Tartu, the spiritual center of Estonia

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: European Union, General, European Capital of Culture
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Town Hall Square with fountain The Kissing Students © Alinozka/cc-by-sa-3.0

Town Hall Square with fountain The Kissing Students © Alinozka/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia, following Estonia’s political and financial capital Tallinn, Tartu is often considered the intellectual centre of the country, especially since it is home to the nation’s oldest and most renowned university, the University of Tartu. Tartu has been an intellectual centre of both Estonia and Baltic countries for several centuries. The city also houses the Supreme Court of Estonia and the Ministry of Education and Research. Situated 186 kilometres (116 miles) southeast of Tallinn, Tartu is the centre of southern Estonia and lies on the Emajõgi (“Mother river”), which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia. The city is served by Tartu Airport.

The architecture and city planning of historical Tartu mainly go back to the pre-independence period, with Germans forming the upper and middle classes of society, and therefore contributing many architects, professors and local politicians. Most notable are the old Lutheran St. John’s Church, the 18th-century town hall, the university building, ruins of the 13th-century cathedral, the botanical gardens, the main shopping street, many buildings around the town hall square and Barclay Square.

University of Tartu - Main building © BigFlyingSaucer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Town Hall © Ivar Leidus/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Old Observatory © BigFlyingSaucer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Raekoja Square © Nileve/cc-by-sa-3.0 Tartu Art Museum © Alinozka/cc-by-sa-3.0 Town Hall Square with fountain The Kissing Students © Alinozka/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Town Hall Square with fountain The Kissing Students © Alinozka/cc-by-sa-3.0
The historical slum area called Supilinn (Soup Town) is located on the bank of river Emajõgi, near the town centre and is regarded as one of the few surviving “poor” neighbourhoods of 19th-century Europe. At the moment Supilinn is being rapidly renovated, undergoing a slow transformation from the historic slum into a prestigious high-class neighborhood. The active community embodied by the Supilinn Society is committed to preserving the heritage. The Second World War destroyed large parts of the city centre and during the Soviet occupation many new buildings were erected – notably the new Vanemuine Theater. The effects of the war are still witnessed by the relative abundance of parks and greenery in the historic centre. Typical Soviet-style neighbourhoods of blocks of high-rise flats were built between World War II and the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991, the largest such district being Annelinn.

Presently, Tartu is also known for several modern buildings of the “steel, concrete and glass” variation, but has managed to retain a mix of old and new buildings in the centre of town. Notable examples include the Tigutorn Tower and the Emajõe Centre, both built during the current period of independence; Tartu’s tallest and second tallest towers, respectively. Tartu’s large student population means that it has a comparatively thriving nightlife, with many nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, including the world’s highest-ceiling pub, in the historic Gunpowder Cellar of Tartu. Annually, in the summer, Tartu hosts the Hanseatic Days festival to celebrate its Hanseatic heritage. The festival includes events such as handicraft markets, historic workshops and jousting tournaments.

Read more on City of Tartu, VisitTartu.com, VisitEstonia.com – Tartu, University of Tartu, Tartu Airport and Wikipedia Tartu. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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