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Ristipalo Village

Ristipalo Village is located in Põlva County, in Räpina Rural Municipality. Ristipalo Village covers an area of 6.02 km2 (2.26 % of the total area of Räpina Rural Municipality). According to the rural municipality register there are 260 people living in Ristipalo Village (as of 1 August 2012), which means it is smaller only than Linte Village. Twenty-seven households are in use all year round (as of 2006).

Ristipalo Village has previously been known under the name Lokuta. Ristipalo served as a battle ground in the Great Northern War. The hill known as Puškinamäe received its name for having been the location of the placement of the Russian canons. Before the Narva battle, Russian forces that had come from Pechory also conquered Räpina but later had to retreat from there. The Swedish attempt to conquer Pechory was unsuccessful. When in 1701 Carl XII took his main forces to capture Riga, B. P. Šeremetev from Livonia tried to seize the initiative. The head office of W. A. Schlippenbach was in Kirumpää. Räpina was one of the Swedish strongholds. On 4 September 1701 an 1100-man Russian force attacked 500 Swedish soldiers near Räpina. The Swedish were trying to hold on to the passage over the Võhandu River. The Swedish, led by Major A. L. Rosen, lost 300 men Although the Russians were beaten at Rõuge and Kasaritsa, Major-General Schlippenbach retreated to Erastvere after losing Räpina. The war destroyed the Räpina church, manor buildings and even some villages. The destruction was supported by the plague.

Around 1710, the Rashkolniks, persecuted in Russia, came over and settled here. They received permission to do so from general governor A. D. Mensikov. A hermitage was established and, along with the deserters that sought refuge here, the fields were cultivated and fishing was started. But after some time Peter I made Count Jagubinski the feudal lord over these lands and the Count resold the manor. When the hermitage was searched in order to catch the deserters, the monks also left.

Lokuta Village (currently Ristipalo Village) is the birth place of poet and household researcher Hennu Hirmo (born 25 January 1909, died 20 October 1987, buried in the Ristipalo cemetery). He published a small poetry book “Ajahammas” (the Scythe of Time), in 1976-77, and “Mälestusi Võõpsust” (Memories of Võõpsu), 1858-1983.

Ristipalo is the home of the centre of the former exemplary forest enterprise. Until 1966, the forest enterprise, established in 1947, was named Veriora; later it was named Räpina Metsamajand (Räpina Forest Enterprise). Currently there is a school in Ristipalo providing forest education, the South-East Office of the State Forest Management Centre, and a boarding house.


In the village there is the Ristipalo cemetery, which was opened to Lutherans in 1848, and where many families of the Räpina region are buried.

Ristipalo burial mounds area located in the forest next to Ristipalo cemetery. Above the burial mounds, along the road, there are two ancient Ristipalo pine trees. The burial mounds date back to the second half of the first millennium.

In Lokuta Village, to the right of the Räpina-Võõpsu Road, there is a decorative pine tree growing. Under nature conservation, the tree has a circumference of 4.35 m and a height of 28 m.

The birch avenue of Võõpsu Highway

After World War II, tree-lined avenues were once again planned in Estonia. Between 1950 and 1960 much attention was paid to the gentrification of towns and other urbanised areas, since that allowed for the removal of war wounds from the landscape at a relatively quick pace. The first project of this larger gentrification campaign around Räpina, was the birch alley of the Võõpsu highway. The trees were planted from the edge of Räpina until the Ristipalo cemetery. Tiina Tallinn writes in a book published in 2011, Räpina aiad ja pargid” (Gardens and Parks of Räpina) about the planting of the birch avenue along Võõpsu Highway. “In the autumn of 1959, four hundred trees were dug out of the young birch wood growing on the territory of Orava state farm and left to wait the freezing of the land in their growth wholes together with the soil balls. At the end of the same year, these same 5-6-meter high trees were brought to the Võõpsu Highway and put in holes already dug in the autumn as well. In the spring, when the earth had melted, the soil was made dense in the planting holes and the trees were braced. Such winter planting had not been taken up before in these parts and the people living nearby laughed at it as another Soviet oddity. And so the avenue got its nickname amongst the local people – “Võõüsu prospect”. Yet, the birches rooted well and the avenue, at the time designed to be pompous, has allowed for the road to be widened, when necessary. In 2009, a light traffic road was built along the alley.”