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(both: sä`rĕmä), Swed. Ösel, Rus. Ezel, 1,048 sq mi (2,714 sq km), island off the mainland of Estonia, in the Baltic Sea, across the mouth of the Gulf of Riga. It is irregular in shape and has a level terrain. Dairy farming, stock raising, and fishing are the chief occupations. Kuressaare is the main town and port. It is also a health resort and a popular tourist destination. The island was ruled by the Livonian Knights until 1560, when it passed to Denmark, which in turn ceded (1645) it to Sweden. Saaremaa passed to Russia in 1710 and was incorporated into newly independent Estonia in 1917. It is also called Saare.



(also Saare, Sarema, Ezel’), the largest island in the Moonsund (West Estonian) Archipelago, in the Baltic Sea; part of the Estonian SSR. Linked by a causeway with Muhu Island. Area, 2,714 sq km.

The island is mainly a limestone structure, covered in places by glacial and marine deposits. Its low-lying surface, rising to an elevation of 54 m, is marshy in places. The soil, formed from carbonaceous, wind-eroded rocks, is poor and gravelly. There are pine forests and infrequent thickets of juniper. Many sea-fowl nest along the shore. There is commercial fishing for Baltic herring, eels, and flatfish. There are deposits of limestones and dolomites (at Karma). The principal city is Kingissepa. On the western part of the island is the Viidumäe Preserve. Northwest of Kingissepa, in Kaali, there is a game preserve with meteorite craters.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the island was seized by fascist German forces during September and October 1941 (seeMOONSUND DEFENSIVE OPERATION OF 1941). As a result of the Moonsund Operation of October-November 1944, the island was liberated by troops of the Leningrad Front and naval forces of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet. In Tekhumardi there is a monument entitled To the Defenders and Liberators of Saaremaa (1967, architect A. Murdmaa, sculptors M. Varik and R. Kuld).

References in periodicals archive ?
Saaremaa county, an island in the Baltic Sea, had been occupied by Germany already in October 1917 and had been subjected to a German requisition policy longer than the rest of Estonia that had been occupied only at the end of February 1918.
Seit der Entdeckung Asvas wurden der Insel Saaremaa wiederholt Verbindungen mit der sog.
As to the recently leafed young birch or branch brought home for holiday in Estonia it has been called meig in Saaremaa, mei in Muhu and Reigi, and meiu in some other patois (Jamaja, Reigi, Martna, Juri).
BALTIC P&O CRUISES (0843 373 0111) offers a 16-night cruise on Adonia (D311) from PS999 (Getaway Fare) ex-Southampton August 9 to Copenhagen, Saaremaa Island, Tallin, St Petersburg (overnight in port), Stockholm, Visby, Kalmar, Sassnitz and Kiel canal.
In Europe, 5 rodent-borne hantaviruses have been detected: DobravaBelgrade, Saaremaa, Seoul, Puumala, and Tula (1,2).
The Vana Viini malt is one used at Beer House, and the hops, similar to Saaz hops used in many European lagers, are grown on the island of Saaremaa just off the Estonian coast.
Klaipeda, Lithuania; Saaremaa, Estonia; Baie-Comeau (Quebec), Canada; Chios, Greece; Portsmouth, Dominica; Fanning Island, Kiribati; and Fukuoka, Japan.
13 September 2011 - Finnish electronics maker Incap Oyj (HEL:ICP1V) said today its production plant in Kuressaare, on the Saaremaa island offshore Estonia, would be expanded by 3,400 sq m to some 7,000 sq m.
The damaged HMS Cassandra, HMS Gentian and HMS Myrtle were found near the island of Saaremaa about 90 miles south-west of Estonian capital Tallinn.
Additionally, Saaremaa had its own knighthood separate from the others (see Figure 1).
In Kaali area (Island of Saaremaa, Estonia) both magnetite-silicate and silicate spherules were identified [2].