Large number of settlements become towns

to map


In 1938, president Päts decided to simplify Estonian administrative division and abolish boroughs, naming them towns. The decision fit well with the 20th anniversary of the Republic. All together, 14 boroughs received new status. Aside boroughs, some larger settlements asked the privileges to be granted to them, e.g. Abja-Paluoja, but their requests were not met at that time. Võõpsu borough in Võrumaa almost made it to town status, but the fire in 1937 destroyed most of the settlement, and its status was decreased.
New towns were: Antsla, Elva, Jõgeva, Jõhvi, Keila, Kilingi-Nõmme, Kunda, Kärdla, Mustla, Mustvee, Mõisaküla, Sindi and Suure-Jaani.

In the Middle Ages, a vassal fort had stood in Antsla; later Hauka borough rose as the local center, which in 1920 was renamed to Antsla borough. The settlement grew mainly thanks to the railway.

Elva formed as a summer resort after the Tartu-Riga railway line had been constructed in the end of the XIX century. In 1923, it became a borough and on May 1, 1938, a town.

Jõgeva also has the railway to thank, it became a borough in 1919, and received the town privileges on May 1, 1938.

There was probably a settlement in Jõhvi already during the prehistoric era, later it stood as a parish center. The settlement began to expand in the XVIII century, after a post route had been constructed through the settlement. A century later, the railway came. Jõhvi became a borough in 1917, and a town 21 years later. Jõhvi was the first industrial town in Eastern Virumaa, that received the town privileges, and only town that got them before the WWII.

Kallaste was the main settlement of the Old Believers of the Russian Orthodox church on the shores of Peipsi Lake. In 1921, it became a borough.

Keila stood on its place already during the prehistoric era, and grew into a trade settlement during the Middle Ages, but was devastated in the Livonian War. It did not expand until a railway line was built there. In 1925, the settlement became a borough and on May 1, 1938, a town.

Kilingi-Nõmme settlement formed around a local inn; in the XIX century, a railway line was built. In 1919, it became a borough and on April 19, 1938, a town.

Kunda settlement was founded due to the cement factory, that was built in 1870. In 1920, the workers settlement became a borough, and on May 1, 1938, a town.

Kärdla became a town because of a factory that produced rough woolen material.

By the beginning of the XX century, Mustla had grown to one of the most important centers of South-Eastern Viljandimaa, and thus it was decided to grant it town privileges in 1938. During the Soviet era, its privileges were removed, and in 1979 degraded even further.

Mustvee was the largest fishing village near Peipsi Lake in the XIX century. In 1921, it became a borough.

Mõisaküla formed only thanks to the railway, in the end of the XIX century. By 1930, more than 2000 people were living there, double than in year 2000, when the railway connection was cut. After 1938, search for a name began, because the word "village" ("külaW) should not be in the name of a town, but it was not changed before 1940, and the plan was neglected during the Soviet era.

Sindi settlement formed around a textile factory during the XIX century. In 1921, it became a borough. Also Sindi's name was to be changed, as it had been derived from the name of a Baltic German counselor of Pärnu, Carl Zindt, but the Soviet occupation was established before the change could be made.

Suure-Jaani was a parish center in Northern Viljandimaa, that by the beginning of XX century, had grown into a borough.


You have finished watching the story. You can play the story again or close it and choose new stories from story selection menu. You can watch up to three stories simultaneously

You can choose up to three stories, if you wish to change choosen stories, please uncheck previous selections

Choose stories



  • maja