Twin towns Valka and Valga celebrate their anniversary

  • 2011-06-08
  • By Sam Logger

Siamese twins: For four days two provincial towns will be at the center of attention.

RIGA - Every birthday is a special moment in life. However, when it comes down to the birthday of a town all inhabitants and visitors can enjoy this celebration like their own. Another major party is placed in the twin towns Valka and Valga, which celebrate their 427th anniversary from June 9 – 12.

There is obviously no other Latvian town which can find its brother in a completely different state. Thus, the town of Walk, which gained the city rights in 1584 from the Polish king Stefan Batory, can now be easily called as the town with two various mentalities, but still united by their destiny. Today, when borders between the Schengen countries are open, the Southern Estonian town Valga and Northern Latvian town Valka make their relations even tighter and bind both national features together. The annual town celebration is not an exception in 2011 too!

Valka and Valga invite everybody to the biggest event in the region at this stage of summer. And possibly they have every right to think so. The party schedule is just as diverse as the two mentalities of the historical Walk, and it has to be said that none of the guests must feel dissatisfied. Whether there is a wish to demonstrate the knitting talent on the Latvian/Estonian border or a desire to participate in the logging competition near the Culture and Interest Center of Valga, the visitors will find themselves drawn into an interesting celebration where all activities are formed to attract children, youngsters and adults. For four days Valka and Valga will become a destination to everyone who’s interested in the arts and crafts or who is ready to dance and sing along in various concerts across two towns.

There are some activities which need to be attended during the celebration. On June 10, first flower festivity will take place to honor the 725th anniversary of the very first mentioning of Valka in historical sources.  Thus, visitors are also invited to join in this project by laying their flowers in the square of Lugazi to shape the old name ‘Walk.’ It will definitely symbolize the obedience to the town’s roots and the unity of both Valka and Valga in the future. On June 12 the main motto of the day is – athletic Sunday together with the family. And the schedule shows that the sports will really be in the front of any other activity in the celebration. Those who like the sound of the engine will gladly appraise the competition of the mopeds, while the boat rally, raffling the waters of the river Pedele, welcomes all kinds of water transport without engine. 

Still – what does make this birthday party so unique? It is easy to acknowledge the importance of such a celebration if we take a look from a different angle. Firstly, there is a great possibility to feel the country feeling, despite the fact that the overall population of Valka and Valga is nearly 20,000 people. Everyone who has ever been to one of those towns sees the improvements in the infrastructure and architecture, but it still seems that they honor their country vibe a bit more than they cherish the modern wonders of technologies. And that truly makes people be happier and connected to nature which can hardly be done in the biggest cities of both Latvia and Estonia. The country feeling reflects the peace and no rush, and suddenly the time goes slower. Secondly, as mentioned before, this celebration gives a chance to see how the two sides of the ancient Walk try to create this collaboration from new. Today it is possible to start your journey in one town and end it in the other without noticing it, because the border line between the two states is so integrated in the surrounding environment that it can easily stay unspotted.

Beautiful nature and diverse cultural heritage explains the story of one town and two states... Or it tells about the two towns with one history. Whatever it may be, the celebration will gather people from everywhere, because the towns deserve it.