Tapa is a town in Tapa parish, Lääne-Virumaa, Estonia. Located at
the junction of the Tallinn-Narva (West-East) and
Tallinn-Tartu-Valga (North-South) railway lines, it is an important
transit center for cargo (mainly Russian oil and timber) as well as
railway passengers (mainly Estonian passengers ). Home to soldiers
since the 1930s, Tapa also plays an important role in the training
of young men and women in the Estonian Defense Forces. The Valgejõgi
River runs through Tapu from the north-east.
Tapa developed as a village probably in the 13-14 centuries. It was first mentioned in 1482 and the Tapa Knight Estate (Taps) in 1629. Tapa was officially recognized as a city in 1926. In October 2005, the city merged with the municipalities of Lehce Parish, Saksi Parish and Jäneda Parish to form Tapa Parish.
The Tapa Museum was opened on June 10, 2004. The museum, in 1934, a two-story house, collects and exhibits objects, including photographs and documents related to the history and culture of Tapa. All items in the museum reflect the soul of tapa residents, past and present. Temporary exhibits mark significant days in tapa history and show the hobbies of the city's residents. The permanent collection presents Tapu as a railroad, military and sausage town.
Throughout the history of Tapa, civil and
religious institutions flourished between the depot and the military
base. At the services on December 2, 2007, the first Sunday of
Advent, the Congregation of St. James Lutheran Church celebrated its
The temporary prayer house was dedicated in Tapa on June 19, 1921 by the first Bishop of INPP Jaak Kukk. It was named after the apostle John. St. James was dedicated on November 27, 1932, the first Sunday of Advent. August Tauk or Anatoly Podchekaev - the architect of the neo-historical stone church. The altar, called "The Joyful Christ" or "Come to Me", was painted by the Russian icon painter Olga Obolyaninova. The church was renovated in 1953–55 and 1972–74.
On June 10, 2007, Tapa Baptist Church celebrated its 75th anniversary. The church was founded on June 12, 1932, and Philip Hildemann was its first pastor. In 1940, when Gottfried Palias was pastor (1933–45), services moved to the Methodist building of Tapa Church. In 1980, when Dmitry Lipping was pastor (1976–92), he purchased a building at 1 Kooli Street for Sunday School and other youth programs. In November 2003, it changed its name to Tapa Church of Living Faith (Tapa Yelava Usu Kogudus). He conducts Sunday services with simultaneous translation into Russian at Tapa Methodist Church at 11 Kesk Street.
At age 75, Tapa Baptist Church had 40 members: 58 percent were between the ages of 21 and 74, and 68 percent were women. There were 50 participants in the Sunday school and over 100 young people in the summer camp. His other pastors were Ewald Ayer (1945–56), Paldor Tikel (1956–60), Eduard Kaur (1961), Erich Symer (1962–67), Heino Kivisild and Arly Tammo (1968–1975) and Toomas Kivisild (from 1993 ). The church belongs to the Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches in Estonia (Eesti Evangeeliumi Kristlaste ja Baptistide Koguduste Liit).
On March 17, 2007, the Tapa Music School (Tapa Muusikakool) celebrated its 50th anniversary with a concert by its students and alumni. As in many Estonian cities, Tapa has a music school that is second only to the local primary and secondary school in teaching children and preparing them for a successful life as adolescents and young people. The music school opened in the fall of 1957. Peter Kald was director of the school from 1979 to 2007, when his son Ilmar was appointed director.
Tapa owes its existence to the railway. (The three
long white rectangles on the Tapa flag represent the three branches
of the railway that meet there.) In the 1860s, Tapa today had only
native meadows. Spruce forests were cleared when railway tracks were
laid east from Paldiski (in northwest Estonia) to St. Petersburg,
Russia. The Baltic Railway Company opened the tracks on October 24,
1870. The construction of the Tapa-Tartu railway line began in 1875,
and the first train to Tartu passed through Tapu on 21 August 1876.
From that day on, Tapa grew rapidly as a railway town. The land was
purchased from the Gut Taps estate for the construction of a railway
station and a depot for the repair and maintenance of locomotives.
The repair shop opened in 1876. The station got its German name Taps
from the estate, and the city got its name from the station.
Tapa has been known as a railway and military town throughout its history. On August 1, 1923, an armored train regiment (Estonian: soomusrongirügement) was formed in Tapa with two armored trains: Kapten Irv, who served in the Estonian War of Independence, and Onu Tom. On November 30, 1934, the regiment in Valga (in the south of Estonia) was transferred to TAPU. The base of the regiment, located on the southern outskirts of the city around the main building of the Tapa estate, played a significant role in the life of the city and contributed to its further development.
However, in January 1941, the regiment was disbanded by Soviet troops. Seven months later, on August 14, 1941, Nazi troops captured Tapu. During the German occupation, German military items were located where the headquarters of the Estonian armored train regiment was formerly located. In 1972, an engineering and technical training military unit No. 67665 of the Soviet Army was located at the test site.
Since 1932, an airfield has been located on the southern outskirts of tapa. On September 30, 1934, the first flight of the air Union Tapa (Estonian: Tapa Õhuasjanduse Ühing) took place. The Russians began building a military airfield at this site in the fall of 1939. In the spring of 1952, the Soviets began large-scale construction of a military airfield. MiG-17s were deployed at the base by the end of the same year. Later, the Tapa airfield became home to the Soviet 656th Interceptor Aviation Regiment. In 1993, the management of the airfield passed to the Estonian Ministry of Defense. On June 18, 1993, the first civilian aircraft landed on a cement runway.
When Soviet troops and their families left Tapu, the city's population declined from 10,395 in 1989 to 6,800 in 2000. Tapa was left with an empty, plundered, poorly built military district. However, his life as a military town did not end. In January 2002, after changes were made to the structure of Estonian defense units, Tapa again became the home base of a military base. The Northeastern Defense District (Kirde Kayceringkond) in Tapa includes an army training center, an artillery battalion, an anti-aircraft battalion, and an engineer battalion.
The base is also home to the British Combat Group eFP, which is part of the 1st Infantry Brigade.
Today, on the northern wall of the Tapa railway station, there is a bronze plaque, originally dedicated to January 9, 1934 and again dedicated to February 20, 1993, which is dedicated to the Estonian War of Independence. On the memorial plaque is the symbol of the Tapa armored train regiment. Dubbed "flying death on the railroad," the symbol is a skull with a pair of angelic wings and wagon wheels behind it.