Jõhvi

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By Ivo Kruusamägi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 ee, https://commons.wikimedia.org
By Ivo Kruusamägi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 ee, https://commons.wikimedia.org
Johvi is a town in East Estonia. It is situated at the most important transport hub of the north-eastern-most county in Estonia, Ida-Virumaa. Understand : Due to its location at the border of the country, Ida-Virumaa, or Alutaguse, has been the site of many wars. The most important architectural monument in Johvi is a mighty Gothic fortress built in the 13th century. In the Middle Ages, it was surrounded by a rampart and a ditch. Now, a museum for Johvi’s fortress church is located in the vaulted cellars. As a typical merchant center, Johvi town grew around a market place, which was surrounded by a tavern, post office, shops, an inn, banks and, since 1895, a Russian Orthodox church. All the roads leading to the town met at the market place, right in front of the post office. Today, a symbolic direction sign which shows distances to places from Rome to Moscow, and to all of Johvi’s friendship towns, marks this place. In 1917, in the midst of a revolutionary period, Johvi was recognised as a borough, and in 1938 it was recognised as a town. At the same time, with the development of the oil shale industry, the town grew into a metropolitan centre.

During World War II, the historic centre of Johvi was badly damaged.Due to its convenient location, Johvi became the county centre as early as 1949. Now, besides the county government offices, most of the central institutions for the region have moved to the town, and the regional offices of many large companies are also found here. Johvi has become the business and financial centre of Ida-Viru county. Rapid development has given the town a youthful life style . The heart of cultural life in today’s Johvi is the concert hall and culture and hobby centre, which are to be opened in October 2005 , Today 70,000 people in total live within a couple of dozen kilometres of the city..

Access : Coordinates: 59.3575, 27.426944 / By bus or train : A railway and a highway connecting Tallinn to Saint Petersburg pass through the town. It is also part of the Johvi-Tartu-Riga highway. In this county, all roads lead to Johvi, as this is the only way to cross the county from one side to the other.

1 Railway station, Jaama 21 (300 meters west of the city centre). The platform does not have a shed. The post-war buildung is closed and threatened by demolition. Twice a day trains pass through and stop here. From Tallinn 2 hours, from Narva 35 min.
2 Johvi Bus Station, Narva mnt. 8. M–F 07:30–20:00, Sa-Su 08–20:00. Buses from Tallinn (2-3 hr) and from Narva (1 hr) stop every half an hour on their way to Narva, Tallinn or Tartu, respectively. The station is also a shopping centre. The roof is simultaneously a canopy over the aprons, which is very uncommon for Estonia. Inside is a tiny hall with cash desks and several shops, like the well-known R-kiosk (M–F 08–20:00, Sa-Su 09–17:00). In one of the “legs” of the building, a small cafe with pies, chebureks, shish kebabs and pizza (M–F 08–19:00, Sa 08–17:00, Su 09–17:00). Bus and train schedules are easily available online

By car :  By car along the route #1 from Tallinn (160 km) and Narva (50 km), or from Tartu on the route #3 (130 km)

Get around : Johvi is a small town with a few cumbersome attractions that you might not need to go anywhere to inspect them. Local transport in Johvi is shared with its neighbour Kohtla-Jarve. Their buses go mostly along Rakvere road, crossing the railway and finishing somewhere on the way towards Tartu.

Attractions : St. Michael Church and Stronghold (Johvi Mihkli kirik), Rakvere 6 . Built in 13th century, this Lutheran Gothic Church is the oldest building in Johvi and the largest one-vaulted one in Estonia. Like other examples in this region that have turned rural churches into small castles with bastions and towers, also this church was boasted for defensive purpose. Inside it is pretty with lots of carved wooden ornaments and two organs at once, which can be played simultaneously. However, this is seldom and only during special concerts. Furthermore, a museum is opened in cellar of the church.
2 Museum, Rakvere 6 . Tu–Sa 11–16:00. Located right in the basement of St. Michael Church. History and archaeology are presented, basically on the church itself and its defensive function.
3 Epiphany Church, Narva mnt. 2a. This Orthodox Church was built in 1895 and is of modernist style by the standards of that time – large grey cobbles, fastened with a brick “frame”. The local rector of the 1950s was the future patriarch Alexy II.
4 Town Hall, Narva mnt. 2a. The Town Hall of Johvi is one of the examples of adaptation of Stalinist style into local architecture. A disgustingly dull grey building, crowned with a white turret, clearly borrowed from the Tallinn Town Hall and somehow animating the landscape.

5 Windmill (behind the cemetery and slightly south of the interchange). An authentic windmill in the middle of the area west of Johvi.
6 Cemetery, Rakvere tn. Here you can see the chapel of 1798, built in an ascetic style. It looks more like a barn from the outside. At the far end of it, there is the mass grave of Soviet soldiers and accompanying memorial with sickle and hammer.
7 The Iron Hedgehog / Monument to the hedgehog (Raudne Siil), Rakvere tn 13a (next to the Tourist Information Centre). A hedgehog made of scrap metal. It either symbolizes the purity of the city (according to the official version), or perpetuates a fragment of the epic story about Kalevipoeg, where the hedgehog prompted the hero on how best to beat the enemies, receiving his prickly coat as rewards. The mythical grave of Kalevipoeg is located not far from Johvi.

Activities : Walk around and try to imagine the described importance of this town in the past.
8 Johvi Concert Hall (Johvi kontserdimaja), Pargi 40 (behind the railway) . Johvi is the home of Estonia’s newest concert hall, offering the best opportunities. It opened in 2005. Its two concert halls, Grand hall seating 836 (can be changed to 926) and the other 170 people, have been furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. They are suitable for classical and rock concerts, theatre performances and exhibitions, receptions and balls, seminars and international conferences. The chamber hall has the newest cinema equipment. In addition, the house has four seminar rooms of different sizes for training, seminars and meetings. There is no limit to the usage options of the concert hall, except for the organiser’s imagination. During the season, from autumn to spring, on average one or two concerts a week take place in the Johvi Concert Hall. During the summer season we also organise several concerts at other beautiful locations throughout Ida-Viru county. Thus, on 15–22 July, the traditional festival “Music of Seven Towns” will take place this year for the eighth time, with concerts both in the concert hall and all over Ida-Viru county. edit
1 City Stadium, Pargi 1 (near the Concert Hall). The stadium is the home of the Lokomotiv football club, which plays in the Estonian Premier League.

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Go next : Narva / Sillamae / Pussi / Rakvere / Tartu / Kuremae / Mustvee

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