki laidand other isles, Kärdlatown, Käinachurch ruins, Cross-hill, Reigichurch, Kärdla meteor crater, Kassarichapel.
The County Government (Estonian: "Maavalitsus") is led by Governor (Estonian: "maavanem"), who is appointed by the
Government of Estoniafor a term of five years. Since 3 March 2004the Governor position is held by Hannes Maasel.
The county is subdivided into municipalities. There are 1 urban municipality (Estonian: "linn" - city) and 4 rural municipalities (Estonian: "vallad" - parishes) in the county.
The county includes the islands of
Hiiumaa(980 km²) and Kassari(19 km²) and a number of surrounding islets. The highest point is Tornimägi hill (68 m), the longest river is Luguse (21 km), and the biggest lake is Tihu Suurjärv (850,000 m²).
In the landscapes there can be found pine forests, mixed spruce and deciduous forests, swampy thickets and juniper shrubs, coastal meadows and bogs. The most frequent tree is pine which makes about a half of forests. Pine is followed by birch, spruce and alder. In total, there are about 1,000 species of vascular plants, of which about 100 are under protection. The wildlife of Hiiumaa is remarkable. Out of 30 species of mammals, big game as elk, deer, fox, wild boar and lynx roam the island. There are about 250 species of birds on the island, 195 of them nesting.
Among the Estonian counties Hiiumaa is the richest in forest - nearly 60 % of the island are wooded areas. There are large marsh areas in the middle of the island. The marshes cover about 7 % of its area. Cultivated land and settlements take about 23 % of the area of the county.
List of islands of Estonia
* [http://www.hiiumaa.ee/ Hiiumaa.ee] - Hiiumaa portal
* [http://www.mv.hiiumaa.ee/ Hiiumaa County Government] - Official website (in Estonian)
title = Geographic locale
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