Sunday, April 21, 2019

Tartu, Estonia

Tartu is located in the southeast of Estonia on the Emajōgi River.  It is 176 km (109 miles) from Pärnu, 186 km (116 miles) from Tallinn and 245 (152 miles) from Riga.  It dates back to 1030 making ti the oldest city in the Baltics.  Tartu is a university town and with about 94,000 people it is the country's second largest city.

Over the centuries it has been ruled by the Germans, Russians, Poles, Swedes, Soviets, and Nazis.  After the war, while it was part of the Soviet Union, the city was closed to foreigners because just north of the city was one of the biggest air bases in Eastern Europe with aircraft carrying nuclear bombs.  Today the city is about 80% Estonian, 15% Russian, and 5% other.

The Tartu Statue of Liberty was unveiled in 1933 to honour those who died in the War of Independence (1918-1920).  It was destroyed in 1950 by the Soviets but restored and unveiled again in 2003.

The town hall was completed in 1789.

In 1998 the Kissing Students fountain was unveiled in front of the town hall.

The Old Anatomical Theatre was completed in 1805.  It was used as an anatomical theatre until 1999.  It is part of the University of Tartu which is the country's oldest university.  It is ranked amongst the top 400 of the world's most prestigious universities.

The Tähetorn Observatory was completed in 1810.  In 1825 it was rebuilt to hold, what was then, the biggest refractor in the world.
The more modern observatory is across from it at Toome Hill Park.

There was a cathedral built in the 13th century.  It was destroyed during the Livonian War and the ruins are near the university.

St. Peter's Church is a Lutheran church built in the 12th century.

St. John's Church was built in the 12th century.  It began as a Catholic Church but now it is part of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Tartu Toy Museum has over 5000 toys and is the biggest toy museum in the Baltics.  It opened in 1994 and in 2004 it moved to one of the city's oldest wooden buildings, dating back to the 1770s.

The 19th Century Tartu Citizen's Home Museum is located in a wooden house dating back to the 1740s.

The Tartu Art Museum was founded in 1940.

The Song Festival Museum opened in 2007.

The Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum was founded in 1963.  It was renovated in 2001 and it is the Baltic's largest sports museum.

Tartu is a charming little city.  Lots of parks to walk through and more museums than you can fit in a single day.

No comments:

Post a Comment