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The area: 872 km²
Inhabitants: 7,204 people-3,585 men and 3,619 women
Centre: Märjamaa country-town (2695 people 2017)
Märjamaa municipality is the biggest one according to the territory in Estonia. It lies in eastern part of the old Läänemaa in the west, on the territory of today’s Rapla county and borders on Harjumaa in the north, Pärnu county in the south and Läänemaa in the west. Within boarders of today’s Märjamaa municipality there are some parts of former Märjamaa, Kullamaa, Vigala, Rapla, Hageri and Nissi parish.
At the beginning of the 13 century Märjamaa, Kullamaa and Vigala formed an ancient parish the name of which is not known today. The church parish was formed by Märjamaa Mary’s church at the end of the 13th century. At first a wooden church was probably built here and later a stone one which dates back to the 13-14th century. The church-fortress built on the crossroads was in addition to its sacramental function also a place to stay for ramblers and salesmen and a place to hide for local people. The first written record about Märjamaa dates back to 1364 when a new priest Cercalus de Castella was appointed to the church. Forming a permanent settelment around the church took several more hundred years. Märjamaa country-town started to establish at the end of the 19th century, the first houses were built around the church in 1863. Before that existed, manor-pubs and a doctor’s office (founded in 1825), a pharmacy (1843) and a hospital (1849).
The name Märjamaa is thought to be connected with the name of the church- Maarja’s land (Maarja-maa)- the church is devoted to Virgin Mary (Maarja). The other version is Märja-maa- a wet- land (märg-wet; maa-land)- this logic is due to the fact that Märjamaa lies on the karst area and is partly flooded almost every spring. There are many different known versions of the name Märjamaa: Mariemah, Mariamah, Merjama, Marjama, Maarja maa, Määrja maa, St Mariae nativitatis, Mergemaha, Märgamaa, Margama, Maria-Mah, Merjamaa, Margiema, Meryenmaa, Merriema, Mergema, Merjema, Mariama.
Wars and misery have not saved Märjamaa. The reminders of these distant times are Varbola stronghold from the 11th-12th centuries, Märjamaa church-fortress, the church gate-monument and a lot of place-names like Plague-Mountain, Money-Hole, Death-Mountain of a Monk, Beating-Pine, the Ophran’s stone, the King’s stone etc. speak about history as well.
In the past there were a lot of businesses here, like a paper-mill by Sulu manor (1717-1795) and a glass factory by Nõva manor (1788-1826). At the beginning of the 20th century Märjamaa country-town was known as an economical and financial centre. In 1931 Rapla-Virtsu railway which went through Märjamaa was built and here there was one of the biggest banks in Estonia, Lääne Eesti Ühispank. There is no railway today.
In Märjamaa municipality there are 82 villages and in the centre there is a little country-town called Märjamaa (3,079 people). Here there are a gymnasium (classes from 1 to 12), a kindergarten, a music and arts school, a church, a library, a cinema, a culture house, a youth-centre, two pharmacies, two family practitioner centres, a hospital, a post-office, a police-station, a fire-and resque department, a swimming-pool, two gyms, a stadium, miscellaneous businesses and services.
Märjamaa municipality is widely known for its different events and undertakings such as Märjamaa Days and Märjamaa Folk Festival, Varbola Wood-Carving Festival, Autumn-Market in Velise, Youth Festival Noorsoolikas (a young intestine), history conferences on Independence Day.
Newborn babies are invited to the chief-executive’s reception which takes place twice a year and as a present they get a silver spoon with their name. We have 5 honorary citizens for their life-long work: a writer Harry Jõgisalu, a clergyman Priit Rannut, a naturalist and homeland researcher Lembit Tihkan, musicians and teachers Robert Kasemägi and Maiu Linnamägi. They have been awarded with letters-of-thanks and Orders of Merit. Märjamaa municipality publishes its own weekly newspaper and an annual calendar.
Märjamaa has been influenced by different administrative reforms, the last one was carried out in 2002 on the 28th of October when the three municipalities Märjamaa country town, Märjamaa municipality and Loodna municipality joined into one big Märjamaa municipality
which following Vigala Parish in 2016.
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