Riispere is a large town and county in Karolia. It is the state capital of Taamramae and had 46,000 residents in 2014. The nearby settlement of Kautapieni has become a large suburb of the municipality.
Riispere is located in the central-eastern part of the Taamras range, around 100km north-west of Vasireii. The city is built in the flatter valley created by the three lakes that border it: Riisperejaarv, Aalasjarv and Maasriiasjaarv. The Taamras mountains border the city to all sides, but most closely to the north and west.
The town's high altitude (1000m) can also cause mild altitude sickness in visitors who live at sea level. The town's medical centre produce plenty of advice on how to acclimatise to the conditions.
Riispere experiences a cool temperate climate, although summers can be quite warm if conditions are right. The lakes and mountains produce a microclimate that can keep the air over town around 2"C warmer.
Riispere can experience two types of extreme weather; firstly heavy snowfall in the winter, which necessitates the fleet of snowplows the town council owns and other measures such as studded tyres on buses; and secondly the Fohn wind that can rush off the mountains at any time of year in certain conditions. The strength of the latter can be very dangerous and has been attributed to several fatal accidents, including trucks overturning and pedestrians being swept into the lakes. These have to some extent influenced the design of buildings in the town.
RVK and the Saisraud have a project based in the town jointly researching a scheme to use low-voltage currents to de-ice the rails.
Riispere is a relatively modern settlement and was a village as recently as 1780. In the nineteenth century the twin industries of slate and lumber extraction and alpine tourism caused the town to expand.
In 1932 a Latanian building complex was discovered during building in Kautapieni. Excavation quickly commenced and it was discovered to be amongst the finest preserved villas in the region, and evidence of Latanian influence in an area previously thought to be little colonised by the civilisation. Particularly significant were a series of mosaic floors, with dolphins and mythological creatures. A museum was built on the site in the 1970s.
Most of the buildings, although built in medieval style, are actually no earlier than the 1850s and Riispere is a prime example of Karolian Revival architecture. This does not prevent it being one of he most photographed town centres in the country. The large main church was constructed between 1840-1846 in the Romanesque revival style, albeit with several particularly Karolian cues. Most obvious amongst these is the 'flat' spire clad in copper along with the rest of the roof, which is in order to better cope with the strong winds that can rush off the mountains. It is possible to climb the tower to the viewing platform 70 metres above the town.
The Varashus building has been progressively added to in several expansions, such that it is actually bigger than the Liiduhus (the state parliament) a short distance away. The clock tower was added as an afterthought but is now the building's most famous feature.
Notable buildings and structures
- Sa. Jusi Keskkiirki (central church of St Joseph)
- Varashus (town hall) with its distinctive clock tower)
- Liiduhus (state parliament)
- Museum of the Taamras (art and history museum)
- Merchant's houses
- Bibliootekka (library)
- Signal House, now a branch of Viika tea house
- Riispere Ulikool, the high school
- Town bridge
The city has become (and is still growing as) the main tourist centre in the Taamras region and is used as a base to reach Kiisjaarvi and the mountain trails. This industry is estimated to generate around Kr50 million per year to the local economy. The town actually has two seasons, the summer and the winter which is mainly skiers. A modest tourist tax is levied on accommodation in the city to pay for environmental protection and provision of tourist services.
Skiwear firm Jõki have their headquarters in the town and their factory in Kautapieni.
Historically, slate mining and roof materials were important. Most of the town centre buildings have elaborate designs and bright colours on their roofs, particularly the Riisperepuhaniid 'Riispere reds'.
- Kollejia Tekniliinen
- Riispere Ulikool
- Anolas Kollejia
- Seppetiin Kool
- Monsa Gille Vaikekool
Riispere has two mainline stations: the Kastjaam, and a smaller regional stop at Kautapieni.
The narrow-gauge Saisraud has its main terminus in the town centre and is an important tourist attraction in the region. The line also has platforms at the Kastjaam, where it crosses the main lines at grade, at Torsjana, the railway's maintenance facility, and just outside the town at Jaarvi Milakai. The line gets quite busy in summer and winter peaks with tourist and ski traffic respectively.
The northern part of the A7 motorway runs a short distance to the west of the city. A motorway (provisionally designated A71) is currently under construction to connect Riispere to Vasireii, part of which will be an upgrade of the existing and frequently congested single-carriageway road. Smaller highways radiate into the mountains to connect Pekkamu, the shores of Kiisjaarvi and to the south.
Riispere has a municipal bus network operated by the state, as well as a long-distance bus station next to the railway station.