Traffic sign number 642 – a living symbol of cultural history
Please contact ENM's head archivist TIINA TAEL with all comments and observations regarding historic parish boundary signs (e.g. traffic sign (is) broken, misplaced, etc.).
Tiina Tael, head archivist, ENM 7350 420.
The Estonian regional identity is still based on parishes. Our whole older cultural layer (dialects, folklore, material culture, etc.) is divided by parishes. All our folk songs and national costumes originate from different parishes. Even nowadays people are buried in parish cemeteries. Marking historical cultural areas strengthens the regional identity of Estonians and thereby also contributes to conservation of indigenous settlements in different regions. Moreover, this also provides necessary information for visitors of the region.
The marking of parish, i.e. historical cultural boundaries is a national social initiative project (that was) launched to celebrate Estonian National Museum's 100th birthday.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves opened the first boundary sign on the 14th of April 2009, on ENM's 100th birthday, on the Luunja bridge on Tartu-Räpina-Võru road, which marks the border of Tartu-Maarja and Võnnu parishes.
The locations of different parish boundaries were determined by ENM's voluntary working group comprising/consisting of Kaido Kama, Evar Saar, Raivo Aunap, Toomas Kiho, Peeter Päll and Jüri Jagomägi. The name forms were agreed with the Council of Place Names of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The traffic signs indicating parish boundaries were installed/placed/set up during 2009 and 2010 by regional offices of the Road Administration. In cooperation with the map publisher Regio, Estonian National Museum, Eesti Päevaleht and Go Reisiajakiri, an Estonia-wide map of parishes was completed in October 2009.
In total, there were plans to install 1214 parish signs on national roads. The aim of the signs was to give people travelling on these roads a general idea about the parish boundaries in nature. Smaller roads, where the boundaries were not as exact, were left out. Major roads such as the old Võru-Tartu postal road were planned to be marked quite precisely. In Northern Estonia, all crossings of national roads and parish boundaries would be marked; in Western Estonia, a few places/crossings would be left unmarked, and in South-East Estonia, most of the less important roads would not be marked.
By the end of 2010, the northern regional office of the Road Administration had installed 248, the eastern office198, the western office 338, and the southern office 300 boundary signs. Unfortunately, due to lack of funds, the southern regional office (including Jõgeva, Tartu, Valga, Põlva and Võru counties) was unable to install/place/set up more than a hundred of the planned boundary posts on national gravel roads. Thus, in the aforementioned/above mentioned counties the project has still not been finished and the parish boundaries have not been properly marked.
However/Nevertheless, the traffic sign 642 has already several years guided the travellers and supported the locals on most national roads. In some places, the signs may even (already) need a makeover. Please contact ENM's head archivist TIINA TAEL with all comments and observations regarding historic parish boundary signs (e.g. the traffic sign is broken, misplaced, etc.).