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Meelva Village

Meelva or Miilva (local pronunciation) Village is located in Põlva County, in Räpina Rural Municipality. Meelva Village covers an area of 9.81 km2 (3.69 % of the total area of Räpina Rural Municipality). According to the Rural Municipality register there are 76 people living in the Meelva Village (as of 1 August 2012). Twenty-two households are in use all year round (as of 2006).

The first mention of Meelva Village dates back to 1582 (Melwa). Before the Great Northern War there had been an iron smelting business at Meelva Lake, the output of which was also sold to Narva. The company had been established by lawyer Martin Schmidt, who rented the manor houses of Räpina Parish. There is reason to believe that lake or swamp ore was used for iron production, with the first iron factory in Livonia being located near the northern tip of Meelva Lake – in later times the Räpina manor in the list of farms was Hüttimägi (Eisenhütte).

Meelva Village is the birth place of the ancestors of writer Hando Runnel.


The Meelva landscape protection area is located in Põlva County, in the rural municipalities of Räpina and Mooste. The landscape protection area is 2073 hectares. The history of the landscape protection area dates back to 1981, when, amongst other areas, the Meelva bog and Meelva Lake were placed under protection. The current borders were established in 1998. Later, attention was paid to the protected species in the area and Pado Lake. There is one limited management zone and one special management zone established in the landscape protection area. All of the main types of bogs are represented here. The bog, which does not have an even boundary line, is diverse in its terrain. Its creeky bog-pools, which are made especially beautiful by many bog-pool islands, are truly picturesque. The Meelva bog is also a good place for gathering cranberries.

Located in the south-east corner of the bog is the biggest lake in Põlva County – Meelva Lake, the surface area of which is 78.8 ha, with a maximum depth of 3.2 meters, a length of 2650 m and width of 550 m. The north-east part of the lake has a sandy floor and glacial erratics. Meelva Lake is peculiar in that it has a high scientific and terrain value. The ruddy-brown water is acidic and chalybeate. Many rare plankton and other aquatic life forms have been found in the lake. Due to an abundance of birds, the Meelva landscape protection area belongs to internationally important bird areas. At the southern end of Meelva Lake it is possible to pitch a tent and go swimming. Yet, the best swimming area is at the northern end of the lake.

Haudamäe farm offers accommodation services in Meelva Village and rents canoes and boats for fun treks in nature.