The Virtsu borough is situated on Virtsu peninsula on the western coast of Estonia. With a population of 500, it is small, yet important place – its harbour connects mainland Estonia with its biggest island, Saaremaa.
Trade routes and coastal activities have been here since ancient times. The village has a rich history, which we try to preserve and present to locals and tourists: ruins of 15th century fortress and coastal defence battery, Virtsu manor house remains, and a lighthouse.
Another side of Virtsu is its proximity to truly unique nature – Puhtu-Laelatu reserve park, well-known to bird watchers all around the world, is just on the outskirts of the village.
During the last two decades, Virtsu, as many rural areas around Europe, has been facing challenges such as depopulation, limited entrepreneurship and somehow fragmented community. To overcome these, we are looking for ways to combine nature, tourism and traditional culture with modern necessities, such as broadband connectivity and improving transport connections. There has been a school in Virtsu since 1940, and kindergarten since 1967, making education easily accessible.
Recently, a plan was rolled out to build a business park in order to attract smaller and bigger businesses. Additionally, there are three wind farms which contribute to sustainable energy production.
We strongly believe that being a part of Smart Villages initiative would give us a much needed push in the right direction – unusual ideas, unexpected contacts and cooperation, and attention to small achievements that we have already accomplished.