In Estonian, the word ‘soomaa’ literally means ‘swamp land’ or ‘land of mires.’ Soomaa
National Park, founded in 1993, is an extensive wilderness area in south-western Estonia,
containing large peat-bogs and thick forests interwoven by numerous rivers and the
floodplains that border them.
Soomaa is best known for having five unique seasons with the the fifth season being the high-
water season. The waters here are extraordinary. A number of local rivers from surrounding
uplands, meet in a relatively small area between the bogs and swamp forests. Once or twice a
year, when snows melt across the country, they fill with melt-water and break their banks.
The largest four bogs situated within Soomaa include Kuresoo (10843 ha), Valgeraba (3379
ha), Ordi (7135 ha) and Kikerpera (8775 ha). The bogs are separated from each other by
the Pärnu, Halliste, Navesti, Raudna, Lemmjõgi, and Kõpu rivers. Alongside these rivers,
floodplain meadows and floodplain forests occur.