The City of Good Thoughts
Tartu is a university town and a city of youth! The time-honoured university, museum-rich and Hanseatic city of Tartu lies on the banks of the River Emajõgi. The capital of southern Estonia is the second largest city in the country ( but the largest in terms of student population!) and the oldest in the Baltic States. Tartu is a modern city with a rich historical heritage and culture.
Top things to see and do
Old town – home of culture and good flavours
In Summer, the historical Town Hall Square is full of people catching up with their friends around café tables, enjoying the delicious food or the view of the Emajõgi River, taking photos by the Kissing Students fountain or being astonished by the ’leaning house’. In Tartu’s Old Town, you will also find the Medieval St. John’s Church, which is unique in Europe due to its almost 1,000 terracotta sculptures. While the streets of Old Town give you a sense of the city’s unique atmosphere, the numerous restaurants and cafées give you the tastes of Tartu. We guarantee that you will find reasons to come back for more.
The University of Tartu’s historic architectual ensamble
The Main Building of the University of Tartu is one of the pearls of the city. It is an outstanding example of classicist architecture in Estonia. All important events in the life of the university have been celebrated in its main hall. On Toome Hill, you’ll find the historical ruins of the Dome Cathedral, which houses the History Museum of the University of Tartu, as well as the Old Obervatory and the Devil’s and Angel’s Bridges. These are all part of the rich history of one of the oldest universities in the Nordic region, founded in 1632. This unique architectural ensemble has also earned the European Heritage label.
Museums and Estonian National Museum
Tartu houses several museums: the University of Tartu Museums, the Tartu City Museum, the Song Festival Museum, the Tartu Toy Museum and the biggest science centre in the Baltics – AHHAA. Just outside of Tartu you can also find museums covering agriculture, aviation and the Ice Age. In autumn 2016, the Estonian National Museum, located on a former Soviet airbase, opens its doors. It is enormous, both in its parameters (its full area is 40 000 m2) and in the rich history it presents inside.
Wooden districts of Tartu: Soup Town and Karlova
Strolling down the streets of Supilinn (’Soup town’) and Karlova takes us back to another time, with all the cosy backyards, greenery and picket fences reminiscent of life in the previous century. You know it’s the 21st century by the artistic graffiti that decorates these districts. The bohemian Supilinn, close to Emajõgi River, gets its name from its street names: Herne (pea), Kartul (potato), Oa (bean) etc. In Karlova, take some time to pop into the creative centre Aparaaditehas or one of the many cosy cafées. If you want to learn more about the history of these districts, we kindly reccommend hiring a guide.
The spirit of Tartu is liberal and the city is full of movement and excitement, whatever the season. Whether you’re a culture vulture or a sportaholic, you’re sure to find something of interest, be it the auto24 Rally Estonia or the Hanseatic Days, the ’tARTuFF’ love film festival, the Emajõgi River Festival or the ’Stencibility’ Street Art Festival. Cultural venues vary from classical theatres and concert halls to lively pubs and alternative clubs
Find out more about Tartu: http://www.visittartu.com