Sakala Upland and the entire Viljandi County have a new highest hill
Already since the 1930s, the Estonian reference books left no doubt that the highest hill of the Sakala Upland is Rutu hill with its 145 metres. However, now the cartographers of Regio and the geographers of the University of Tartu have ascertained that there is a higher hill 5 kilometres north-east of Rutu hill – the 147‑metre Härjassaare hill, which had gone unnoticed for map readers so far.
When updating Regio’s general physical wall map of Estonia, its cartographer Mihkel Järveoja noticed a new spot elevation of the Sakala Upland that had gone unnoticed on the main map of the Estonian Land Board, but exceeds that of Rutu hill by almost two metres. The updated information of the Land Board is based on the LIDAR laser scanning method.
To confirm the results, both Rutu and Härjassaare hill were measured again using the RTK GPS: “First we measured Rutu hill. Thanks to a small open field at the top of the hill, the GPS device easily received the satellite signal necessary for the measurement and the result was 145 metres,” explained Järveoja how Rutu hill was measured. Then Härjassaare hill was measured and the confirmed result was 147 metres.
Geographer of the University of Tartu Taavi Pae said that the news about the new highest hill of Viljandi County was a surprise also for the locals: “Local people have always known that this slightly rolling area is a good place for picking berries and mushrooms, but it came as a surprise to most people that it is higher than Rutu hill.”
As it is not one single higher hill, but rather an undulating wooded area, the highest spot did not have a place name yet. However, in the compilation on Pärnu County published in 1930, this area was defined as the Härjassaare hills. Also older local people have heard this place name. This is why the new highest hill of the Sakala Upland and the entire Viljandi County was named Härjassaare hill.
According to Taavi Pae, the new highest hill of Viljandi County is now waiting for being included in geography textbooks and reference books. The new wall map of Regio that is first and foremost aimed at schools is the first one to include the new hill.
On 6 March at 11:00, Sudiste village centre hosts an information session on the discovery of the new highest hill, after which the participants can conquer the hill. Geographers of the University of Tartu and cartographers of Regio will speak about the geographic statistics of Estonia, the measuring of hills and the discovery of Härjassaare hill.
Additional information: Taavi Pae, Research Fellow at UT Department of Geography, tel: +372 5561 3338, email: taavi.pae [ät] ut.ee;
Mihkel Järveoja, Cartographer at Regio , tel: +372 5341 5075, email: mihkel.jarveoja [ät] regio.ee.