This place is one of my absolute favourites. Great soviet-time architecture is only half of the story, but it's all here because of exactly that half :) I suppose I visited this place first in spring 2002 when I took part of algebra workshop (by University of Tartu Maths department, http://kodu.ut.ee/~vlaan/kaariku). The road from Otepää to Kääriku, some 8 km, was so stunning that later, whenever the workshop took place in Kääriku, I walked there from Otepää on foot.
I like it first because of the history: an algebra conference was held here in 1960's and then Mati Kilp, one of the participants, proposed to come back next spring as well and so that tradition was born. Spring, nature, and algebra---that is quite a perfect combination, perhaps the best I can think of. Usually this place is used for sports events. Even Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, the Finnish president, visited this place in March 1964 which was a very very big event in Estonia, kind of an opening to the "west", and there's a Youtube video of this where you can see him skiing in Kääriku (and having a speech in good Estonian: http://youtu.be/5K8RfE2wZho). One sauna was named after him, probably he used that sauna back then. It has been burned down and built up several times, but the name survived, Kekkonen sauna.
More information in www.kaariku.com.
And of course, the buildings! Not too many, but both the exterior and interior are perfect! There are still pieces that are not replaced by new. I enjoy that so much that I put those interior pictures here as well. Going there is such a nostalgic experience every time...
This particular event of annual algebra workshop was held in Kääriku again because it was the 10th anniversary after it's rebirth in 2001. I've attended all of them, except the first, and will continue, even though it rarely takes place in Kääriku.
Some Kääriku houses are already visible. But notice the spring, that is absolutely awesome.
I think this is the infamous Kekkonen sauna.
You see the architecture! It's just great!
Amazingly beautiful and simple house for accommodation I suppose, I've never been inside. By the way, from the exhibition on the walls inside one of the buildings I read that there were some country houses here before the place was turned into a sports centre, and some of those houses remained but were rebuilt for the new use.
I climbed up. The first participant of the workshop was there, a Finnish mathematician.
A sports hall, I've never been inside.
Eating place and seminary place too.
Very famous piece of art that has been in every architectural pictorial book that has pictures of Kääriku buildings, three ladies dancing.
That's just amazing view! The valley slope down to the road is on the left.
That's where we usually eat, even this is an amazing room with a history. And nice walls.
This is one of the most amazing floors I've ever seen! Made of stones. Superb quality from 1960's! There's a library in central Tallinn, built also in 1960's, where you can see the same.
Amazing interior view! Amazing doors!
Those three dancing ladies are on the right.
Inside the hotel part, the reception and entrance is on the left.
The entrance to the hotel.
On the other side of the road, walking back from the forest, lake, stadium...
I think this is also a rebuilt countryhouse, perfectly beautiful!
Amazingly beautiful morning!
Road to Otepää.
And some pictures of the seminary material that was presented to us :) I was close to the computer so I could do some fine pics of that one presentation, there are some 10-15 of them usually. The title "Flatness of acts" can be quite mysterious if you don't know the acts theory in algebra, but you certainly have a chance to find out what they really are and what do these letters and symbols actually represent! :) I think the author of this presentation is Valdis Laan, so it was the very last presentation of the entire workshop (http://kodu.ut.ee/~vlaan/kaariku/2010/programm.html).
And last but not least: I am so so glad that there is such a place in our Universe as this... It is still possible to go there and enjoy it.
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