The orthodox church in Raja, a village along the western shore of Lake Peipsi, has only its front section left standing. According to the explanations of a local resident it was damaged during a Soviet bombing 1944 and reconstruction wasn't allowed during the Soviet occupation (when religion was strongly discouraged).
Some villages along the western shore of lake Peipsi are home to a Russian-speaking minority known as the Old Believers. Old Believers disagreed with religious reforms introduced by the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1652. Many fled from persecution in Tsarist Russia at the end of the 17th century, some seeking refuge in Estonia, which was at that time under Swedish control.
Copyright Otto de Voogd 2010