The twin-town ValgaValka is located at the southern border of Estonia and the northern border of Latvia. Valga is the administrative centre of Valga Municipality and Valka is the administrative centre of Valka Municipality. Despite its small size ValgaValka reaches two countries, boasting two languages and cultures making the town an interesting holiday destination. Where else could you stand, one foot in one country, holding “jäätis” (ice cream in Estonian) in your left hand and other foot in another country, holding “saldejums” (ice cream in Latvian) in your right hand?
ValgaValka is like one town, but in the same time it is not although the history of the two sides of the city is closely connected. The inhabitants of Valga and Valka were separated from each other due to times when the town was allocated by the border.
Since 2005 Valga and Valka have agreed for cooperation in education, culture, sport, health, environment and tourism. The common slogan of Valga and Valka is „1 City, 2 States” to acknowledge both cities as one for its inhabitants regardless of their nationality and whether they live South or North of the Estonian – Latvian border. The slogan was created to celebrate the 420thbirthday of the towns.
Recent years have strengthened the relationship between Valga and Valka, the two halves of the same town and there are several projects to encourage ValgaValka to evolve into a complete town again. Perhaps the best example of this kind of cooperation between the two cities is the beautiful scenic walking track by Pedeli river, much loved by morning runners, with a family-friendly beach, playgrounds, rollerblading and cycling roads.
Now two cities are developing common central area called ValgaValka Twin Town Centre. The main goal of the project is to create an attractive, cosy and unique common public space. By organizing different events, common fairs, markets and celebrating the anniversaries together it’s possible to break the border in peoples’ mind and to promote joint ventures and cooperation. Also, consistent and traditional events are creating a feeling of longevity and the true identity of ValgaValka for the local people.