Suur Munamägi
Suur Munamägi is the highest peak in Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 (and the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

), reaching 318 metres (1,043.3 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. It is located near the village of Haanja
Haanja is a village in Võru County, in southeastern Estonia. It's located 16 km south from the town of Võru. Haanja is the administrative centre of Haanja Parish. The village had a population of 191 ....

, in Võru County
Võru County
Võrumaa or Võru maakond officially, is a county in Southern Estonia. It is bordered to the north by the Põlva County and the Lake Pihkva; to the west by Valga County; to the south by Latvia; and to the east by the Russian Federation....

 in the south-eastern corner of Estonia, close to the borders of both Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. The landscape around the peak - the Haanja Upland
Haanja Upland
The Haanja Upland is a hilly area of higher elevation in southern Estonia. -Geography:The upland continues into the neighboring Latvia as the Alūksne Upland....

 - is gently hilly.


On the hill, there have been 5 towers. The first tower, built in 1812, is the subject of a folk legend: it was supposedly destroyed because it confused ships headed toward the coast. The second tower was built in 1870 by a local barman. The tower was 8 metres (26.2 ft) high. The tower was pretty popular amongst local people because of its bar. Only 4–5 people fit in the tower and the trees started to ruin the view.

The third tower was built on the same building as the second tower. The tower was built up to 12 metres (39.4 ft).

The fourth tower was built in 1925, when Estonia was an independent state. The tower was built in 3 months and it was 17 metres (55.8 ft) high. The Võru county then built paths for people, cleaned the forest and put benches in front of the tower. The fourth tower was ceremonially opened on 19 July 1925. Soon after that people realized that the wooden tower was old and again the trees started blocking the view — 17 metres was not high enough.

The new fifth tower was built of ferroconcrete in 1939. The tower was made 25.7 metres (84.3 ft) high. It was built of 36 000 bricks and 80 tons of cement which all were carried up to the mountain. The tower was finished in the same year in June but the ceremonial opening was cancelled because of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The tower was not seriously harmed in war and the repair was made in 1955. The Memorial Museum of Fr.R. Kreutzwald that was at that time the owner of the tower, started to modernize the tower and fix its surroundings.
In 1969 the museum built an additional floor on the top of the tower and changed the construction of the stairway on the top floors. The add-on was engineered by Toomas Rein and Veljo Kaasik. The tower was now 29.1 metres (95.5 ft) high. The view from the height of 346.7 metres (1,137.5 ft) is 50 kilometres (31 mi) in radius.

A renovation project of the tower was started in 1998 by Haanja parish. In 1999–2000 Toomas Rein carried it out. In 2002 the piping of the tower was engineered and completed next year. From August 2004 to July 2005 major renovation works were made on Suur Munamägi: the observation tower was renovated, the tower’s elevator and glass café were built, the paths to the tower re-made, the lightning of the pedestrian path and the tower was made. The total cost of the works was ca 10 million kroons
Estonian kroon
In 1992, coins were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, 20 & 50 senti, as well as 1 kroon. The 1 kroon was struck in cupronickel, the others in aluminum-bronze. However, in 1997, nickel-plated steel 20 senti were introduced, followed by aluminum-bronze 1 kroon in 1998. 5 senti coins were not...

. The construction was financed by the EU Phare
The Phare programme is one of the three pre-accession instruments financed by the European Union to assist the applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe in their preparations for joining the European Union....

program, Enterprise Estonia, the Estonian government, Environmental Investment Centre, private supporters and the budget of the parish.

On 24 July 2005 the renovated observation tower of Suur Munamägi was festively opened.

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