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The ancient counties Sakala and Nurmekunde were located on the current territory of Viljandimaa in the 13th century. It was the fort of Lembitu, the ancient Estonian most well-known county governor and warlord, Lõhavere stronghold which is unarguably one of the most important monuments of the Estonian history and symbols of ancient fight for freedom.

Viljandimaa has been under the power of Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Sweden and Russia and the county has been plundered by many wars. Already in the ancient times the cargo roads run through Viljandi, by setting off towards north and south. Viljandi was already then the focal stronghold of Sakalamaa. Viljandi was probably first mentioned in 1154 by the Arab land explorer Al Idrisi in Geography.

The first more detailed description of Viljandi though originates from the spring-winter of 1211 when the German knighthood troop with the supporting troop of Livonians and Latvians reached Viljandi for the first time to turn the pagans here into Christianity. Upon the order of order master Volquini the construction of stone fortress in Viljandi was started in 1224.

The city rights given to the settlement established around the stronghold were first mentioned in 1283. The construction of stone fortress lasted for more than two hundred years. During this period Viljandi became the residence and centre of the politically and economically powerful commandery.

Viljandi got the worthy fortifications as the focal support point of the Livonian order state which were located on three sequent hills. The fourth protection zone was made of the high walls of the Hansa city having set up on the northern side of the stronghold.
The name of Viljandi appeared in the Hansa documents for the first time in 1346. The manor complexes talking about the manor-history of Viljandimaa, 20 of which have preserved up to today, the most perfectly of these Olustvere manor with beautiful manor, outbuildings and park with many species.

By the second half of the 19th century Viljandimaa was one of the most prosperous counties in Estonia. Thanks to the flax growing the farm life was vigorously developed and the Mulks were in the forefront in purchase of the farms.

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