Lake Peipus (Estonian: Peipsi-Pihkva järv; Russian:
Псковско-Чудское озеро (Pskovsko-Chudskoe ozero),
German: Peipussee), the largest transboundary lake in Europe, lies on
the border between
Estonia and Russia.
The lake is the fifth-largest in
Lake Ladoga and Lake
Russia north of St. Petersburg), Lake
Vänern (in Sweden),
Lake Saimaa (in Finland).
Lake Peipus represents a remnant of a body of water which existed in
this area during an Ice Age. It covers 3,555 km2, and has an
average depth of 7.1 m, the deepest point being 15 m. The lake
has several islands and consists of 3 parts:
Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe (Estonian: Peipsi järv, Russian: Чудское
озеро), the northern part of the lake, with an area of
2,611 km2 (73%)
Pskov (Estonian: Pihkva järv, Russian: Псковское
озеро), the southern part of the lake (area 708 km2 or 20%)
Lake Lämmijärv/Teploe (Estonian: Lämmijärv, Russian: Тёплое
озеро), the sound connecting the other two parts of the lake
(area 236 km2 or 7%)
The lake is used for fishing and recreation, but suffered from some
environmental degradation from Soviet-era agriculture. Some 30 rivers
and streams discharge into Lake Peipus. The largest rivers are the
Emajõgi and the Velikaya River. The lake drains into the Gulf of
Finland via the Narva River.
In 1242 the lake was the site of the Battle on the Ice (Estonian:
Jäälahing) between the
Teutonic Knights and Novgorodians under
Prince Alexander Nevsky.
2 Topography and hydrography
3 Basin and islands
4 Flora and fauna
9 External links
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The lake is a remnant of a larger body of water which existed in this
area during an Ice Age. In the
Paleozoic Era, 300–400 million
years ago, the entire territory of the modern Gulf of
covered by a sea. Its modern relief was formed as a result of glacier
activities, the last of which, the Weichselian glaciation, ended about
12,000 years ago.
Topography and hydrography
The banks of
Lake Peipus have smooth contours and form only one large
bay – Raskopelsky Bay. The low shores of the lake mostly consist of
peat and are bordered by vast lowland and marshes which are flooded in
the spring with the flooding area reaching up to 1000 km2.
There are sand dunes and hills, covered with pine forests. Along the
sandy shores there is a 200–300 m wide stretch of shallow waters.
Water balance of Lake Peipus
560 mm (1.9 km3)
Surface and groundwater
3150 mm (11.2 km3)
3390 mm (12 km3)
320 mm (1.1 km3)
The relief of the bottom is uniform and flat, gradually rising near
the shores and covered with silt, and in some places with sand. The
deepest point of 15.3 m is located in the Teploe Lake, 300 m from the
The lake is well-flowing, with the annual inflow of water equal to
about half of the total water volume.
The lake water is fresh, with a low transparency of about 2.5 m due to
plankton and suspended sediments caused by the river flow. Water
currents are weak (5–9 cm/s); they are induced by the wind and
stop when it ceases. However, during the spring flood, there is a
constant surface current from north to south (it does not make
Because of the shallow depth, the lake quickly warms up and cools
down. Water temperature reaches 25–26 °C in July. The lakes
freeze in late November – early December and thaws in late April –
early May, first lakes Teploe and Pihkva and then lake Peipus.
Shoreline at Mustvee
Map of pools of Narva and Lake Peipsi
Basin and islands
About 30 rivers flow into the lake. The largest are Velikaya and
Emajõgi, smaller rivers include Zadubka, Cherma, Gdovka, Kuna,
Torohovka, Remda, Rovya, Chernaya, Lipenka, Startseva, Borovka, Abija,
Obdeh, Piusa, Võhandu, Kodza, Kargaya, Omedu, Tagajõgi and Alajõgi.
The lake is drained by only one river, the Narva into the Baltic
The lake contains 29 islands with a total area of 25.8 km2, with
40 more islands located within the delta of the Velikaya River. The
islands are low wetlands, elevated above the lake surface on average
by only 1–2 m (maximum 4.5 m) and therefore suffer from floods. The
largest islands are
Piirissaar (area 7.39 km2, located in the
southern part of Lake Peipus),
Kolpino (area 11 km2, in the
Pihkva Lake) and Kamenka (area 6 km2). In the center of Pihkva
Lake there is a group of Talabski Islands (Talabsk, Talabenets and
Flora and fauna
The lake hosts 54 species of coastal aquatic flora, including cane,
calamus (Acorus calamus), bulrush, grass rush, lesser bulrush (Typha
angustifolia) and water parsnip (Sium latifolium). Floating plants are
rare and are of only three types: arrowhead, yellow water-lily and
water knotweed. The lake is home to perch, pike-perch, bream,
roaches, whitefishes, smelt and other species of fish. The wetlands
of the coastal strip of the lake are important resting and feeding
grounds for swans, geese and ducks migrating between the
White Sea and
Baltic Sea and western Europe. Lake Peipsi is one of the main
stopovers for Bewick's swan (Cygnus columbianus). The swans leave
their breeding grounds in the Russian
Arctic 1,600 km away and
the lake is the first stop for many. Bewick's rarely fly more than
1,900 km without fueling so they are near to the limits of their
endurance when they reach the lake.
The ecological condition of the lake basin is, in general,
satisfactory – water is mostly of grades I and II (clean), and is of
grade III in some rivers due to the high content of phosphorus. The
water condition of the rivers has improved since 2001–2007, but
there is an increase in population of blue-green algae. The main
Lake Peipus is its eutrophication.
The towns standing on the banks are relatively small and include
Mustvee (population 1,610),
Kallaste (population 1,260) and Gdov
(population 4,400). The largest city,
Pskov (population 202,000)
stands on the Velikaya River, 10 km from the lake. Ship
navigation is well developed and serves fishery, transport of goods
and passengers and tourist tours. The picturesque shores
of the lake are a popular destination for tourism and recreation at
several tourist camps and sanatoriums.
In 1242, the southern part of
Lake Peipus hosted a major historical
Teutonic Knights were defeated by the Russian troops from
Novgorod led by Alexander Nevsky. The battle is remarkable in that it
was mostly fought on the frozen surface of the lake and is therefore
called the Battle on the Ice.
The largest city on the lake, Pskov, is also one of the oldest cities
in Russia, known from at least 903 AD from a record in the Primary
Chronicle of the Laurentian Codex. Several historical
buildings remain in the city, including
Mirozhsky Monastery (1156,
which contains famous frescoes of 14–17th centuries),
(14–17th centuries) with the five-domed Trinity Cathedral
(1682–1699), churches of Ivanovo (until 1243), Snetogorsky monastery
(13th century), Church of Basil (1413), Church of Cosmas and Damian
(1462), Church of St. George (1494) and others.
Gdov was founded in 1431 as a fortress and became a city in 1780;
the only remains of the historical
Gdov Kremlin are three fortress
Kallaste was founded in the 18th century by the Old
Believers who had fled from the
Novgorod area, and there is
still a functional
Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church
Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church in the town. Near
Kallaste, there is one of the largest surfacings of
with a length of 930 m and a maximum height of 8 m, as well as several
caves and one of the largest colonies of swallows in Estonia.
^ Lake Peipus. Encyclopædia Britannica online
^ a b c "Chudsko-Pskovskoe ozero". Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
^ (in Russian) Russian lakes with area of more than 350 km². (GIF
table). Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ Encyclopedic Dictionary of Geography: Geographical names – Moscow:
Soviet Encyclopedia. 1983, p. 488.
^ a b c d e Sokolov AA Hydrography of the USSR L.: Gidrometeoizdat,
^ a b Tourist Encyclopedia. Peipsi-
Pskov Lake. Outdoors.ru. Retrieved
^ a b c study the situation of the ports on the
Narva River Archived
2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine.. Arhiv.ivangorod.ru. Retrieved on
^ a b c lakes and rivers south of Estonia, the islands[dead link]
^ By Peipus pond Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine..
Zachetka.ru. Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ "Публичная кадастровая карта".
pkk5.rosreestr.ru. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
^ Fish and Lake
Pskov region. Lakes. Pskovfish.ru. Retrieved on 19
^ a b Tourist portal. Svali.ru (2008-01-28). Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ Newth, Julia (November 2016). "Race against time". BBC Wildlife. 34
^ Minutes of the eleventh meeting of the Joint Russian-Estonian
commission for the protection and rational use of transboundary
^ TrevelTurs. Peipsi-
Pskov lake system Archived 2016-03-04 at the
Wayback Machine.. Traveltours.ru. Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ Transport of
Pskov Oblast. All-transport.info. Retrieved on
Pskov region. Peipsi and Lake Pskov. noveltour.ru
^ More and more foreigners resting on Lake Peipus. Megatis.ru
(2002-08-08). Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ Tourist Encyclopedia. Vladsc.narod.ru. Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ Tony Jaques (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: F-O. Greenwood
Publishing Group. p. 564. ISBN 0-313-33538-9.
^ Toivo Miljan (2004). Historical dictionary of Estonia. Scarecrow
Press. p. 299. ISBN 0-8108-4904-6.
^ "Pskov". Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
^ Wladyslaw Duczko (2004). Viking Rus: studies on the presence of
Scandinavians in Eastern Europe. BRILL. p. 114.
^ ancient city of Pskov. Old-pskov.ru. Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
^ "Gdov". Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
Gdov Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine.. mygdov.ru (in
^ Kallaste. A bit of history. Moles.ee (2000-06-28). Retrieved on
^ Old Believer community Kallaste. Starover.ee. Retrieved on
^ Russian site about the city Kallaste. Kallaste.ucoz.org
(2012-01-04). Retrieved on 2012-01-21.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lake Peipus.
360° aerial panorama of Peipus and Piirissaar
Peipsi Infokeskus Estonian tourist information website
Settlements in the vicinity of Lake Peipsi Estonica