The following text is an extract from a survey by Consumetric OÜ for the non-profit association MTÜ Piiri Peal’s project  “Creating workshops – Stage 1 of Developing a Peipsimaa Visitor Centre for the Estonian Old Believers”.

Peipsimaa

The broader area of influence of the Peipsimaa Visitor Centre is the entire Lake Peipus Area. It is a uniform cultural space and natural area which is marketed by the visitor centre as a travel destination (with the centre positioned as a tourist gateway) within the limits of which the centre offers services (including travel packages).



Peipsimaa’ as a place name and brand



Although the name ‘Peipsiveer’ (“Peipus verge”) has been more widely used since 1996, the place name ‘Peipsimaa’ (“Peipus land”) has deeper historical roots. For example, a noted researcher of the Lake Peipus Area, the ethnographer Alice Moora, used ‘Peipsimaa’ as a translation of the Russian-language Причудь in her much-cited 1964 study Peipsimaa etnilisest ajaloost (“About the Ethnic History of Peipsimaa”). ‘Peipsimaa’ has been used as a place name by other authors, for example Peipsimaa asulad (“The Settlements of Peipsimaa”, Leonid Mihhailov. 2008), in the names of local cultural events (e.g. Peipsmaa Culture Days) and on the website of Estonian Old Believers (www.starover.ee).



The name ‘Peipsimaa’ has a lot of potential from the perspective of tourism development and marketing, because, unlike the name Peipsiveer (which refers to the landscape tracing the shore of Lake Peipus) it has a much wider meaning, pointing to the whole Lake Peipus Area as a unique and uniform cultural space. Additionally, the place name ‘Peipsimaa’ allows developing the concept of a tourism area further from the municipalities directly surrounding the lake, as the definition of the area is not so much geographical as it is cultural-historical. Therefore there are several convincing reasons for a more active use of the place name ‘Peipsimaa’, as a competitive area-specific and inter-county destination brand among other things. As of 2010, partly thanks to the initiative of the Peipsimaa Visitor Centre, the usage of the place name and destination brand ‘Peipsimaa’ has spread in Estonian media and tourism industry.


Peipsimaa: a recommended definition

Peipsimaa as a tourism area can be defined

1) geographically (bordering with Lake Peipus) and

2) cultural-historically (the importance of Lake Peipus in the identity and lives of the native people, historical connections to the Russian Old Believers). Peipsimaa can also be defined from the administrative perspective based on the natural and cultural-historical connections. Based on the proposed administrative definition by the marketing agency Consumetric OÜ, it can be sad that Peipsimaa consists of 18 municipalities within four Estonian counties:

  • Ida-Viru County: Alajõe, Lohusuu, Iisaku, Tudulinna and Avinurme municipalities

  • Jõgeva County: Mustvee town, Torma, Kasepää, Saare, and Pala parishes

  • Tartu County: Alatskivi, Peipsiääre, Piirissaare, Vara, Võnnu and Meeksi parishes, Kallaste town

  • Põlva County: Räpina parish

According to this definition, Peipsimaa borders with Russia from east and with Setomaa from south (the conditional southern border of Peipsimaa is the Võhandu River on the territory of Räpina Parish – it is the historical border between Vana-Võromaa and Setomaa).