The Sooglemäe farm complex is located in Ala village, Helme rural municipality, Valga county and is owned by the Institute of Mulgi Culture (hereinafter MKI). In 2008–2009 MKI was actively searching for a farm to establish a centre introducing the rich heritage and history of Mulgi culture. By autumn 2009 MKI had been offered more than 30 different properties across Mulgimaa. The older, authentic manor houses are situated in the southern region of Mulgimaa, specifically in the parishes of Halliste, Karksi and Helme. The decision was made in favour of Sooglemäe primarily due to its good location: the proximity of the Valga-Uulu highway and the presence of a local road with an asphalt surface; the proximity of well-known tourist attractions such as Taagepera Castle, Helme Castle, caves and springs, the Barclay de Tolly mausoleum, Koorküla lakes, Tündre recreation area, Teringi bog. The expansive former farm is a good example of an authentic historical Mulgi farm. Moreover, a manor house together with its outbuildings was preserved on the premises of this complex (other preserved manor houses lacked outbuildings).
The municipalities of Mulgimaa set the joint goal of establishing the Mulgimaa Visitor Centre, or the Mulgi Experience Centre, near Taagepera at the Sooglemäe farm complex to revive the stories, traditions, mythology and folklore of Mulks in an engaging and modern manner for visitors.
The municipalities’ aspiration was to restore the complex and establish the Mulgi Experience Centre by the year 2018 – the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.
The centre is a Mulgi landmark and bears the identity of Mulgi people. Through ingenious solutions, it will shape a future inspired by history, have a global reach, connect local businesses and products, and provide visitors with knowledge, entertainment, adventure and fresh perspectives.
The Mulgi Experience Centre is dedicated to preserving and showcasing Mulgi culture. It stands as a valuable partner for local entrepreneurs in promoting business and for municipalities in facilitating regional growth, while also inspiring visitors with innovative ideas and smart solutions. Through the judicious use of resources and fostering the professional development of its staff, the centre aims to be an attractive destination that benefits the region.