Sillapää Village

Sillapää Village is located in Põlva County, in Räpina Rural Municipality. Sillapää Village covers an area of 4.62 km2 (1.74 % of the total area of Räpina Rural Municipality). According to the rural municipality register there are 153 people living in Sillapää Village (as of 1 August 2012). Forty-seven households are in use all year round (as of 2006).

Räpina manor was established in the immediate vicinity of Sillapää Village, and therefore the history of the manor and the history of the village are closely connected. So much so that the local people refer to the Räpina manor house as Sillapää Castle.

Sillapää Village was first mentioned in written records in 1582, when it was written down as Syllapa. The first written mention of Räpina watermill dates back to 1601 and 1627. The land was seriously ravaged in the Swedish-Polish war at the beginning of the 17th century, and it is thought that many farmers escaped from the war to Russia. According to data from 1677, there were 412 or 413 families in Räpina. At the end of the Swedish times, the manor was rented to Gieden Schmidt, who traded with his own and Russian peasants. Seeding data for Räpina manor 1680/1681: 230 tons of rye, 130 tons of barley, 50 tons of oats, 4 tons of summer wheat, 2 tons of peas, 5 tons of flax, 5 tons of buckwheat.

Räpina manor was nationalised in 1919, and it operated as a state manor until 1922. Sillapää settlement was formed after 1922, when the manor land was divided into homesteads. Before World War II there were 29 homesteads in Sillapää settlement, with 15 of these located along the Kuuksi road.

Before the Soviet forces moved in, the residents of the village were mainly peasants. The peasants supported each-other greatly. The village was also partly located on the current territory of Räpina Town. The town has divided the village into two parts: one towards Sülgoja and the other towards Võru. The two parts are connected by the Siima farm.

Over time, Sillapää Village has had to retreat from the growing Räpina Town. There are summer houses on many former farm lands and, in part, the land is covered by the test gardens of the Räpina Gardening School and companies active in gardening

Most people in the village are educated and many go to Räpina Civic Centre for singing or folk dancing, or participate in the work of the orchestra.

Lepistu cemetery, located in Sillapää Village, has historically been the final resting place of the members of the Räpina congregation of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church. It was established by the Orthodox Church in 1834. The Räpina landlord designated 800 square fathoms for the purpose of the cemetery. In 1855, the area was filled and the landlord designated another 800 square fathoms. In 1911, a stone chapel was built at the cemetery

Sights

Meteorite crater at Tsõõrikmäe. In terms of the ratio of the density of meteorite craters to surface, Estonia is sure to hold the top spot amongst the countries of the world. Tsõõrikmägi Hill, near Räpina Town, got its name from the unevenly round hollow with steep brinks in the middle of the hill. The crater dates back to the period after the ice age. Scientists believe that it might be 9,500-10,000 years old. The circular dike of the crater is 38-40 meters in circumference, its ridge is broad (mostly 5-10 m), slowly becoming shallower to the outside.

In large part one of the best known old avenues – pine tree avenue, which in its heyday stretched from the Sillapää Castle to the Rahumäe manor house – is found on the territory of Sillapää Village. The avenue is one of the best, most completely preserved plantings from that period around Räpina. The exact time of the creation of the avenue is not known, and no research has been made in order to scientifically determine the age of the avenue. Yet, it is thought that the avenue was planted after the Sillapää Castle was built; therefore in the beginning of the 19th century. The avenue is best viewed in Sillapää Village, at the beginning of the Räpina-Võru Highway. The circumferences of the remaining trees are over 2 meters and heights around 15 meters.

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