Noarootsi Parish is a rural municipality in Lääne County, western Estonia. It covers an area of 303 km² and has a population of 849. It is situated by the sea, the coastline is almost 100 km long.
The administrative centre of Noarootsi Parish is Pürksi village / Birkas. A kindergarten, a basic school, highschool, school boarding house, library, culture hall, recreational centre, crafts workshop, postal office, hairdresser, shop, pub and cafee are situated here.
Pürksi is located 40 km from the capital of Lääne County, Haapsalu and 110 km from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn.
Noarootsi is not an industrial area, the biggest industrial enterprises deal with manufacture of wood and wooden details and forestry, there are some individual farms dealing with beef cattle, sheep farming and grain growing Also tourism is a big part of inhabitants income.
Noarootsi, a beautiful coastal area in Lääne County, is steeped in Swedish and Soviet history.
It surprises the visitors with its bilingual place names, beautiful sandy beaches, pine tree forest and is considered one of the best places for birding/birdwatching in Estonia – tens of thousands of birds touch down here on their spring migration.
HISTORY OF NOAROOTSI
The Swedish settlement appeared in the middle of the 13th century. In the 1581 Noarootsi came under Swedish rule and remained so until 1710.
The Swedish era boosted the region's spiritual life - the first known school for the children of peasants was established, and chapels were built for the Noarootsi church in Sutlepa, Rooslepa and Osmussaar.
Noarootsi was hit by a severe plague epidemic during the Great Northern War (1710–1711). Population decreased by 2/3, with many villages left completely empty. Estonians from inland regions settled in the abandoned villages. A new spiritual awakening started in Noarootsi in the 19th century. A teacher's seminary was established in Paslepa manor. In the beginning of
the 20th century the first singing society and the first Swedish library were established and Swedish Education Society founded. The Swedish-language Pürksi Agricultural and Folk University was opened in Pürksi manor house in 1920.
During the independence of the Republic of Estonia shipbuilding and seafaring became very active. The oldest sailing vessel built in Estonia was built by Mattias Schönberg in the village of Spitham from 1925–1927. The schooner Hoppet was renovated by 2012 and belongs to the society ‘Puulaevaselts Vikan'.
Soviet military bases were established in Estonia in 1939, border zone was established. Most Swedes left Estonia in 1943-1944. They were replaced by war refugees. A new era in the history of Noarootsi started in the end of the 1980s. The border zone disappeared and former Noarootsi people could return to their homes. The first ‘Noarootsi Days' were organised in 1988. Teaching Swedish started again in 1989 and Noarootsi Upper Secondary School was opened in 1990. The Noarootsi Freedom Monument was reopened in 1990. Noarootsi was granted the rights of a municipality in 1991. 1993 saw the opening of Paslepa Folk University (now Swedish Folk University).