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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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
So wird an ausgesuchten Fundbeispielen von den Methoden berichtet, mit denen die Bronzezeitmenschen auf Saaremaa Fischfang, Robbenjagd, Viehzucht und Ackerbau nachgingen.
The subvolcanic biotite granite porphyries in the northern part of the Riga batholith on Saaremaa and Ruhnu islands resemble the granophyres (graphic granites) of the Gulf of Bothnia (Eskola 1928).
Silurian conodont-based correlations between Gotland (Sweden) and Saaremaa (Estonia).
Die Inselregion Saaremaa erweist sich hierbei als ein besonderer Naturraum, mit anderen Bedingungen und Voraussetzungen fur Agrikultur als in Kusten- und Festlandszonen des heutigen Estland und Lettland.
In order to carry out the study, in 2004 we recorded three middle-aged (born 1948-1971) males and females in the parishes of Ansekula, Kihelkonna, and Mustjala in western Saaremaa, and three middle-aged (born 1946-1974) males and females in the parish of Rouge in Vorumaa in southeastern Estonia.
In this paper the conodonts and cyclicity at the transition between the Rootsikula and Paadla stages, that is, the Soeginina and Sauvere beds, are considered, based on the material from some outcrops of Saaremaa Island, Estonia (Fig.
Evelin Mesila, procurement specialist of the rural municipality of Saaremaa, said that since everything is governed by the Public Procurement Act, a committee as such will not be convened.
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.
Besonders wenig zu erfahren ist zur Besiedlungsgeschichte der Inseln Saaremaa und Hiiumaa und des estnischen Festlands in der ersten Halfte des zweiten vorchristlichen Jahrtausends.
9,995 passengers traveled from the Estonian mainland to the largest islands Saaremaa and Hiiumaa on June 22, and 9,445 traveled back to the mainland on Sunday, to celebrate Midsummer, reports Postimees Online.