Peipsi Lake from Kallaste Southwards

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Area Peipsi Lake
Place Kallaste and surroundings
Country Estonia
Topics Sand stone coast: folklore culture, agriculture and tourism
Mafalda casestudyimage.jpg


Since the 18th century, the old Russian Orthodox belivers use to live on the Estonian side of the lake, which is the 5th largest in Europe. Along the coast, which is the longest sandstone coast in Estonia, it is possible to find at least 11 outcrops whose highest is proctected since 1959. This is why it is important to keep the cultural heritage and the unique landscape, which made out of this place, a touristic spot. Moreover, the lake is an important ressource of fishies and the water management is really important in these regions where the land use to be big arable aareas in both Estonian and Russian side, which caused eutrophication of the water.

Location and scope

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A Landscape System Analysis

A.1 Landscape layers and their system context

Geomorphology, landscape units and coastal typology

Coastal area of Peipsi is flat. Geological substructure is devonian era sedimentary rock of Aruküla Stage (350 mln years old). In the late ice-age and at the beginning of Holocene, the current lowland was under the water. Sedimentary rock is covered with glacial and post-glacial lake sediments (sand, clay, organical sediments).

Land use

During the Soviet time, the fisherman and the farmers around Peipsi lake use to sell their production along the Hansa traiding organization ways, from the middle age. Since 1992, the borders make it hard for traders. Around the lake, the land use to be arable in both sides, but the new intensives agricultural technologies and chemical created eutrophication phenomenon in the water of the lake, especially because of the forest cuts, the trees can not absorb the chemicals anymore. However, the economics problems of Russia and Estonia made fishing decrease. Considering the lake as one of biggest fish stock in Estonia with 33 different species, the fish reserve is nowadays under-exploited.

Green/blue infrastructure

The major potential elements of a green/blue infrastructure network are:

  • Wetlands with reeds and bulrush
  • Alatskivi Landscape Reserve
  • Alastkivi Park
  • Lake Peipsi watershed (Emajõe Suursoo and Remedovsky)
  • Lake Alatskivi
  • Lake Lahepera
  • Watershed of Narva River (77km)

Due to the increased load of nutrients caused by human activities, eutrophication, caused by the high nutrient load, is a major threat to water quality in the lake. Lake Peipsi receives pollution mainly from two sources: river water and precipitation directly into the lake. The nutrient content in the rivers of Lake Peipsi basin was high at the end of the 1980s, causing eutrophication of water bodies.

The wastewaters and gaseous emission of toxic sulphur and nitrogen oxides, hydrogen chlorine and carcinogenic compounds from power stations operating on pulverized oil shale have a considerable impact on the chemical composition of water in Lake Peipsi.

As one travels from south to north the content of total nitrogen decreases, while water transparency increases. The first trend is caused by the impact of the pollution loads from big cities like Pskov and Tartu, the second by the sediment pumped from the mines when it finally reaches the lake.

Also large-scale expansion of reeds has taken place. The intensive agricultural activities caused eutrophication to accelerate in the lakes and rivers.

Despite the drop in mineral fertilizer use during the last 10 years and a decrease in the number of domestic animals in the Lake Peipsi watershed, the impact of the earlier agricultural pollution is still significant.

The pollutants that were discharged into the lake remain in the lake bottom sediments for years (Roll & Abercrombie 1997). Cuts of forest in the watershed have resulted in considerable increases in the discharge of dissolved and solid phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium in run-off waters that flow into Lake Peipsi.

Regarding the Natura 2000 Network, the site has two types of directives:

  • Habitats Directive Sites (pSCI, SCI or SAC) - These sites could be of proposed Sites of Community Importance (pSCI), Sites of Community Importance (SCI) or Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
  • Birds Directive Sites (SPA) - "According to scientific criteria such as ‘1% of the population of listed vulnerable species’ or ‘wetlands of international importance for migratory waterfowl’"


Regarding Alatskivi Landscape Reserve, it's known that it was established in 1964 to protect the Alatskivi Park and Valley, as well as the regional cultural heritage landscapes. (source:

Actors and stakeholders

The coast of Lake Peipsi from Kallaste to Varnja is the eastern boarder of the recently formed municipality called Peipsiääre. It’s formed from 5 former municipalities: Pala vald, Alatskivi vald, former Peipsiääre vald, Vara vald and Kallaste town.[1] How the state funding are going to divide under the new management the time will show. The main impact area is the settlements at the coast of Lake Peipsi. Fishing tradition in those settlements reach back in many years and reducing fishing quotas putting professional fishermen under the pressure as well as the appearance of the traditional fishermen farms where the obvious objects of active fishing will disappear. In Kallaste the fishing industry is the biggest employer.[2] Besides fishing there are two characteristic activities to this area which gives great touristic potential to improve economic situation. In 2009 non-profit organization Sibulatee was created. It had one mission – connect active community members and entrepreneurs to develop tourism and to introduce the diverse culture of the area. The organization helps the local entrepreneurs with the marketing in the web. The web platform brings together over twenty local companies. It organizes the cultural events and fairs to attract public attention to area which should enliven the environment. Sibulatee introducing the area with the words – One area, two nationalities, three cultures[3].

Sacred spaces and heritage

Fishing is one of the most important activities around the lake. Fisherman can get money from the fishies they sell in summer, this lake is one of the biggest stock of fishes in Europe (33 spices) combining arctic and warm water fishies. But fisherman can also during winter. Indeed, they developped special machines (Karakatista machines) to go fishing on the ice and organize some touristic trips to show their knowledges. All the products from fishing but also from agriculture are sold since the Middle Age, traveling along the Hansa traiding organisation roads.

It is one of the cleanest in Europe and with a considerable potential for recreation. And every year, tourists come on the lake coasts to enjoy the typical landscape. But tourists are also attracted by the cultural heritage from the Soviet time and use to visit churches, from the old Russian belivers, really presents in the area.

The Kallaste beach is also a really cultural point in the area. Indeed, the outcrops, the cliffs and the sand-stone attract every year a lot of tourists. It is also nature, and a spot especially considered as favorable for recreation. It is then really important to keep this special landscape, because tourism, even if it is only seasonality, is a big part of Kallaste economic activity. A lot of Kallaste inhabitants have a buisness with small and private B&B (Bed and breakfast) to host and feed tourists, and this lanscape is typical from the area, is has to be protected for the diversity ans the heritage.

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

Which elements are essential for the landscape character?

  • The lake is known for the existence of large wetlands in the surroundings (Carp 1980, Commission of the European Communities 1995).
  • Forests and semi-natural areas dominate in the Peipsi basin.
  • Agricultural areas cover around 14%.
  • Wetlands, although scattering the entire basin, are located in a relatively large portion near the shore of the lake.
  • Shallow lake (maximum 15 m, average of 7m).
  • The shoreline of 875 km is a natural one; there are no dikes or embankments along the shore.
  • Forests cover large areas in the basin, In the northern area and eastern shores they make up to 60-70% of the surface area, while in the southern and western shores it is 30-40%. Mires and bogs cover up to 10% of the catchment area and another 15-20% are wetlands, such as wet meadows and forests. Large parts of arable land are to be found in the western and southern part of the basin.

Lake Peipsi has been a true source of inspiration over the decades, example of this is the famous painting made by Serov, Vladimir Alxandrovich called "Battle on the Ice". This famous painting tells the story about a notable battle that took place on April 5th of 1242, fought largely on the frozen lake, establishing the frontier between the East and West.

A.2 Summary of you landscape system analysis and your development Targets

We actually consider that the activities with the biggest impacts are fishing, agricultural, tourism. Indeed, the climate is a natural state of the region over Peipsi lake, which is changing more because of the global human activities than because of the local Kallaste’s.

Regarding the fishing activities, as it is the biggest one in the area, the problem will be soon the decrease of the fish population. Meaning that the big stock of fishes and the huge species diversity will disappear. So Peipsi lake will be empty from fishes and it will not be possible to fish anymore. Furthermore, the population living with fishes will leave the area to find another way to survive, meaning that the human population will decrease, as the fish’s one.

But the fishes are also in danger regarding the agriculture. Indeed, the new techniques to over cultivate, with machines and chemicals are creating eutrophication. The extra phosphorus added in the fields will run to the lake through the water, which will over developed the sea weeds, stopping the oxygen. Then no more oxygen in the water means no fishes anymore.

The last important point is the tourism, even if it exists two different scenarios. The first one is that the landscape is getting less and less interesting due to the decrease of fish population and so on on the small economic activities. Then the tourists will just stop to go on the Peipsi lake coasts, reducing more and more the economic activities. On the the other hand, the tourists keep coming and coming, making the seasonality effect bigger and bigger with the risk of a bad waste management, with a lot pollution (water, air due to the cars..) even if it can increase the economy.

When considering the Sustainable Development Goals, it becomes clear that the following goals may be at risk if the situation in Lake Peipsi remains the same:

  • Goal 1: No Poverty - Low resources. Reason for rural exodus.
  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger - Over fishing. Low fish stock.
  • Goal 4: Quality Education - No education infrastructure but at the same time no demand due to the goal 1 failure.
  • Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - No diversity on economic activities (mostly fishing and agriculture).
  • Goal 14: Life Below Water - Threatened by the economic activities of fishing and agriculture, as explained before.

A.3 Theory reflection

  • International convention on Water from UNECE
  • European convention on the protection of the Environment through criminal law from the Council of Europe

The European Council created this new juridical document in 1998 to improve the laws concerning the European protection of the environment. According to this new instruments, the Contracting States have to accord their national laws and conditions to the criminal European law. Otherwise, an act judged as criminal regarding this document, as negligence who can damage the quality of environment, or until the death or the serious injury of a person will be punished on a European level. The sanctions can be to jail or pecuniary sanctions or rehabilitations of the environment, according to international CO-operation.

  • Ranna ja kalda kaitse seadus - The law about the shore and banks. It set's the boundris of actions what are allowed and not allowed on coastal area of water bodies of Estonia.
  • Conclusion

As a part of Europe, Estonia is also a part of the Northen world, meaning it is a developped country. Even if the small amont of population in Estonia and it’s difficult past with the Soviet Union, it is still a country which counsider itself as a northem culture country more than an Eastern country. So as all the Scandinavian places, Estonia is more dealing with the nature to built cities and infrastructures than dealing against it. So their national laws are usually already including the natural part, the nature protection and Estonia has obviously signed, agreed with the European laws and conventions. Regarding that the concerning area is a lake, the associate documents deal especially with water. Considering the case of Peipsi lake, the European and international restrictions about the agricultural chemicals and technologies might not be enough to avoid the eutrophication in Peipsi lake. Same problem with the fishing, these are restrictions with the quantities of fishes allowed and with the sizes of fishes, but this is not enough to save all the species. But this is a general problem all around the world. It is really hard to create laws according to the environment who force people to radically change their way of living. Anyways, the mentalities are changing, and people are realizing that environment is important to preserve, as their folkloric traditions, costumes, celebrations, according to all the cultural heritage. But the cultural heritage can also be found through the landscapes, and that is generally why the tourists are attracted by some places, so we need to conserve them as much as possible.

A.4 References

Phase B: Landscape Evaluation and Assessment

B.1 Assessment Strategy

  • 1: Improvement of the relationship between the lake and the city. Nowadays, main issues are lack of maintenance (lack of trash bins and over grown vegetation, poor quality of public spaces), bad access points to the water (broken staircases, safety issues) and the lack of open views on the lake from the city.
  • 2: The attractability. It needs to be improved for foreigners and Estonian citizens. Actually, there are no parking spaces, no information signs (or not in English or Russian) or touristic paths explaining the story of Peipsi lake. There is a need of good quality facilities from which income for local municipality and inhabitants may be produced.
  • 3: Last important aspect is the seasonality. The city is actually empty for at least 9 months during the year, there is nobody in the streets even during sunny days, and the activity of the city isn’t visible even during the working days of the week. So it is important to find a solution for this aspect, otherwise, the seasonality will become more and more important until the point that the low season will be so empty that it will be impossible to have any income when there are no tourists. Because of it and the lack of job opportunities the possible scenario could be that all the local inhabitants will just move out from the city. This may cause that even the local activities as fish industries will disappear as well as cultural heritage.

B.2 Mapping

  • City character : define different areas, how they are splitted in the city and analyse it with the potential it gives. So we can consider the areas and elements we can work with, the ones we have to improve and the ones we can for exemple change.
  • Access to the lake : This is one the main aspect of the coastal analysis. All the coast along Kallaste has been analysed, how the access to the lake, which points of view, how easy it is to find it and how it is near the lake, the connection with the water.
  • Cultural layer : We also decided to add on a map with a smaller scale all the cultural spots around the city (the majority of the official cultural spots are not in the town) so we can also deal with the onion road and the give an story to the access to the city, so it will give even more value to the city. Moreover, the aborigines are getting old, so we need to protect their unique culture so we need recognition for it to be maintained even later.

B.3 Problem, Definition and Priority setting

Two extreme and contrast future scenarios of your landscape

“what if every worst prediction will happen in the area”

  • Fishing industry closed down
  • People will move out
  • Population get really old
  • Area gets abandoned
  • More seaweeds on the lake (eutrophication)

“what if everything will go in the best direction”

  • Active local community
  • More younger people
  • Buildings will be renovated
  • Summer holiday hotspot
  • Winter holiday hotspot
  • Conservation of the fishers traditional harbours



  • History and cultural heritage
  • Natural resources (lake, fishes...)
  • Surroundings (villages, greenery…)
  • Typical character


  • Bad connection lake-city
  • Population getting older
  • Lack of activities during winter
  • Lack of facilities for tourists


  • A lot of wasted spaces that we can use
  • Abandoned places
  • Access to the lake and aquatic activities


  • Growth of the seasonality aspect
  • Population moving out
  • Loss of the cultural heritage

Using strengths and opportunities to remove the weaknesses and avoid the threats:

  • Use the empty houses to create tourists’ facilities
  • Use the wasted lands to create parking areas for tourists and people
  • Conserve the cultural heritage to attract tourists and use the resources to avoid the seasonality effect
  • Keeping the typical character of the place will give it recognition and avoid the loss of the cultural heritage, even if all the original people from the area are gone.
  • The surroundings are full of heritage as well, so they can lead the way to the lake, telling the story of the place.

Ecosystemic services

  • Lake : Provides fishes → nutrition (health) → can be sold and create jobs (economical value) → Rule for fishing (protection)
  • Beaches : Provides access to the water → Recreation → social value → need of rules and maintenance (for social and safety interest)
  • Green area : Provides climate and CO2 regulation → health value → needs maintenance (safety) + Provides recreation → social values → needs users
  • Typical houses : Provide cultural heritage → aesthetic and belonging for population → well being and social values → conservation and protection

Priority setting

  • Local’s quality of life : Make sure that the local people have a sufficient source of income all along the year. In this case, they will be able to leave there the all year long, and less people will leave the city. Indeed, when you have a nice job in a nice area, you don’t want to leave the place you are living. This is the priority, because without the local people, the city won’t exist anymore. Moreover, everything is linked to the aborigines, they are the persons who created the city, its history and they are keep the culture alive. It is so really important to have local people living here as much as possible. This is also linked directly to the lake ,which is a source of income for fishermen and that local people need for resting and recovering.
  • Cultural heritage conservation : The area of Peipsi lake is known for the huge cultural heritage that it contains. During the past, it has been soviet, fisherman place, Estonian, Old russians’ believers… and all of them left some cultural elements. More than just a landscape, these are ways of life, like onion farming, fish smoking or religious celebration who belongs here today. But nowadays, people tend to leave this area to go to biggers cities, and even if the population is today mostly Russian, it is important to keep the areas traditions, giving values to the area and attracting tourists. And as majority of these activities are linked to the lake like fishing or even just the connection with russia, it is important the take care of the lake as well. We should improve the access to it and keep all the resources it is full of.
  • Attractability : Actually the city is victim of the seasonality. This is a problem, because the city is active only during summer time. The point is that the city needs activity during winter as well, otherwise, the problem of the seasonality is that it will become more and more important, but with only two months of summer income during the year, it is impossible to live one full year. So we need a year round hotspot, with cultural activities and periodic events, who will attract people even during the winter, for exemple just for a weekend, especially people from Tartu, just coming for rest, away from a big city. Because even if Tartu gets some beaches, Peipsi lake is another character, different from the river and inn a smaller city. It is then really important to improve the connections with the lake, mostly to make it really easy for the tourists, so they won’t disturb the local people who doesn’t want.

All of those together will impact each other. Having locals will improve the wants to keep the cultural heritage and have a permanent income plus activities even during winter, then the culture will be maintained and cultural heritage is supposed to attract tourists, so the tourists will come, any time of the year, so the local people will have income and won’t leave the city anymore. But as everything is linked, it is important to be careful to don’t be extreme : too many locals won’t have enough economical activities, too many tourists will disturb locals and be hard to manage, and to many cultural activities can do not fit in the small town.

B.4 Theory reflection

  • Assessment methods and limitations :

1. Landscape Character Assessment: Gives overview of the area. Zone definitions to see which ones need more attention and the connections between all of them.

  • Limitations: Survey period too short to have a real overview along the year and communication problems with locals.

2. SWOT: Used to have a look on what we already have in the area : strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the territory. Then, to analyse it, we have to define how we can improve the strengths and use the opportunities to remove the weaknesses and avoid the threats.

  • Limitations: Time limited, it is just like a picture in time

3. Ecosystem Services: What we can benefit from the nature. The goal is to be aware of the ecosystem services to use them correctly and protect them, so we can keep using them with the purpose of the well-being of the population.

  • Limitations: No data from local’s habits and connections with surroundings

4. Extreme Scenario: Made to realize how far the issues can go. Also helps to determine which issue is the most important.

  • Limitations: Lack of informations about the economics trends and daily activities

B.5 References

  • give a full list of the references you have used for this section

Phase C - Strategy and Master Plan

Considering the small scale of the project, as the town is not that much under political pressure, the planning is not really strict. These are possibilities of modifications and the ideas need to be improve. That's why the governance is made step by step, all the actions are defined through time. It is improtant to check that what we did is worth to keep before strating a new one. This is based on the "Continuous improvement" method.

C.1 Goal Setting

The original goals are the same as our priorities, which are more detailed and linked to the strategic objectives. The chosen strategies are mostly impacting the landscape, considering that the three priorities from the “cultural landscape” (nature, locals and tourists) are impacting each other. We need all of them for the concept to work. All these elements are leading to the main vision: in a couple of years, the city of Kallaste will be a tourist-friendly city, hosting events and activities the all year long, using local resources as the lake or the cultural heritage. The existing resources will be shown to attract tourists, providing a better income so the money can be used to develop new activities or events, for the city to be active the all year long and for the local people to have a better quality of life, in a nice environment, protecting the natural resources.

The main goals from the Sustainable development's goals choosen to lead the strategy are:

  • 3 : Good health and well-being
  • 8 : Decent work and economic growth
  • 11 :Sustainable cities and communities
  • 14 : Life below water
  • 15 : Life on land
  • 17 : Partnerships for goals

C.2 Spatial Strategy and Transect

According to the previous hypothesis, the researches, the field trips and of course, the concept, a master plan has been created. The main idea is to transform the city of Kallaste in a tourist friendly city in a couple of years, following the steps descriebed in C3 part. The master plan simply consist in using mostly the existing elements as the cultural heritage, the lake, the building and city character to create a more active touristic place. The main access of the city is more open, leading directly to the bus station surrounded by tourists facilities. From this point, where new parking lots will be created to reduce the amount of cars in the city, will bestarting a way through green spaces leading directly to the lake along areas where events will take place. But considering that the main square opens directly on the lake, the main street of the city, between the main square and the beach will be active again by buildings renovation. These renovations will turn the abandonned buildings into new tourists facilities or new local's businesses. So the main street will lead to the sand beach, with some of the following facilities (details). In that way, it is possible to conserve the residential areas all across the city, north and south from the main square. On the other hand, to use the cultural heritage and the famous sandstone beaches, it will be created along the coast a cultural touristic way, between the onions and cucumber's cultures with some stops on the sandstone beaches and some existing points of view, just missing maintenance.

C.3 From Theory of Change to Implementation

The first step is to deal with the municipality, get their approbation and their support. Then, the easiest thing to do is to improve the cultural heritage, creating cultural paths, showing onion and cucumber growing culture, with informations for the tourists. That will also help the locals to realise the potential they have. It is also a way to attract more tourists, this way, it will be possible to create new jobs for the locals. So more jobs means more income, and the possibility to develop new activities like sports events, workshops… All these events will attract more tourists, from abroad or from the other parts of Estonia so we will need facilities for them. The empty houses in the city can be reused and renovated to welcome tourists, events or new businesses. And according to those new infrastructures, it is important to improve the greenery as well, especially along the main square. Hopefully, those actions will reduce the seasonality so it will be possible to develop more winter activities, or cultural festivals.

The governance model will be based on the PDCA method (Plan, Do, Check, Act) which is a method to keep the good innovations and to stop the non-pertinent ones.It is a model that you have to apply for each action, one after the other. So, from the timeline, each action will be apply on the PDCA.

D. Process Reflection

It is really interesting to work on a really complete project. The differents backgrounds in the team completed each other, from landscapers, architects, sustainable developpement engineer so we could consider all the aspects of the landscape and the impact of the changes. It was a little bit difficult to go into the "psychologycal" part, with the tourists behaviour, prevent the local's reaction. And also some problems with the ecionomic part, to plan the evolution of the city, with possibly new activities. But we also came from different different coutries, Southern, Western and from Estonia, the host country of the project. It brings in the group different ways to work and create a certain motivation, a curiosity to discover more about the methods from abroad.

The biggest limits were mostly the lack of time, espacially to go on field trips, to collect datas directly from the locals, even if they are not that talkative and open to strangers. It might be due aswell to the Estonian/Russian mixity in the city, creating tension between the inhabitants.

As landscapers, it can be interresant for next to focus more on the view from the lake to the city, but regarding more the sustanable developpement, it canbe interresting to focus more on the different ecosystemes present along the coast. It would be also most easyer to work with demographs or historians, for them to do the based maps, so the work for us would be pure design and landscape.