(redirected from Saaremaa Island)
Also found in: Dictionary.




(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 ?
Coastal damages on Saaremaa Island, Estonia, caused by the extreme storm and flooding on January 9, 2005.
Asva--a Late Bronze Age Settlement in Saaremaa Island.
The Estonian Saaremaa island is one of the 1,000 places to see before you die, a book by the same name, claimed to be a New York Times bestseller, published at the end of last year, declares, reports Saarte Haal.
High prevalence of human antibodies has been detected against SAAV (23%) on Saaremaa Island and against PUUV (18%) in central Estonia (2,3).
Vesiku is a famous late Wenlock vertebrate locality on the western coast of Saaremaa Island, Estonia, which represents shallow-water lagoonal and shoal facies belts with a large and important taxonomic variety of well-preserved early vertebrates (Nestor 1997; Blom et al.
Quite many Ringerike and Urnes-style sword hilt details (29) and spearheads (30) have been found in Estonia, mainly from the coastal areas of the country: the Saaremaa Island (Osel) and western and northern Estonia.