Тарту

Welcome to Tartu, the Athens of Emajõgi! This river city with rich cultural background, exquisite architecture and inspiring atmosphere has always been the Estonian science and culture capital.
From the menu bar on the right, please find information on Tartu’s history, museums and exciting leisure activities.

History

Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and often considered to be the country’s cultural and intellectual capital. Tartu University is the oldest one in Estonia, established in 1632 by Gustav II Adolf. The city also houses the first national theatre, Vanemuine – opened in 1870.

The first mentions of „Yuryev“ (Yuri’s City in Russian) date back to 1030, when according to Nestor’s Chronicles, Yaroslav the Wise conquered the riverbanks of Emajõgi.

The conquest of the ancient castle of Tarbatu in 1224 marked the end of the Livonian Crusade in Estonia. Tartu became one of the wealthiest cities in Old Livonia, mainly depending on trades between Russia and Western Europe. The golden age was ended by the Livonian war, during which the city was occupied by russians, poles and swedes at different times, finally ending up under liege of Sweden.

During the Swedish times, Academia Gustaviana (University of Tartu) was established in 1632. Also, Forselius Seminar for teachers was opened.

Tartu was soon conquered by the Russians during the Great Northern War. The russians deported all of Tartu’s citizens in 1708 and burned the city down. Devastated by the war, Tartu was mainly built of wooden shacks plagued by constant fires. In 1775, two thirds of the city was destroyed. As Tartu was rebuilt, it got its signature Stone Bridge from Catherine II.

In the 19th century, Tartu became the intellectual and cultural center it is now. The University was reopened in 1802, the newspaper Postimees was published here (up to present day), many societies were established, many of them playing the key role in National Awakening.

World War II destroyed major parts of Tartu, including the historical Stone Bridge, Estonian National Museum, Vanemuine and others. The city was closed to foreigners during the Soviet era, due to the air base for bombers, located in Raadi Airport.

Since Estonia re-gained its independence in 1991, a lot of Tartu’s old town centre has been renovated, including St John’s Church. Tartu remains to be the cultural and intellectual capital of Estonia, boasting an inspired academic atmosphere, fabulous scenery and unique history.

Weather

Tartu is located in the temperate climate zone. The mild weather is influenced by the vicinity of the Baltic sea and Atlantic currents. Estonian weather is often unpredictable and with heavy temperature differences – going from over +30 in summer to below -30 in winter. The best time for visiting Tartu is in May or September, when the city is colourful, warm and buzzing with life.

Museums


(EST) Tartu Ülikooli Ajaloo muuseum

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(EST) Tartu Ülikooli Loodusloomuuseum

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(EST) Vana Anatoomikum

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(EST) A.Le Coqi Õllemuuseum

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(EST) Tartu Ülikooli Botaanikaaed

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(EST) Tartu Mänguasjamuuseum

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(EST) Tartu Kunstimuuseum

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(EST) KGB Kongid

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(EST) Eesti Rahva Muuseumi näitusemaja

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