The Natural Location and The Origination of The Settlement
Jõhvi town is located in the uplands area with the same name (the upland name is ´Pandivere´ meaning ´´ together with a liitle brother´´ ) on the north-east edge , where the limestone escarpment runs from Kohtla-Järve to eastern direction (named Kukruse layer of escarament) and steeply changes its direction to the south. The escarpment mentioned above goes down in the place of Jõhvi location at about 5 meters. At the bottom of the escarpment lies the marshy and water – the rich zone of the lowmarshes. That is the place where the excessive aqueous forests grow and where some birchwoods were formed as well as some excessively marshed lowlands instead of the forests. To the south from the escarment there is the area of leached - carbonated soils over which the pericarp starts raising very slowly. This area has good conditions for farming. Long before the influence of the mining activity was outset, a number of natural wellsprings went out of the escarpment. The most water-rich wellspring used to be situated in the place of the Ida-Viru council administration, only 20 meters away to the north-west and it was one of the point of some Pühajõe tributaries.
Jõhvi Village was originated on the edge of the escarment exactly on the spot of the wellspring. Presumably, the time of the foundation is believed to be the second half of the year 1000 .
Drinking water was taken from the wellspring, but the field were located from the village to the south. Jõhvi village was located at the ancient crossroads, which also contributed to the village development. Via those crossroads, it was possible to reach Virumaa western civil parishes through Järve and Saka, through Puru and Kaidma to Vaiga – Ugandi and Peipsi fishing grounds. The sledding road led along Pühajõgi through Voka and Narva to Novgorod principality. Numerous ancient treasure troves, which are originated from Jõhvi Uplands, testified the trade with Vilka.
The Origin of Jõhvi Name
The name Jõhvi can be interpreted in different ways. It is a widespeard belief, that the name originates from the word ´jõhvikas´ (cranberry), but it does not have any linguistical grounds.
In 1930s the meaning ´´ jõevesi´´ (´´river water´´) was suggested by the home researcher H. Kurba, as this name was given to one wellspring situated in the center of the town Jõhvi and which received its name from one Püha river tributary. L. Kettunen, the Finnish linguist, offered the meaning ´´ jõhv´´, which has received most approval. It is also possible, that some folk beliefs are related to jõhv. During the ancient times the word ´´jõhv´´ had a magical meaning and it goes very well with the religious meaning of the spot. Jõhvi as well as jõhvussi meant one and the same word – jovi (or jõvi) in olden times. Even in the previous century the name Jõhvi sounded in local dialect Jovi and in Vaivara dialect Jõvi.
The First Written Mentioning
The oldest written report about Jõhvi comes from Danish Evaluation Book, which is considered to be compiled in 1241. Jõhvi is written there under the name of Gevi ( the letter´´j´´was written in Low German with the letter ´´g´´). The size of the village was mentioned as large as 20 oxgang (ploughlands) and the owner was named the King of Denmark.
Jõhvi in the Middle Age
It is likely that in the second half of 13th century Jõhvi became the central of religious civil parish and it had a big impact on the further development of the town. The first mentioning of the civil parish dates back to 1354 and the church was mentioned in 1367, when it was destroyed during the Russian-German battle. A new church was built in stone-walls as a church-fortress and at the end of the 14th century an embrasure tower was built to the church. Jõhvi church played a crucial role in the defence of northern Estonia. Simultaneously, the system of the churchroads was deleloped, which were converged in the center of the civil parish.
In 1491 Jõhvi manor was first mentioned, the owner of which was Narva Ordophone. After the Livonian War, the manor was under the control of the King of Sweden for some time and since 1617 it was a private property. The owners changed, but the longest period of time the manor was in possession of the Barons Wellings and the Counts Douglas.
The data relating to the size of the town Jõhvi during the middle age did not remain.
The 18th Century
In the middle of 18th century the land of Jõhvi village was used by the farmers and the peasants were concertrated around Puru and Tammiku area. By the year 1782 only 3 peasants and 3 free people in Jõhvi Village left, who belonged to the pastor´s mansion. Jõhvi mostly formed a wide complex of manor-houses, which also included a tavern (first time mentioned in 1543) and awatermill (later was known as Altveski). The year 1782 is known as an significant breakthrough in Jõhvi development: earlier the postroad between Petersburg and Tallinn ran along the coastline, but since 1782 this road was moved to the south and it started to run across Jõhvi as well. Due to that fact that the postroad to Tartu and Riga had its beginning also from Jõhvi , the village of Jõhvi became an inter-postroads junction between Petersburg and Western Europe. Starting from this moment, all the comers and leavers from Russia had to cross Jõhvi. It addition to that, the railway station was constructed in the same year. By the end of the 18th century, the number of Jõhvi inhabitants was around 100: the rectory residents and farmers, the railway station workers and manors´people. The latter included: the doctor, tailor, shoemaker, tavern´s keeper, miller and other craftsmen.
The 19th Century
During the 19th century, Jõhvi was developing into the local trade center. The first Jõhvi fair took place in 1825 as well as the first shops were established.
The first church school was opened by the priest F.F. Meyer in Jõhvi. The school was changed into a parochial school ten years later and it operated untill the year 1883.
The opening of Tallinn – Petersburg railroad also redounded to Jõhvi fast developement. The railway station in Jõhvi was established by the request of Jõhvi manor´s owner Igelströmi in the place of the present Toila Station.
In 1889 the court reforms took palce and as a result Jõhvi was renamed into Alutaguse Jurisdiction Center and the residence of the peasants´ judge. The Governer of Estonia of that time, the Sovereign Sergei Shahhovskoi, who was the main initiator of Russification, planned to turn Jõhvi into Russian Orthodox Church and Russian culture base in Estonia. The Brotherhood of the Baltic States was also founded by S. Shahhovskoi and was also situated in Jõhvi. In 1888, as a part of the Brotherhood, was built a hospital (together with ambulatory) and a Russian school, which was transformed into the ministry school two years later. In 1895 there was opened a pedagogical class in the school, where the teachers were prepared for the parish schools. The Russian Orthodox Heavenly Healing Church and the fire station were opened in the same year.
In 1897 according to census of population, 828 people lived in Jõhvi.
By the end of 19th century, in the small borough Jõhvi, there were two churches, three mills, ale- and distellery, a tavern, appoximately 30 shops and also the firemen´s and abstinence societies.
The Sovereigner Sergei Shahhovskoi was the initiator of the idea to form Independent Virumaa County and he saw Jõhvi to be the center of it. After Shahhovskoi ´s death in 1894, the idea of establishing Independent Virumaa County came to a standstill.
Receiving the Legal Status of a Small Borough
15 July 1917, the act of the township was passed by Russian Interim Government (the volume of the acts and regulations appeared 9 August 1917, nr 187), which gave opportunities to increase the number of towns and caused a living discussion in Jõhvi. A large amount of the residents desired to apply for the status of a town. The national meeting was called together, there were 777 citizens having the right for voting and who voted for receiving the status of the town and 4 voted for the small borough. The corresponding proposal was made to Viru County Administration. Viru County Council considered the application for the town status as being a very complicated and time-consuming process and it was decided to give Jõhvi a status of a small borough. The administrative boundary of Jõhvi Borough was not appointed. The population of the town was 1300 people.
The first German ocuupation army arrived on 1 March 1918, which stayed in Jõhvi until 29 November 1918. During that period of time, the houses were numbered, were built pavements and the trees were planted around the market place.
The Commune of labor people was governing in Jõhvi from 12 July 1918 until 16 january 1919. The life in Jõhvi was organised according to the wartime conditions. On 29 November 1919 , there were 1700 residents in Jõhvi.
On 12 July 1919 the process of forming Alutaguse County was started by Jõhvi Boroughtown Council, where Jõhvi was supposed to be the county center and as a result to be given the status of a town. At the beginning, the consents were received from 9 counties, but at the same time Narva declared its will to candidate as well. On 15 September, ´The Act of Valga and Alutaguse Counties Establishment´ was published in the goverment newspaper (´´Riigi Teataja´´) and where Narva was anticipated to be the center of the county. As all the counties, which were situated near Jõhvi, was not agree with this anticipation, the condition of barrenness came about and in April 1921 the Act referring to the establishment of Alutaguse County was abolished.
The Ratification of The Boroughtown Administrative Boundaries
Before the finite allocations of the boroughtown boundaries were made, the initial map of boroughtown boarders was compiled by the planning panel of the Ministry of Agriculture. Viru County Goverment presented the map to the Ministry of the Interior to be ratified. During the adjustment, the Ministry of ArgIculture demanded to leave out all the agriculture households from the territory of the boroughtown, which was the ground for the Ministry of the Interior to reject the boundary plan. Consequently, the conflict between the Jõhvi borough goverNment and Viru County government grew bigger, because the last one was not agree to accept the uniting of Jõhvi mansion heart and the church manor land. The territory of the boroughtown included only a perspectiveless 4 - kilometer strip from the railway to the north.
The boroughtown boaders were ratified by the the Minister of the Interior in the from presented by Viru County Board on 30 April 1920, despite the fact that the residents of the borough were strongly against it.
The boroughtown board immediately claimed the territory of the borough to be widen and finally the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior accepted on 23 March 1929 Jõhvi administrative boarders extension to 103,97 hectare. In 1920-1930 A. Käbin was the Boroughtown Governer, in 1930-1933 R.Leppik and from 1933 A. Danilevsky.
In 1923 the building of the secondary school was constructed and the primary school was built in 1929. In 1930 the starch factory was built as well as Saigi department store with 12 shops. The railway station was moved closer to the center of Jõhvi and the previous one was renamed into Toila railway station. The house-buildings spread from Narva Road to Rakvere and Sompa area. The fast development of social life characterises the fact, that in 1936 there were 32 different associations and unions.
On 28 April 1938 , the Republic Government took a decision to allocate 98,67 heactare to Jõhvi County from the former church manorland and 50,566 hectare from the former Jõhvi mansionland as well as 5,96 hectare from Sompa mansionland.
Receiving the Status of a Town
On 19 April 1928 was given away the Municipal Law with the order of the Head of the country K. Päts. (´´Riigiteataja´´ 27 April 1938), the Law allowed a number of the previous boroughs to receive the town status, including Jõhvi. First Jõhvi elections of the Town Council took place on 15 and 16 April 1939.
The first Councilmen in the history of Jõhvi were: V. Härma, H. Rooks, A. Danilevsky, A. Abelov, M. Tarum, A. Käbin, A. Kukkula, E. Schmodt, J. Pertens, J.Sepp, V. Treilman ja R.Piirits. A. Danilevsly was elected the first mayor and G. Raudheidig was elected to be the first Council Secretary. By April 1 1938 the population of Jõhvi reached the point of 2525 people.
The System of Symbols
According to the Municipal Law, each town had its own town flag and town arms, approved by the President of the Republic and the procedure of its use is determined by the Interior Minister. The description of the both the flag and the town arms had to be published in ´´Riigiteataja´´. The working process of working out the shape of the flag as well as the town arms was started immediately after the town status was obtained. The question regarding Jõhvi flag and Jõhvi arms was being discussed at the Jõhvi Council meeting on 2 December 1938, where Jõhvi Council submitted the drafts of Jõhvi flag and arms, ordered from the Association of Estonian Cities. The Council approved the drafts and the colours of the flag were selected to be green, white, green. The town arms had a shape of a shield, where was depicted the golden head of a deer on the green basis and three silver sprucetrees on the red basis in the background. Unfortunately, the flag and town arms were not officially and legally confirmed, because the overturn of the year 1940 brought the whole process to a standstill.
After receiving the right of the town, the major problem was to construct the townhall, which had to be built as an extention to the old post station by the end of 1940. Until that moment, the Town Council was accomodated in the building of the post station. Due to the certain events of the year 1940, the constructing works were not carried out. The Read Army armoured machines arrived in the town on 17 June 1940.
The Second World War Years
On 13 August 1941 the armed forces of Germany reached Jõhvi town. At the beginning, the town remained untouched, excluding some single buildings.
On 3 August 1943, the fire broke out in the building of the former camphouse and the fire due to the strong wind spread to the neighbour buildings. 92 houses and 129 outbuildings were destroyed, which made one third of Jõhvi. The Red Army bombing brought along new destructions, but the largest decimation was carried out during the evening and night of 18 September 1944 by the standing back German. The post station, the secondary school, the manor house, the ale- and vodka factory were blown off, some houses were set on fire near the railway station. On 19 September, Russian armed forces arrived in Jõhvi. By this time, only 100 houses out of 350 left.
The City Administrative Bodies 1945-1960
The first Decree of the Town Executive Commitee Chairman, by the mean of which was appointed the Jõhvi Executive Commitee, was published on 21 September 1944. The Commitee consisted of 7 permanent workers. The main activity of the Commitee during that time was to unregister the residents, to provide them with food supply and reinforcement as well as to liquidate the distructions after the war, mobilisation etc.
The first Council Board elections took place on 18 January 1948. Until that moment, all the Executive Commitee Chairmen were appointed , but not elected. Jõhvi Council Board of 21 members gathered on 5 February 1948 and they elected the Executive Commitee of 5 members (the Chairman A. Ardlo, the Deputy N. Artus). There were formed 5 commissions: culture-education, communal economy, grounds maintanance, trade and commerce, health – and social welfare.
By the Supreme Council Presidium Decree of 25 February 1948, it was decided to form Jõhvi County, the administrative center of which became Jõhvi. The staff of the Town Executive Commitee was not changed. Since that time Jõhvi Council subordinated to Jõhvi County Executive Committee of the Council of People's Deputies instead of Viru County one.
From 26 September 1950 Jõhvi subordinated to Jõhvi region due to the reorganization within the counties. During this period the Executive Commitee of Jõhvi consisted of 8 members: a chairman, a secretary, an accountant, a typist, a cleaner, a messeger, a cemetery guard and an air defence inspector.
Jõhvi Development between 1945-1960
At the beginning of 1945 there were 800 residents in Jõhvi. In 1946, the constructing works on the mine nr 2 were started in the Jõhvi neighbourhood and the mine was ready in the year 1949. The construction of the mine brought also along the fast growth in number of residents, the biggest part of whom arrived from Russia. In 1948, 84,87 hectares were allocated to the plant ´´Eesti Põlevkivi´´for its constructing activities, including 36,16 hectares belonging to Jõhvi County before and which were joined with Jõhvi city. The allocated land was very rapidly built up with 1- and 2-storied houses. The repair- and mechanic factory was built in the place where previously was the meadow of the manor. The Constructors´club was opened in the location of the previously situated the Barrelhouse. In 1949 the market was taken from the marketstreet (nowadays Keskvälajk street) to Narva Road. In 1950 the restaurant ´´ Phonex´´ was finished, in 1955 the administrative building of Jõhvi City and Region was accomplished (according to the same project was constructed the administrative building of ´´Eesti Põlevkivi´´) and in 1956 the latter Regional Culture Center was finished.
Uniting Jõhvi and Kohtla-Järve
The project of creating one oil shale region was started immediately after the war. It was planned that all the urban local areas would be drawn together into one administrative whole.
It was started to put into practice only in 1959 when Kohtla and Kukruse boroughs were united to Kohtla-Järve.
On 14 October 1960, the Board of Ministers issued the Decree regarding ´´ Creating one administrative center in the territory of Estonian SSR Oil-shale pool´´and joined Jõhvi and Ahtme towns as well as Sompa with Kohtla-Järve town.
The last session of Jõhvi Town Executive Commitee took place on 11 October 1960. The liquidation of the town of Jõhvi was included neither into that agenda not the previous one. The last chairman of the Executive Commitee was G. Seimar. The last ratification of the administrative boarder occured on 19 November 1955 and it was ratified with the Decree of the Supreme Presidium.
On 20 October 1960, the Board of Ministers issued the Decree nr 418 ´´ With the reference to the resources to create one whole administrative center in the territory of the oil-shale pool. In order to put this plan into practice was formed a 7-member committee with N.V. Makarov at the head of it, who carried out the handing over the properties of Jõhvi, Jõhvi region and Ahtme.
The liquidation of Jõhvi was finished by 5 November 1960.
Jõhvi Developement After the Loss of Town Status
In the 1960s was constructed Jõhvi microdistrict, which took a shape of a typical housing estate such as Mustamäe destrict in Tallinn. At the beginning of the 1970s, a number of 5-storied blocks of flats were built along Narva Road. In 1975, one very historically and achitectrally important building, Jõhvi post station, was barbarously demolished. Jõhvi department store was constructed at this place a year later.
In 1978 was opened Jõhvi Culture Center. In 1969, the number of Jõhvi residents was 14.000.
After the re-constitution of Kohtla-Järve district (nowadays Ida-Virumaa district) in 1964, Jõhvi becomes the administrative center. At the same time, the administrative apparatus of Kohtla-Järve was located in Jõhvi, which moved to Kohtja-Järve in 1977, when the construction works of the new administarative building were finished. In the same year, Jõhvi borough was liquidated and Jõhvi-Ahtme borough was formed.
The reestablishment of the city right arose in the agenda in 1989 and it was accelerated by the decision to conduct the administrative reform of ESSR Council on 24 July 1989. The same year in the autumn was gathered more than 1000 signatures in support for the request of the town status reestablishment and the arguments took place in several initiative groups regarding the different ways of reestablishing. By the decision of the formed working group, Kohtla-Järve Town Council accepted the decision not to separate Jõhvi from Kohtla-Järve Council composition, but to limit it with forming a group of delegates. The Town Council opposition suggested giving Jõhvi the first stage of the municipality right but still being in Kohtla-Järve composition. On 4 April 1991 Jõhvi Town Municipal Reestablishing Body, which started to work out Jõhvi development plan and its priciples which correspond with the administrative reform. The formed Body was generally a political preassure group of Kohtla-Järve Town Council, which supported Soviet Centralism.
On 23 August 1991 The Supreme Soviet of Estonian Republic abolished the decree of 14 October concerning Jõhvi Town. It meant that Jõhvi was reestablished as an administrative unit at the first stage in the Ida-Viru District Body. On 12 September 1991 The Supreme Soviet Presisdium determined the precise procedure of the election. On 26 September was appointed the Vice-Chairman position of Jõhvi Assembly Executive Commitee. Ida-Viru County Council confirmed to this position Aavo Keerme.
The first elections of Jõhvi Town Council took place on 2 February 1992, and where the reestablished body of Jõhvi Local Government got 10 places out of 18. At the first meeting of reestablished Jõhvi Council was elected its Chairman and at the same time the Chairman of the Executive Commitee A. Keerme. On 17 June 1992 The Supreme Soviet Presidium of Estonian Republic authorized a self-governing status of Jõhvi.
In 1992 (July), Jõhvi was reestablished as a member of the Union of Estonian Cities.
In 1992 (August) The symbols of Jõhvi were accepted but the Government of Estonia (in 1938 was conceptualised). By 1 January 1992, the number of Jõhvi residents was 16 400.
Jõhvi Development After The Reestablishment of The Town Status
The first stage after the town status reestablishement was the separation from Kohtla-Järve, traking over the property, the formation of Jõhvi Administrative Body as well as the principal development of town environment and economy on the self-governing level. The municipal companies were constituted and were created the structural units subordinated to the Town Council. The process of restitution of the land and properties to the legitimate owners was started and the process of privatisation was started too.
17 October 1993 the election took place, where a 21-member Jõhvi Municipal Council was elected, the chairman of the Council became Harry Heinrichsen and on 28 October 1993, the mayor became Aavo Keerme. The small businesses started to develop in Jõhvi, over 300 companies were created. Trade was also noticeably recovering, many shops looked quite modern and up-to-date. Jõhvi became the most important trade center in the county. Thus, not only the town was reestablished, but also the historical trade center.
Jõhvi also became the administrative center, where most of the state constitutions were located. The appearance of the town significantly improved since the renovation works of the administrative buildings were started.
The banks also reacted to livening up of the town´s economy, which opened their branch offices and updated the buildings.
The development plan 1995-1998 was confirmed on 20 December 1995. The development plan considered European local authority charter requirements and possibilities and was also considered Jõhvi as a historical center of the county. The development plan was compiled aiming to provide with a balanced development Jõhvi as a whole and each resident separately. Within the possibilities, it is being tried to compensate the damages caused during the last 10s years, to restore private property rights and to abolish the tenants´ preference in front of the owners.
In 1996 (20 October) H. Heinrichsen was elected to be the Chairman of the Town Council and 1 November the mayor was affirmed A. Keerme.
The construction activity also livened up in Jõhvi. If until this moment the primary accent was on the revonation of the old buildings and the biggest number of the new buildings were single-houses and small shop constructing. So, since 1996 the planning and construction of modern new buildings were begun. This process is still happening at present moment, what shows the current interest in Jõhvi. It is in every way welcoming process, because the current demand on office- , business- and dwelling estate is high.
Here, it is important to take into account the historical background of the town life and its development while compiling the development plan of Jõhvi.