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Valga linn
Valga Train Station

Flag

Coat of arms
Location of Valga, Estonia
Coordinates: 57°47′N 26°02′E / 57.783°N 26.033°E / 57.783; 26.033
Country  Estonia
County Valga County
Area
 - Total 16.54 km2 (6.4 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 - Total 13,738
 Density 849.8/km2 (2,201/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Valga (German: Walk) is a town in southern Estonia and the capital of Valga County. Until their separation in 1920, Valga and the town of Valka in northern Latvia were one town. They are now twin-towns. The area of Valga is 16.5 km² and that of Valka is 14.2 km². Their populations are respectively 14,153 and 6,164. As of 1 January 2009 all border-crossing points were removed and roads and fences opened between the two countries with both countries joining the Schengen Agreement.

Contents

Location

Valga is situated at the junction of roads and railways. The Tallinn-Tartu-Riga railway is connected via Tapa with the Tallinn-Narva-St Petersburg main line. Valga is an international railway junction. Since there is no railway station in Valka, trains coming from Riga stop at nearby Lugaži, before continuing to Valga. During the Cold War, Valga was home to Valga air base. With the expansion of the Schengen Agreement and the abolishment of systematic border controls between Estonia and Latvia, it was announced that common public bus transport would be launched between Valga and Valka.[1] In April 2008 the three daily trains from Riga which previously terminated at Lugaži were extended across the border to Valga.

The distance to Tartu is 89 km, Pärnu 144 km, Tallinn 245 km, Riga 175 km and Pskov 170 km.

Activity

Since 1944, a local newspaper, "Valgamaalane", has been published (3 times a week). Since 2003, there has also been a local newspaper "Walk" (in the Russian language). There also is a local correspondence office of Estonian Television (Eesti Televisioon) and a local radio - "Raadio Ruut".

Valga has concluded several cooperation agreements. The nearest is an agreement (from the year 1995) with the neighbouring town of Valka. There are also cooperation agreements with Oakland, Maryland[2] (US) and Östhammar Municipality (Sweden). There are long-term friendly relations with Hallsberg Municipality in Sweden and the towns of Lübz in Germany and Tornio in Finland.

Valga is developing quickly. Since 1996, the populace's quality of life has improved due to the renovation of several buildings, including the Central Library, Valga Stadium, the Museum, Valga Hospital, and the Culture and Hobby Centre. Step by step, the schools and kindergartens are also being modernized. Since 2003, a new water treatment plant has improved the quality of water in the town.

In the private sector, there have been extensive investments in trade, light industry, and forestry.

Valga Town Hall, built in 1865.
Valga central library.

Population

Population development
Year Population
1881 4 200
1897 10 900
1922 9 500
1934 10 800
1959 13 300
1970 17 000
1979 18 500
1989 17 700
2000 14 300
2009 13 738

Sport

FC Valga Warrior represents the town in the Estonian football championship.

History

  • 1286: Valga (under German name Walk) appears for the first time in the credit register of the city of Riga.
  • 1298, 1329, 1345: Walk suffers from looting raids made by Lithuanians who are led by Grand Duke Gediminas and Algirdas on the second and third occasions.
  • 1419 Walk becomes the seat of the Landtag of the Livonian Confederation.
  • 1481: A looting raid by Russians; the settlement burns down for the fourth time.
  • 1500: Walk, a settlement in the heart of Old Livonia that is not fortified, is chosen as the location for town assembly days 36 times up to 1500.
  • 1501: During another raid by Russians the settlement gets burnt down for the fifth time.
  • 1558: During the Livonian War the medieval settlement of Walk is completely destroyed.
  • 1584 11 June: Valga is granted the same charter and byelaws as Riga by Stefan Batory, the King of Poland.
  • 1590 17 April: The King of Poland, Sigismund III Vasa, ratifies the charter for the second time. Valga is granted its city arms.
  • 1600: The first town map, showing 42 house properties. The town is 7 km long and between 0.5 and 0.25 km wide.
  • 1626: After the Polish-Swedish War Valga becomes the subject of Sweden. On 6 March, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden confirms the existing privileges.
  • 1710: As the result of the Great Northern War, Valga is subjected to Russian rule together with the rest of Estonia.
  • 1764 5 October: Empress Catherine II confirms the town's privileges.
  • 1783: The district of Valga is formed during the Regency of Catherine II.
  • 1780: The first stone buildings are erected: a church, a school and county offices.
  • 1789: Land surveyor O.S. Engell drafts the map of Valga showing 76 plots with houses.
  • 1816: The building of St. John's Church is finished.
  • 1876: Walkscher Anzeiger, the first newspaper in Valga, in German, is issued.
  • 1889: Valga Railway Station is opened. On 22 July the Tartu-Valga railway line is officially opened.
  • 1890 16 December: The Valga Temperance Society is founded.
  • 1896: The Pärnu-Valga narrow-gauge railway is opened.
  • 1901 7 December: Together with Latvians, Estonians succeed in winning the elections over Baltic Germans in Valga – the first occasion on Estonian territory. The chemist Johannes Märtson is elected mayor.
  • 1902: In the building of the Temperance Society the social society Säde is founded; Andres Alver, the county medical officer, is elected chairman. The Valga-Marienburg narrow-gauge railway is opened.
  • 1904 22 May: Estonian poet and writer Paul Viiding is born in Valga.
  • 1908 24 June: Estonian military commander Alfons Rebane is born in Valga.
  • 1908: The Girls' Progymnasium is changed into the Gymnasium with Marta Pärna as principal.
  • 1909: The construction of the Säde building is begun (architect Georg Hellat).
  • 1917: A German zeppelin flies over the town and drops forty high-explosive bombs without hitting the main target, the railway station.
  • 1918 11 January: The Council of Delegates of Valga County Workers, Soldiers and Landless Men gains power in the town. On 12 February the German Army occupies Valga.
  • 1919 11 January: The Valga Estonian Gymnasium is opened at 22 Kesk Street. For the first time in the history of secondary education in Valga the teaching language is Estonian instead of German. At the end of January, 107 victims of Bolshevik acts of terror are found in five mass graves around Valga; 67 people are taken away as hostages. On 31 January the Battle of Paju takes place and consequently Valga is freed from the Bolsheviks.
  • 1920 1 July: The British envoy Colonel S. G. Tallents conclusively establishes the border between Estonia and Latvia. Valga proper, as far as Konnaoja and Luke graveyard, remains intact under Estonian rule.
  • 1921 11 February: The decree of the Estonian government establishes the territory of Valga county. Valga becomes a county centre.
  • 1940 17 August: The Soviet occupation begins and with it the mass deportations of Estonians and Latvians from Valga/Valka
  • 1941 9 July: Valga is occupied by German troops.
  • 1944 19 September: In the course of heavy fighting Valga is liberated from the German occupation of Estonia. It is immediately replaced by the Soviet occupation of Estonia.
  • 1988. The Valga Society for the Protection of Antiquities is founded. On 27 November, on the initiative of the Society, the beginning of the War of Liberation is commemorated at the memorial for those killed in the war.
  • 1989 24 February: The first Estonian flag of the re-established independence period is hoisted on the flagpole of 12 Aia Street.
  • 1992 24 May: The Russian army base in Valga is taken over, and later on becomes the border guard's post.
  • 1993 17 October: The first free elections of the municipal council after the restoration of independence take place.
  • 1994 31 January: On the 75th anniversary of the battle of Paju a memorial to it is opened. On 21–25 June, worldwide days of Valga county people take place.

International relations

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Twin towns — Sister cities

Valga, Estonia is twinned with:

External links

  • Valga Linn Official website
  • Valga/Valka Illustrations and detailed descriptions of the border, in the period before Schengen

References

Notes

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