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Naha Village

Naha Village is located in Põlva County, in Räpina Rural Municipality. Naha Village covers an area of 12.00 km2 (4.51 % of the total area of Räpina Rural Municipality). According to the Rural Municipality register there are 117 people living in Naha Village (as of 1 August 2012). Forty-two households are in use all year round (as of 2006).

When driving from Tartu County through Meeksi Rural Municipality towards Räpina, then the first village in Räpina Rural Municipality is the Village of Naha. It is a border village; once having belonged to Meeksi Rural Municipality. On the side of the road, approximately 4-5 km to the left, is Lake Peipus. Continuing to Räpina, on the right side, behind farms and fields, are the Kalsa Woods; on the left side are the Variku Woods. At Keskküla Village, the fields have pushed the woods rather far off, especially towards Lake Peipus.

According to tradition, only 70 years ago there were 100 houses in the village. Today there area around 100 people living there.

Naha Village can be considered to be an enterprising village: many farms in the village are active in business, the land is cultivated and used both by the farmers of the village itself and of neighbouring villages.

The school has been of significant value to the village. Yet, Naha Primary School was closed in 2008. The school house was built by the farmers of Naha Village in 1937, and it is located in the middle of the village, on the left side of the highway. Currently the house is used by the Naha Village Society. There are many busy farms cultivating vegetables or active in other farming in the village.

Well-known people hailing from Naha Village include library scholar and bibliographer Friedrich Puksoo (1890-1969). During the period of the Republic of Estonia, from 1920 until the time of World War II, he managed the library of the University of Tartu. Under his guidance, the library started to become one of the best known scientific libraries in Europe. On Puksoo’s proposal and initiative, library sciences became a field taught at the university. Puksoo was eager to study the history of Estonian books, and much of his research remains uncontested to this day. Later book scholars have highly praised his research “Raamat ja tema sõbrad” (“Book and its Friends”), which the author dedicated to his wife. The text encourages Estonians to collect books, amongst other things, and to build their own home libraries. During World War II, the university library was not destroyed, and it also escaped the fate of deportation to Germany. This had much to do with the work of Puksoo. But during the Soviet period his work was not valued to the deserved degree. Many scientists and researchers had to pass over his research without paying any attention to it or giving it a mention. Only when Estonia was about to regain its independence did Puksoo once again become a subject that was more openly talked about, and his work became valued. The 100th anniversary of his birth was openly and extensively celebrated. Ranna collective farm started to support the issuing of an award named after Puksoo. This award was handed over in Naha Village, in the house in which Puksoo was born. Unfortunately, this tradition has since been broken – only a memorial tablet remains on the wall of the house.