|— Town and municipality —|
|• Mayor||Georg Pelisaar|
|• Total||5.5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,100/km2 ( 2,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Area code(s)||(+372) 799|
Põlva is the capital of Põlva County (Estonian: Põlvamaa), one of 15 counties of Estonia. The county is situated in south-eastern part of the country and borders Tartu, Valga and Võru counties. It is famous for the Intsikurmu Song Festival Grounds held every year in a small forested area on the west side of the town, which regularly hosts concerts and summer activities.
The first mention of Põlva as a settlement dates from 1452, in the 13th century. The name originates from the Estonian word for knee (põlv), although its origin is not entirely clear. Legend has it that a girl was immured in a kneeling position in St. Mary's Church to keep the devil away. This is reputedly how the town was named.
Põlva was an old military crossroad between the north and south of Livonia. Around 1240, shortly after the Christianization of Estonia, the Bernardine monks built a church order, which they dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The village church was subordinate to the Bishopric of Dorpat. The same parish was the result of the Livonian war under Russian domination in the 16th Century. In 1582 it became part of the southern Estonia under Polish sovereignty, and later it belonged to Sweden. In 1721, in the Treaty of Nystad, Estonia and Livonia were then ceded to Russia.
Only with the political independence of Estonia in 1918 Põlva gained national importance. The town grew larger around the artificial lake Põlva, whose sandy shores are crowded with vacationers during summertime. The town was developed around St. Mary's Church, which lay in ruins for a long time until it was rebuilt after the Great Northern War. In 1931 the railway from Tartu–Põlva to St. Petersburg was completed. On 10 August 1993 Põlva awarded its town charter. Partner city is the Swedish Vårgårda in Västergötland.
Local Governing 
The local governing of consist of two parts:
The council consists of 17 members elected on 18 October 2009 by local votings. The government consists of 5 members that were elected by the council on 20 November 2009. Tarmo Tamm, who was the mayor of Põlva for more than 11 years, went to the parliament in April 2011. Since 11 May 2011 the mayor is Georg Pelisaar.
Põlva has 3 schools, student data as of 1 January 2009:
- Põlva Coeducational Gymnasium, which has 737 students.
- Põlva Secondary School, which has 387 students.
- Põlva Roosi School, which has 28 students. This school is for mentally impaired children.
- Official site of the parliament of Estonia, Retrieved 24.04.11 (Estonian)
- An interview with Tarmo Tamm, where he states that he worked as mayor for 11,5 years, Retrieved 24.04.11 (Estonian)
- "Georg Pelisaar was elected to be the mayor of Põlva", Retrieved 12.05.11 (Estonian)
- This article is based on the translation of the corresponding article of the German Wikipedia. A list of contributors can be found there at the History section.