Räpina dialect trail

The Räpina dialect belongs to the eastern group of the Võru dialect. The Võru dialect is historically the purest dialect in southern Estonia, which has preserved many archaic features. On the other hand, there are ancient Baltic, Slavic and even Germanic linguistic influences. The Räpina district was at one time the border of three governorates - St Petersburg, Pskov and Livonia. The waterways were the route of frequent traffic between Pskov and Novgorod. As the area was inhabited by a mixture of Võros, Setos, northern Estonians and Russians, the inhabitants often spoke several languages.

Trail map


Museums and heritage centers along the Räpina dialect trail

Räpina Local History and Gardening Museum - The Räpina Local History and Gardening Museum is located in the heart of Räpina Manor, in Sillapää Castle, surrounded by a species-rich park. The museum is located on the first floor of a majestic building dating from the mid-19th century. Its exhibits present Räpina manor and parish, horticultural education and one of the oldest paper mills in Europe.

Räpina Creative House - Räpina Creative House presents the skills and crafts that local people have practised in the past and still do today. The handicrafts and souvenirs corner sells works by local masters: ceramics, stained glass, postcards, scrapbooks and notebooks, textiles, jewellery and much more. A variety of workshops are available for groups by reservation. The exhibition hall will feature works by local artists and authors.


Mooste Folk House - The Folk House, part of the Mooste Manor complex, is a great venue for large events, with a modern sound and light park and video equipment. The Mooste Folk House is a suitable and stylish venue for wedding receptions, and the rooms are also ideal for conferences and corporate events. The historic and stylish hall is a renowned concert venue, hosting a variety of concerts whatever the season. The cosy venue attracts thousands of concertgoers every year.

Other heritage sites along the Räpina dialect trail

Mooste Manor - Mooste Manor was a knight's manor in Põlva parish, Võru County. Nowadays, the former manor village is located in Mooste village in Põlva municipality, Põlva County. Mooste Manor was founded at the end of the 16th century, when the Polish King Stefan Batory fiefdomed the area to the Võnnu County judge Wilhelm Sturtz.

Mooste Manor Mill Theatre - A few hundred metres from the courtyard of Mooste Manor is a centuries-old saw and grain mill. The building was renovated in 2006 and has served as the creative stage for the local village theatre. The theatre auditorium is located in the old flour mill and seats 60 people. The old sawmill building connected to the mill has also been renovated and now houses a museum, an exhibition hall and a party hall for a smaller group. The mill theatre can be used for seminars, parties (with room for up to 50 people), and summer performances in the courtyard. The mill theatre complex also includes a smoke sauna with a capacity of 15 people.

Räpina Flour Mill - Estonia's longest river, the Võhandu River, is full of water and calm when it reaches Räpina, which is why it was probably the most natural place to build a unique mill complex consisting of three mills. The flour mill is a massive stone building with a large winch on the top floor for lifting bags onto a sackboard. The original doors have been preserved, along with a number of details that enhance the overall design. The mill was built at the end of the 18th century.

Räpina Paper Mill – The Räpina Paper Mill is a paper mill in Räpina on the Võhandu River. The mill uses only wastepaper collected in Estonia as raw material. Papers, cardboards, cartons, packaging, art and office supplies are produced. Räpina Paper Mill is the oldest industrial enterprise still in operation in Estonia.

Räpina EELC St Michael's  Parish – The St Michael's  Church is a Lutheran church in Räpina. St Michael's Church was built in 1785. The church combines the late Baroque and early Classicist styles, the walls of the church are made of ore stone and covered with plaster. The front of the church is decorated with allegorical sculptures from the same period, depicting hope and faith. The bell tower is in the Baroque style. The church houses a two-part altarpiece painted by Carl Antropoff in 1871, entitled 'The Appearance of the Resurrection to Mary Magdalene' and 'The Entombment of Jesus'. The church is used by the congregation of the EELC St Michael's congregation in Räpina.

Sillapää castle - Räpina Mäemõisa manor house in late classicist style, popularly known as Sillapää castle, was built in the mid-19th century. With a two-storey central section and wing buildings, the manor house is one of the most magnificent classicist buildings in South Estonia. The manor house is home to the Räpina Local History and Gardening Museum, the Räpina Music School and the Räpina Folk School. Sillapää Castle is surrounded by a manor park (nearly 800 taxa), which can be visited at any time of the year.

Räpina Manor Park - Räpina Park is located on the banks of the picturesque Võhandu River, with Sillapää Castle at its centre. The manor park, together with the park around the Räpina School of Horticulture, covers an area of 8.5 ha. The park is home to nearly 600 species of trees and bushes, 60 species of birds and 7 species of bats. The park is mixed-style, with English, French and woodland sections. The park was completed by Baron Peter von Sivers in 1856. The park was designed according to the principles of the famous Baltic German gardener Walter Engelhardt.  

Lake Meelva and swamp - Lake Meelva or Mulva Lake is located in the Meelva Landscape Reserve, 8 km northwest of Räpina. The lake covers an area of 78.7 ha, has a maximum depth of 3.2 m, a length of 2,650 m and a width of 550 m. The lake is located in the Mälva district. Lake Meelva is surrounded by marshland to the west and south, with higher ground to the north and east. Lake Meelva is drained by the Toolamaa stream, which flows into the Võhandu.

Leevaku hydroelectric power station - The Leevaku hydroelectric power station is located in the village of Leevaku, Räpina municipality, Põlva County, on the Võhandu River. The power station was in operation from 1917 to 1968 and has been in operation again since 1993.