Jõgeva town was born 130 years ago, thanks to the Tapa-Tartu railway: this is where the first train stopped and a village formed around the railway station. Just half a century later, Jõgeva earned its town rights.
Since then, the growth of Jõgeva has slowed down a little – but although the population isn’t increasing, the number of cultural events taking place in Jõgeva seems to go up every year. Most of these events are targeted at younger people and Estonian students:
- The festival year in Jõgeva starts with a music festival dedicated to the tragic Estonian composer Alo Mattiisen
- In June, around mid-summer’s day, when Estonia enjoys its white nights, Jõgeva town organises its “Helisev Suveöö” (“Sound of a Midsummer Night”) festival, when music can be enjoyed all over the town, including in private gardens.
- In July, the annual bikers reunion Jõgevatreff takes place – this motorcycle and bikers event lasts for days and its culmination is a bike parade through the town.
- The last Saturday in August completes the summer period with an annual garlic festival – don’t be intimidated by its name, there is plenty to see and do even if you are not a garlic enthusiast. Enjoy the fair and its concerts and buy local handicraft, home made gourmet food and hand made bread as souvenirs.
- The festival year ends with the national poetry days, “Tähetund” (StarHour), dedicated to the Estonian poet, Betti Alver. Most Estonian actors say that Betti Alver poetry days were among their very first public performances.
Rich cultural scenery is not the only perk in Jõgeva. In Estonia, Jõgeva town is sometimes referred to as the “local Lapland” and there are quite good reasons for it: for a start, this is where most of our coldest weather has been recorded and Külmasammas, a Cold Statue by the Piibe highway carries two of those statistics (-37,6 from 2003 and -43,5 from 1940). Secondly, this is the headquarters of the Estonian Santa Claus, Jõuluvana. Take your children to see the true Santa Claus – his shop is open throughout the year and letters sent to the Jõuluvana Postkontor (Santa Claus Post Office in Jõgeva) will all be replied to, if you have given your return address!
The Kassinurme Fortress and sacred grove attract visitors who are interested in history and mythology. The Kassinurme area has been inhabited for over 7000 years and a fragment of the fortress dating back 2 to 3 thousand years ago has been restored for the public to see. History and war history enthusiasts hold Kassinurme grove area dear to their hearts and re-enactments of historic war games, celebrations of traditional folk events and old traditions take place here. The Kassinurme hiking trail around the fortress and grove area is ideal for those looking for some peace and quiet amid nature.
Be sure to drop by the Jõgeva Tourist Information Centre, located in the municipal offices of Jõgeva county – they have maps of the area, fresh information about coming events and tips for travelling around the county to make the best of your visit in Jõgeva.