Haapsalu is a small town on the southern coast of Haapsalu Bay. As of today, the town covers an area of 10,59 square kilometres and is bordered by the sea on three sides. During the last decades, the town has grown inland and the centre of town has shifted from the ancient episcopal castle to the present commercial centre. Haapsalu is recognised as a quiet resort for summer holidays and mud therapy. Due to its shallow waters, Haapsalu Bay is warmer in the summer than any other bay on the Estonian coast. Haapsalu is considered the most sunny resort in Estonia, despite its high air humidity compared to places inland. Throughout history, the therapeutic mud of Haapsalu has attracted high society from imperial Russia, as well as social celebrities from the Nordic countries.
The town of Haapsalu is the centre of Lääne County. This is where the county’s hospital and upper secondary school are located. The cultural centre is operating collectively as an art gallery, cinema, theatre and concert hall. The county’s central library o is in the same building. Music and dance groups gather in the centre and conferences, seminars and other events are held there.
Haapsalu is known as a child-friendly town. There are 5 different playgrounds, 4 kindergartens, a primary school and lower and upper secondary schools. Additional after school programmes and schools for art, music and sports help children develop their talents, and two youth centres help to constructively pass leisure time. In Haapsalu, higher education can be obtained at Tallinn University’s Haapsalu College or Haapsalu Adult College. There is also the Haapsalu Vocational Education Centre located in Uuemõisa, which is a small town adjoining Haapsalu. The sanatorium boarding school named “Viigi kool” offers education on the level of primary and lower secondary school and is located next to the Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre, which is unique in the entire country.
Up-to-date sports facilities – a stadium, aquatics centre, several sports halls and centres – offer many opportunities for training and competitive sports events in variousfields.
For spending leisure time, there are art galleries, museums, cafeterias and restaurants. In the summer, Haapsalu is home to numerous festivals and concerts.
In Lääne County, a little over half of the county’s business is done in Haapsalu, in terms of turnover.
Health promotion in Lääne County is the field of entrepreneurship given priority on the national level. The Centre of Excellence in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation was established under the Tallinn University Haapsalu College. Its main purpose is to develop the field of health promotion and rehabilitation and boost cooperation with local enterprises. The largest enterprises in this field are Heal AS and AS Haapsalu Kuurort, providing wellness and accommodation services. These two companies are also the largest in the field of tourism, in terms of income and employment. More than 50 small businesses are engaged in accommodation and catering in Haapsalu.
In the field of manufacturing industries here, the first, in terms of size, is the textile manufacturer PVMP-Elektika OÜ (locally named “Nurme vabrik”). The next important sector of the manufacturing industry in the county is the timber industry. Tene Kaubandus OÜ, producing wooden prefabricated buildings, is the largest enterprise in this sector. Overall, there are six larger enterprises operating in Lääne County’s timber industry. Also located in Haapsalu are enterprises manufacturing metal products and plastics and some other industries, but these sectors are not as well represented in terms of size and number of enterprises.
Coastal people’s traditional way of living and its continuity is carried on by the successful sea fishing company OÜ Morobell and three other companies operating in this field.
About ten enterprises are operating in the field of transportation of goods and products in Lääne County. The logistics company Est-Trans AS, Estonia’s largest company transporting chilled and frozen goods, operates here.
Area – 10,60 km2
Population – 10 316 (1st of January 2014)
Distances – 101 km from Tallinn, 110 km from Pärnu