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Nightingale Valley

Location: N57° 43` 37.9", E26° 56` 3.99"

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The best-known part of the Rõuge primeval valley complex is the Nightingale Valley which is a short deep gulch debouching into the primeval valley in the south-eastern part of Rõuge Suurjärv, on the steep slopes of which outcrop the bedrock. It borders the ancient castle hill from the north and measures 300 metres in length and 12-15 metres in depth. In spring, especially around when European bird cherries bloom, the valley is filled with singing nightingales – hence the name of the valley. 

There was a wooden stronghold until 11th century used as a place of living and as a defence site. The stronghold was burnt down and restored again for six times. There has also been a small settlement nearby dating back to the Iron age according to the archaeological findings dated to 8th to 11th centuries. 

In Nightingale Valley there is a fully renovated former metal workshop that operated at the beginning of 20th century using hydropower. It is now open as a hydro workshop-museum.  

The Nightingale Valley also boasts two water-powered hydraulic ram pumps, called 'Vesioinas'. They are "perpetuum mobile" pumps that use only water energy and are able to pump water tens of meters high. The first of them was constructed before World War II by Friedrich Johanson to supply his farmhouse with water. The invention was necessary because it was troublesome to make a well atop of the hill while having lots of springs at the bottom of the valley The pump has been working since 1939 and pumps five cubic metres of water into the 30-metre-high water cistern every 24-hour period. The other ram pump was constructed in 2002 by Jüri Johanson. This one pumps water (nearly 12,000 litres a day) up to 23-metre-high pond near his cottage.  

There is also a 1.5 km long nature trail, a watch tower and a big swing for the visitors to enjoy.