Infobox Settlement
subdivision_type = i like sex

subdivision_name = EST
subdivision_type1 = County
map_caption = Location of Pärnu

image_caption = Orthodox Church
official_name = Pärnu
other_name = Pärnu

image_shield = Et-Parnu coa.svg
subdivision_name1 = Pärnu County
leader_name = Mart Viisitamm
area_total_km2 = 32.22
population_total = 44568|population_footnotes=
population_as_of = 2004
population_density_km2 = 1383.2
coor = 58°23' N 24°30' E

Pärnu ( _de. Pernau; _ru. Пярну, formerly Пернов; _pl. Parnawa) is a city in southwestern Estonia on the coast of Pärnu Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea. It is a popular summer vacation resort with many hotels, restaurants, and large beaches. The Pärnu River flows through the city. The city is served by Pärnu Airport.

The city is occasionally referred to as "Pyarnu", an incorrect reverse-transliteration from Russian "Пярну".


(Perona, German "Alt-Pernau" or Estonian "Vana-Pärnu") was founded by the bishop of Ösel-Wiek ca. 1251, suffered heavily under pressure of the concurrent town, and was finally destroyed ca. 1600. Another town (Embeke, later German "Neu-Pernau" or Estonian "Uus-Pärnu") was founded by the Livonian Order, who began building an Ordensburg nearby in 1265. The latter town, then known by the German name of "Pernau", was a member of the Hanseatic League and an important ice-free harbor for Livonia. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth took control of town between 1560-1617; the Poles fought the Swedes nearby in 1609. Sweden took control of the town during the 16th century Livonian War, but it was subsequently taken by the Russian Empire in the 1721 Treaty of Nystad following the Great Northern War.

The town became part of independent Estonia in 1918 following World War I.

During the Great Northern War, the University of Dorpat (Tartu) was relocated to Pernau from 1699-1710. The university has a branch campus in Pärnu today (1,000 students in the 2004/2005 school year).


Local administration consists of the town council and the town government. Town council elections take place every three years. The current town council was elected in October 2005. The number of councillors depends on the population. The current number of councillors is 33.


Pärnu is a health resort of international stature. In addition to guests arriving from around fifty countries, it is also proved by its membership in the European Spas Association (since 2000) and the European Flag that has been flying at the beach of Pärnu since 2000. Many tourists in Pärnu are Finns and Estonians. Hotel and restaurant staff speak English, Russian and some Finnish in addition to Estonian.

In 1837, a few business-minded entrepreneurs decided to rebuild a lone tavern near the beach into a bathing establishment, thus preparing the ground for the development of the resort of Pärnu. This wooden building was the predecessor of the present-day mud baths. The establishment, which was opened in 1838, accommodated 5-6 bathrooms that provided hot seawater baths in summer and operated as a sauna in winter. The wooden building was burnt down in the course of World War I. In 1927, the present stone building of Pärnu Mud Baths was erected at the same site. Later, the wings were attached to the building to accommodate a bath unit and a pool.

Today, disorders of the joints, spinal column and peripheral nervous system, gynaecological problems and dysfunction of the central nervous system are treated at Pärnu Mud Baths. The therapies include hydrotherapy, mud and ozocerite therapies, massage, laser and electrotherapies, lymph and inhalation therapies, aromatherapy and ECG. There are 130 rooms in the hotel of the Mud Baths.

Since 1996 Pärnu has been known as Estonia's Summer Capital.

Notable residents

* Lydia Koidula, poet
* Friedrich Martens, jurist
* David Oistrakh, violinist
* Nikita Panin, statesman
* Georg Wilhelm Richmann, German physicist
* David Samoylov, poet
* Olev Siinmaa, architect
* Kärt Lepik


External links

* [http://www.visitparnu.com/index.php?id=101&L=1 Municipal website]
* [http://www.nwi.ru/id=6/city_id=11/lang=1/city.cgi Parnu tour overview]
* [http://archive.spaceimaging.com/ikonos/2/kpms/2004/05//browse.238688.crss_sat.0.0.jpgSatellite photo from May, 2004]

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