Piusa is known for its red and white sands. The caves in Piusa were dug at the beginning of the Estonian Republic in the 1920s, when white sand was mined there for the glass industry. The caves are over 10 km long.
The Piusa Visitor Centre, which opened in 2010, charms with its closeness to nature. The expositions are about animals, birds and bugs, bats and sand common in the area. On a computer screen you can explore a 3D model of the caves, and robot-bats are hibernating on the walls of an artificial cave. Novel, but entirely appropriate ecological approaches have been used in the building: grain residue is used for heating and the house has solar panels.
Looking at the crisp dry cladonia pine stands and patches of heather moors – and the white sand glittering in the sun, instead of black earth suitable for crops, you can’t help but wonder: how did people feed themselves here?
Probably that’s just what the farmer of the olden times was concerned about – in their distinct South-Estonian dialect, of course – how does one survive on such sands?
Back in these days people used to keep bumblebees. Every proper farmer had their tree-trunk hives in the forest and the land around them was called the pasture for bees.
Another common skill everybody used to have was making pine tar – each had a special tar-oven for it in the forest. This was a rather expensive and needed merchandise, for example for Peipsi fishermen for tarring boats.