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Vaivara Blue Mountains

Location: N59° 22` 30"", E27° 52` 0.00"

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Sinimäed Hills (Blue Hills) are three linked natural cliffs in Vaivara municipality, which consist of Tornimägi, Põrguaugumägi (Hell hole hill) or Grenadier's Hill, and Park Hill or Orphanage Hill, which is the highest of them. Orphanage Hill got its name from the first state orphanage established in the old manor house on the ridge of the hill. The name 'Sinimäed' comes from the fact that the hills were covered with tall spruce forest until the World War II, which gave the hills a bluish hue. 

The Sinimäed Hills have been fortified sites in several wars. Already Peter the Great of Russia let to build a watchtower on Tornimägi hill. Grenadier's Hill has got its name from the fact that the troops of Peter the Great's grenadiers were stationed there in the Northern War. During World War I, the Russian ground forces had a defensive line there, therefore, a lot of defence buildings were constructed in this area. At the end of World War II, the Germans built so-called Tannenberg Line there. This consisted of kilometres of trenches, dozens of blockhouses, foxholes and bunkers for staff. The Battle of Tannenberg Line was fought on July 28 – August 10, 1944 by Soviet and German Armies. It was a battle, where the attack was followed immediately by the next one. Every piece of land and trench changed repeatedly the owner. Because of non-stop bombarding, the surrounding areas were covered by dust. The weather at the same time was really hot and therefore, the smell of dead bodies was extremely intense. Nobody was looking for their unit but fought where they were until the end of the battle. Soldiers often started hand-in-hand combat. All attacks started by the Soviet Army were repelled by the Germans. This battle was the bloodiest of all battles ever fought on Estonian ground. The Soviet Army lost about 22, 000 dead and 160,000 wounded soldiers. The German Army lost 10,000 men. As a result of the battle, the Soviet conquest in Estonia was put to a halt. This enabled about 100,000 Estonians to escape to the Western Europe and helped to strengthen the Finnish Southern Front, which helped Finland to exit war as an independent country. Russian troops couldn't break through the Blue Hills using weapons. They broke through because German forces retreated in a fear of being surrounded by the other enemy from the south. After that it took only a week for Russians to occupy Estonia.  

A Memorial was completed on Põrguaugu Hill to commemorate soldiers died in World War II battles there. The memorial was built during 1997 – 2000. The memorial is about a hectare large area with a 12-metre-tall steel circle cross in the centre designed by metal artist Heino Müller. In the centre of it there stands a composition symbolising an explosion.