In the 19th century, Sillamäe became a popular place for rest among the intellectual of Petersburg. Before World War I, Sillamäe was known as a summer resort, which was famous for its nature and peace. About 100 summerhouses were built here, most of which were destroyed during the war. (In 1928 80% of houses were summer houses, and other houses had rooms for people, who came here during summer). Before World War I the number of people was about 600-700, number of guests of the town was 1500. In the period of 1920-1928 it was about 300-600. Aristocracy chose Narva-Jõesuu as a place for rest, but writers, artists and scientists preferred Sillamäe for rest. Famous people such as composer Pjotr Tchaikovsky and physiologist Ivan Pavlov liked to rest here.
During these years other famous people visited this town. Botanist, professor, academician Andrei Famitchin (1935-1918), scholar of literature Pavel Fiskovatov (1842-1905), scholar of literature and language, historian, academician Vassili Latishev (1855-1922), professor of physiology Vyatcheslav Ivanov (1866-1949), poet Konstantin Balmont (1867-1942), artist Konstantin Somov (1869-1939), scientist , professor of Technological institution of Petersburg Boris Rosing (1869-1933), writer Endel Tennov (1926-1978), who was born near Sillamäe in the village of Kannuka. The number of visitors from different parts of Estonia increased after World War I.