Elva Home Page

Elva - another village!

While there has been little interest in the possible trip to the beautiful village of Elva in Italy, I thought it worthwhile including details of another community called Elva, this time in Estonia.

Okay, I can see you reaching for the atlas, but I can tell you this little town is south of Finland and east of Sweden - and once again is lovely.

Here's some photos and information from Mart Raudsaar. Click on any of the photos for a larger image.


The main facts about Elva:

Elva is a city situated in South-Estonia, in the South-Western part of Tartu county. It takes approximately three hours by car to drive to nearest international airport Ülemiste, just before the capital Tallinn. It takes approximately twenty minutes to drive to Tartu, what is the second Estonian city by population, and an old university town (established in 1632 by Gustav II Adolf) and the most eastern city belonging to the Hansaetic League. The city is passed by one of the most important Estonian roads, so-called Via Hansaetica which connects Berlin and St. Petersburg.

Population and size:

6257 habitants (1998) and 9.9 square kilometres. Thus, density is extremely low for a city.

Natural resources:

The northern part is covered by woody growth. The southern part appears to be more smooth woody sandy plain, covered mainly by pine-trees (approximately 80 years old).

Summa summarum forest takes 36% of total amount of city's soil, not to mention every single tree growing among the buildings. Therefore Elva is also known as "pinetown". One such single but powerful tree is the Arbi pine-tree what is a symbol of town and has been portrayed on the coat of arms.   Click for enlargement (34Kb)

The coat of arms symbolizes the fresh air and water resources as well we have.

There are six main lakes on the city's territory and the Elva river penetrating the settlement. The biggest lake is Verevi (12,6 hectares) and Arbi (5,5 hectares). The first has nice sandy beach which has been just reconstructed and will be reopened in 15th of May 1999. The average altitude from the sea level is 55 metres.

Brief history:

The settlement was established in 1889 as co-product of the opening of the railway junction between Riga and Tartu. The railway station is one of the earliest buildings in town and this is a good example of architecture used in those early days.   Click for enlargement (33Kb)

No larger photo available   The settlement expanded her borders rapidly as famous summer resourt and was vacation destination for 1700 visitors in 1935. Many of them came form Scandinavia, being attracted by the significant name "Elva" maybe. "Elva" means "eleven" in Swedish and "a river" in Norwegian.

In 1938 the town got city rights and enjoys exactly the same status as our capital and other cities nowadays. In 1988 there were huge selebrations because of 100 year-anniversary of settlement and 50 year-anniversary of city. In that autumn the city stone was opened by the oldest citizen Juhan Jans.   Click for enlargement (42Kb)

Click for enlargement (30Kb)  

That year was the year of so-called singing revolution, the liberation movement could begin and our national flags blue-black-white were carried out first time after the Soviet occupation. The stone is also a memorial for victims of occupation, especially of those who were deported to Siberia in 1941 and 1949. The Soviet occupation was a great repulse indeed, and the present city government tries re-establish the image of famous summer resort.

The church was built in 1920 and has vitreous altarpiece, unique in the whole Estonia. The altarpiece shows the event of the Epiphany and was created by Dolores Hoffmann in 1995.

Main industrial enterprise:

"Elvex", Estonian-Swedish joint venture, produces front and rear glass for cars and this is definitely one of the biggest factories in the region by amount of production.


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