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Title: Põlva  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Põlva Parish, European route E263, Eveli Saue, Peri, Estonia, Signy Aarna
Collection: Cities and Towns in Estonia, Former Municipalities of Estonia, Põlva Parish
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Põlva, Estonia
Põlva church
Põlva church
Flag of Põlva, Estonia
Coat of arms of Põlva, Estonia
Coat of arms
Põlva, Estonia is located in Estonia
Põlva, Estonia
Location in Estonia
Country Estonia
County Põlva County
Municipality Põlva Parish
 • Total 5.5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
Population (2013)
 • Total 6,584
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
 • Estonians 97%
 • other 3%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 63308
Area code(s) (+372) 799
Vehicle registration O
Website .ee.polvawww

Põlva (Estonian pronunciation: ) is a town in southeastern Estonia, it's the capital of Põlva County and the centre of Põlva Parish.

Põlva is home for the Intsikurmu Song Festival Grounds, which regularly hosts concerts and summer activities, situated in a small forested area on the west side of the town.


  • History 1
  • Education 2
  • Culture and sport 3
  • Politics 4
  • Twin towns 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Estonian War of Independence monument in Põlva.

The first mention of Põlva as a settlement dates from 1452, in the 13th century. The name originates from the Estonian word for knee (põlv), although its origin is not entirely clear. Legend has it that a girl was immured in a kneeling position in St. Mary's Church to keep the devil away. This is reputedly how the town was named.

Põlva was an old military crossroad between the north and south of Livonia. Around 1240, shortly after the Christianization of Estonia, the Bernardine monks built a church order, which they dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The village church was subordinate to the Bishopric of Dorpat. The same parish was the result of the Livonian War under Russian domination in the 16th century. In 1582 it became part of Dorpat Voivodeship under Polish sovereignty, and later it belonged to Sweden. In 1721, in the Treaty of Nystad, Estonia and Livonia were then ceded to Russia. Then Põlva and its church parish belonged first to Tartu County and from 1783 to newly established Võru County, part of the Governorate of Livonia.

Only with the political independence of Estonia in 1918 Põlva gained national importance. The town grew larger around the Põlva artificial lake, whose sandy shores are crowded with vacationers during summertime. The town was developed around St. Mary's Church, which lay in ruins for a long time until it was rebuilt after the Great Northern War. In 1931, a railway from Tartu to Petseri through Põlva was completed. On 10 August 1993 Põlva gained town rights. Põlva is twinned with Swedish town Vårgårda, located in Västergötland.


The importance of education can be noticed already on coat of arm where the town of Põlva represents a cock from an ABC book with a pointer. There are eight educational institutions from providing knowledge, training and good learning environment. Põlva has 3 schools, student data as of 1 January 2009:

  • Põlva Coeducational Gymnasium, which has 737 students.
  • Põlva Secondary School, which has 387 students.
  • Põlva Roosi School, which has 28 students. This school is for mentally impaired children.

Culture and sport

In summertime, interesting music festivals are held in Põlva. 2011 was the first time for harmonica players to get together and play music. Festival of the Põlva FC Lootos was founded 1994. One of the biggest sport clubs in county more than 30 players for Estonian national team was grown up within club history. Lootospark is a football stadium which is a cooperative project between Põlva Town, Estonian Football Federation and Põlva FC Lootos. This stadium is covered with a 3rd generation synthetic lawn and its lighting and underheating systems are equipped according to international requirements. The stadium was officially opened on November 7, 2004. In addition to sports the inhabitants of Põlva are engaged in art and music. In the Põlva Art School one can learn painting, graphic arts and ceramics; the works of various artists are displayed in the Maarja Gallery. The Music School provides musical education and the E STuudio, an ensemble of young people, the brass band, the small symphony orchestra and a number of choirs also practise actively.


In October 2013, after the municipal elections, Põlva was merged to the surrounding Põlva Parish and therefore lost its municipal status.

Before that, the town council consisted of 17 members elected on 18 October 2009 by local votings. The government consisted of 5 members that were elected by the council on 20 November 2009. Tarmo Tamm, who was the mayor of Põlva for more than 11 years, went to the parliament in April 2011.[1][2] Since 11 May 2011 the mayor was Georg Pelisaar.[3]

Twin towns


  1. ^ Official site of the parliament of Estonia, Retrieved 24.04.11 (Estonian)
  2. ^ An interview with Tarmo Tamm, where he states that he worked as mayor for 11,5 years, Retrieved 24.04.11 (Estonian)
  3. ^ "Georg Pelisaar was elected to be the mayor of Põlva", Retrieved 12.05.11 (Estonian)
  • This article is based on the translation of the corresponding article of the German WorldHeritage. A list of contributors can be found there at the History section.

External links

  • Official website
  • Põlva webcam
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