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Rapla is a town in central Estonia, the administrative centre of Rapla County and Rapla Parish. It has a population of 5,618 (as of 1 January 2008). The oldest records date back to 1241 in the Danish Census Book, when it was said that it was a small village with 8 acres of cultivated fields. By the end of the 13th century the village centre was firmly established. At around the same time a Cistercian monastery was built.
Rapla's ambitious period of fast growth began only in the late 19th century. In 1866 a pharmacy was built, in 1868 a school, and in 1888 a hospital. In 1898 a Brick factory was opened and in 1900 a railway line was built between Rapla and Viljandi. The old stone church was demolished in the late 19th century and a new one was built in a new style. It was built in a Romanesque style, one of the purest examples of this style in all of Estonia.
In 1913 Rapla consisted of around 20 stone and 60 wooden houses. During this time period a number of social societies were established, such as the Volunteer Fire Company, the Song and Music Society, the Society of Agriculture, a Mutual Fire Insurance Company, a Consumer Association, and the Deposit Insurance Fund. In 1931 a gauge railway[clarification needed] from Rapla to Virtsu opened. It was in use until 1968.