TARTU (Estonian pronunciation: ,
South Estonian : Tarto) is the
second largest city of
Estonia , after Estonia's political and
Tartu is often considered the intellectual centre of the country,
especially since it is home to the nation's oldest and most renowned
University of Tartu . The city also houses the Supreme
Estonia , the Ministry of Education and Research and the new
impressive building of the
Estonian National Museum opened to public
on October 2016.
It is also the birthplace of Estonian Song Festivals .
Situated 186 kilometres (116 miles) southeast of
Tallinn and 245
kilometres (152 miles) northeast of Riga,
Tartu lies on the Emajõgi
("Mother river"), which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia. The
city is served by
Tartu Airport .
* 1 Names and etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Beginnings
* 2.2 Medieval bishopric
* 2.3 Swedish and Polish rule
* 2.4 Imperial
* 2.5 First independence period
* 2.6 Soviet period
* 2.7 Modern era
* 3 Climate
* 4 Government
* 5 Economy
* 6 Population
* 7 Neighbourhoods
* 8 Education and culture
* 9 Science
* 10 Main sights
* 11 Sports
* 12 Notable people
* 13 International relations
* 13.1 Twin towns – Sister cities
* 14 Gallery
* 15 See also
* 16 References
* 17 External links
NAMES AND ETYMOLOGY
Names of Tartu in different languages
Since 1918, the Estonian name
Tartu has been used, but as the town
has come under control of various rulers throughout its history, there
have been various names for it in different languages. Most of them
derive ultimately from the earliest attested form, the Estonian
Tarbatu. In German, Swedish and Polish the town has been known and is
sometimes still referred to as DORPAT (help ·info ), a variant of
Tarbatu. In Russian, the city has been known as Юрьев (Yur′yev,
after Yuri , the baptismal name of Grand Prince
Yaroslav I the Wise )
and as Дерпт (Derpt, from the
Low German variant of Dorpat).
Similarly, the city has been known as Tērbata in Latvian , while
Finnish -speakers use the toponym Tartto.
The city of
Tartu in 1533
Archaeological evidence of the first permanent settlement on the site
Tartu dates to as early as the 5th century AD. By the 7th
century, local inhabitants had built a wooden fortification on the
east side of Toome Hill (Toomemägi).
The first documented record of the area was made in 1030 by
Kievan Rus .
Yaroslav I the Wise , Prince of
invaded the region that year, built his own fort there, and named it
Yuryev (literally "Yury's" –
Yury (a Russified form of George)
being Yaroslav's Christian name). Kievan rulers then collected tribute
from the surrounding ancient Estonian county of
Ugaunia , possibly
until 1061, when, according to chronicles, Yuryev was burned down by
Estonian tribe called Sosols. Kievan Rus' again controlled
1133 for an unknown period, possibly up to 1176/1177. In the 12th
Tartu was the most notable Slavic settlement in Chud
Estonian amateur historian Enn Haabsaar speculates that the "Yuryev"
mentioned in this context is actually
Bila Tserkva , Ukraine, a town
that was also founded by
Yaroslav I the Wise as Yuriev about the same
time, 1032. His views have been criticized by historian Ain Mäesalu
Tartu Cathedral ruins
During the period of
Northern Crusades in the beginning of the 13th
century the fort of Tarbatu (or Tharbata, Tartu) was captured by the
Livonian Knights — also known as the Brothers of the Sword
(German: Schwertbrüder) — and recaptured by
Estonians on several
occasions. In 1224, after
Ugaunia had recognized the supremacy of
Pskov princes who sent additional troops led by prince
Vyachko of Kukenois to the fort, it was besieged and conquered for one
last time by the German crusaders. Subsequently, known as Dorpat
Tartu became a commercial centre of considerable
importance during the later
Middle Ages and the capital of the
Bishopric of Dorpat .
In 1262 the army of Prince
Dmitri of Pereslavl , son of Alexander
Nevsky launched an assault on Dorpat, capturing and destroying the
town. His troops did not manage to capture the bishop's fortress on
Toome Hill. The event was recorded both in German and Old East Slavic
chronicles, which also provided the first record of a settlement of
German merchants and artisans which had arisen alongside the bishop's
In medieval times, after the Livonian Order was subsumed into the
Teutonic Knights in 1236, the town became an important trading city.
In the 1280s Dorpat joined the
Hanseatic League . As in all of Estonia
and Latvia, the largely German-speaking nobility, but in Tartu/Dorpat
(as in Tallinn) even more so, the Baltic German bourgeoisie, the
literati, dominated culture, religion, architecture, education, and
politics until the late 19th century. For example, the town hall of
Dorpat was designed by an architect from
while the university buildings were designed by Johann Wilhelm Krause,
another German. Many, if not most, of the students, and more than 90
percent of the faculty members were of German descent, and numerous
statues of notable scholars with German names can still be found in
Tartu today. Most
Germans left during the first half of the 20th
century, in particular as part of the
Heim ins Reich program of the
Nazis, following the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 1939.
SWEDISH AND POLISH RULE
University of Tartu main building.
In 1558, tsar
Ivan the Terrible invaded
Tartu beginning the Livonian
War . Dorpat was captured without a fight and the local bishop was
imprisoned in Moscow, which effectively ended the period of local
self-government. In the effect of the
Truce of Jam Zapolski of 1582
the city along with southern regions of
Livonian Confederation became
part of the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . In 1598 it became the
capital of the
Dorpat Voivodeship of the Duchy of Livonia . A Jesuit
grammar school "Gymnasium Dorpatense" was established in 1583. In
addition, a translators' seminary was organized in
Tartu and the city
received its red and white flag from the Polish king Stephen Báthory
The activities of both the grammar school and the seminary were
stopped by the Polish–Swedish War . Already in late 1600 the forces
Charles IX of Sweden
Charles IX of Sweden besieged the city defended by three banners of
reiters and the city's burghers. Despite repeated assaults, the Swedes
could not enter the city. Finally in 1601 Capt. Hermann Wrangel
switched sides, assaulted the castellan and opened the gates for the
Swedish forces. The town was retaken by Poland on 13 April 1603
following a brief siege led by hetman
Jan Karol Chodkiewicz ; roughly
1000 Swedish soldiers surrendered and were escorted to
In the effect of yet another Polish-Swedish War , in 1625
once again captured by Sweden, this time for good. In the effect of
Truce of Altmark the city became part of the Dominions of
Sweden , which led to the foundation of the
University of Tartu in
1632 by king
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden .
The Stone Bridge and the Old Town in 1860
Treaty of Nystad in 1721, the city became part of the
Russian Empire and was known as Derpt. Fires in the 18th century
destroyed much of the medieval architecture, the Great Fire of Tartu
in 1775 removed most of the buildings in the centre. The city was
rebuilt along Late Baroque and Neoclassical lines including the Tartu
Town Hall which was built between 1782 and 1789.
During the second half of the 19th century,
Tartu was the cultural
Estonians in the era of
Romantic nationalism . The city
hosted Estonia's first song festival in
Vanemuine , the first
national theatre, was established in 1870.
Tartu was also the setting
for the foundation of the Society of Estonian Writers in 1872.
Tartu Town Hall
Tartu railway station was opened in 1876 when Tapa –
Tartu route was
built. The station building was opened in 1877.
In 1893, the city was officially retitled to the ancient Russian name
Yuryev. The university was subsequently russified from 1895 on with
the introduction of compulsory Russian in teaching. Much of the
university property was relocated to
Voronezh in 1918 and during the
German occupation the University worked under the name
Landesuniversität Dorpat. During the Estonian War of Independence
Tartu was re-opened as an
Estonian language university
on 1 December 1919.
FIRST INDEPENDENCE PERIOD
With Estonian independence after World War I, the city officially
became known by the Estonian name Tartu. At the end of Estonian War of
Independence following World War I, a peace treaty between the
Estonia was signed on 2 February 1920 in
Tartu ). The treaty meant that Soviet
Russia renounced territorial
Estonia "for all time". However, as a result of the
Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, the
Soviet Union occupied
Estonia and Tartu
Peace treaty between Soviet
Finland was also signed in
Tartu in 1920.
During the interwar period
Tähtvere neighbourhood was built, former
Raadi Manor buildings started to house Estonian National Museum
Tartu Offensive in 1944) and art school Pallas was
During World War II, a large part of the city as well as the
historical Kivisild (Stone Bridge) (built by
Catherine II of Russia in
1776–1778) over the
Emajõgi river were destroyed by the German
Army, partly in 1941 and almost completely in 1944. Already heavily
Tartu was bombed by Soviet forces on 27 January 1943, 26
February 1944, 7–8 March 1944, and 25–26 March 1944. After the war
ended, much of the historical downtown area was left in ruins. Even
the less damaged buildings in entire city blocks were torn down by the
order of the occupational authorities and large swaths of land turned
into public parks.
After the war,
Tartu was declared a "closed town" to foreigners, as
an air base for bombers was constructed on
Raadi Airfield , in the
northeast outskirts of the city. It was one of the biggest military
air bases in Eastern Europe and housed intercontinental fighters, that
carried nuclear bombs. The location itself was where the Estonian 2nd
Air Division was situated prior to the Soviet occupation. The asphalt
runway there now houses a large used cars market, and is sometimes
used for automotive racing.
Tartu Airport was opened in south of city in 1946. Besides the
Estonian Aviation Academy was established in 1993 and Estonian
Aviation Museum was opened to the public in 2002. Estonian
National Museum by international architects Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh
and Tsuyoshi Tane (DGT)
During Soviet times the population of
Tartu almost doubled from
57,000 to 100,000, partly due to mass immigration from other areas of
the Soviet Union.
AHHAA Science Centre
Estonia regained its independence in 1991, the old town centre
is being renovated. Notably, St. John\'s Church , in ruins since World
War II, has been restored.
Many new commercial and business buildings have been erected (Tartu
Shopping Center, Tasku, Emajõe Commercial Center, Lõunakeskus,
Kvartal etc.). Highest residential building and local landmark
Tigutorn was opened in 2008.
AHHAA relocated to a new building in 2011 and Estonian
National Museum , the new main building was opened in 2016.
Tartu lies within the temperate humid continental climate zone. The
climate is rather mild considering the high latitude, largely due to
the proximity of the Baltic Sea and warm airflows from the Atlantic.
Nevertheless, continental influence can be felt on hot summer days and
cold spells in winter, when temperature can occasionally (but rarely)
drop below −30 °C (−22 °F). Generally, summers are cool to warm
and winters are cold.
CLIMATE DATA FOR TARTU (TõRAVERE) 1981–2010
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Source: Estonian Weather Service
There are 49 members on the town council, elected by residents every
four years using a proportional system of representation.
The executive branch of the town government consists of a mayor and
five deputy mayors. The current mayor is Urmas Klaas .
Andrus Ansip ,
Prime Minister of
Estonia from 2005 to 2014, was mayor of
1998 to 2004. The position was later served by other politicians who
eventually became ministers of government, Laine Jänes and Urmas
Kruuse . All of them are members of the
Estonian Reform Party , which
has dominated in
Tartu since 1998.
Mostly known as a university town,
Tartu is also a site of heavy
industry. The food industry has traditionally been important for the
town's economy and some bigger companies in the field include A. Le
Tartu Mill and Salvest . Kroonpress is the leading printing
press company the Baltic States.
In the beginning of the 21st century, many ICT enterprises and other
high-tech companies have taken a foothold in Tartu. Notable examples
Nortal (formerly Webmedia Group),
ZeroTurnaround , Tarkon, Regio and Raintree Estonia.
Skype has an
office in Tartu. The university is one of the largest employers, which
explains the large proportion of highly skilled professionals –
researchers, professors, doctors, and
Tartu University Clinic has been
considered the largest employer of Tartu.
group STATISTICS 2017
Tartu's historic population is presented in the following table,
based on data from official censuses since 1881 and Estonian
Statistical Office. Note that the data up to 2011 is not directly
comparable to the most recent numbers, as the methodology of compiling
population statistics has changed.
Tartu is officially divided into 17 neighbourhoods, which carry no
administrative purposes. Their names and borders are defined.
KESKLINN ANNELINN KARLOVA IHASTE Ropka
tööstusrajoon JAAMAMõISA Raadi-
Kruusamäe ÜLEJõE SUPILINN TäHTVERE ROPKA VEERIKU VARIKU
TAMMELINN RäNILINN Maarja-
Ropka industrial district
A memorial to
Oscar Wilde and
Eduard Vilde The fountain
"Kissing Students" (Estonian : Suudlevad Tudengid) reminds visitors
University of Tartu and its students have a profound effect
on life in Tartu.
EDUCATION AND CULTURE
The city is best known for being home to the
University of Tartu ,
founded under King
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632. Mainly for
Tartu is also – tongue-in-cheek – known as "
the Emajõgi" or as "Heidelberg of the North".
Tartu is also the seat of the
Estonian University of Life Sciences ,
Baltic Defence College ,
Estonian Aviation Academy (formerly known
Tartu Aviation College), and the Estonian Ministry of Education and
Research. Other notable institutions include the Supreme Court of
Estonia (re-established in
Tartu in autumn 1993), the Estonian
Historical Archives ,
Estonian National Museum , Estonian Sports
Museum as well as the oldest and renowned theatre in the country,
Vanemuine , where they have a well-respected ballet company as well as
theatre, opera and musical productions.
In music, there exists the
Tartu school of composition .
Tartu has been an intellectual centre of both
Estonia and Baltic
countries for several centuries. Scholars hailing from
the pioneer of embryology
Karl Ernst von Baer , a pioneer of animal
Jakob von Uexküll , and a cultural theorist and
Juri Lotman .
Tartu School is one of the leading
scientific schools in the field of semiotics .
St. John's Church Interior
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 (Estonian :
Jaani Kirik, German: Johanneskirche), 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 .
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
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
Gunpowder Cellar of Tartu .
Annually, in the summer,
Tartu hosts the Hanseatic Days festival
(Estonian : Hansapäevad) to celebrate its Hanseatic heritage. The
festival includes events such as handicraft markets, historic
workshops and jousting tournaments.
Tartu is the home for basketball club
Tartu Ülikool/Rock , which is
participating in the
Korvpalli Meistriliiga , the Baltic Basketball
League and the
JK Tammeka Tartu , one of the
Meistriliiga clubs, is
located in Tartu.
Tartu is also the hometown of
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov , captain of
Team Secret , a professional
Dota 2 team. He won the first
International , and was runner-up two years in a row with Natus
The 2017 World Orienteering Championships will be held in Tartu.
George Hackenschmidt (1 August 1877 – 19 February 1968),
strongman, professional wrestler, writer and philosopher.
Lauri Aus (4 November 1970 – 20 July 2003) professional road
Rein Taaramäe (1987) professional road cyclist
Elisabeth Erm (1993) Fashion Model
Leonid Kulik (19 August 1883 – 14 April 1942) Russian
TWIN TOWNS – SISTER CITIES
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in
Tartu is twinned with:
Bærum , Norway
Deventer , Netherlands
Ferrara , Italy
* Frederiksberg ,
* (now )
Armenia (signed in Soviet times)
Hafnarfjörður , Iceland
Hämeenlinna , Finland
Kaunas , Lithuania
Lüneburg , Germany
Pskov , Russia
Riga , Latvia
* Salisbury , United States
Tampere , Finland
Turku , Finland
Uppsala , Sweden
Veszprém , Hungary
Zutphen , Netherlands
University of Tartu main building
University of Tartu Botanical Gardens
Cathedral ruins and
University of Tartu museum
Angel's Bridge at dusk in winter
Teller chapel in Tartu, Estonia. Built in 1794
Barclay de Tolly
Hanseatic Days celebration
Sailing barge Jõmmu on
Tartu Town Hall Square
Song Festival Museum
"Little House" of the
University of Tartu
Tartu University Library
Tartu University Library
* ^ A B "Population number, area and density, 1 January".
Estonia . Retrieved 25 November 2015.
Tartu – the intellectual centre of
* ^ Jonathan Bousfield The Rough Guide to Estonia,
Lithuania. Rough Guides UK. Page 126
* ^ Sergey Chernov. Tartu: Estonia\'s Intellectual and Theater
Capital The Moscow Times, Dec. 24 2012
* ^ "Tartu".
Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 26 January 2013.
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Jurjev oli tõenäoliselt siiski Tartu" (in Estonian).
Retrieved 26 January 2013.
* ^ Tvauri, Andres (2012). The Migration Period, Pre-Viking Age,
and Viking Age in Estonia. pp. 33, 59, 60. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
* ^ Mäesalu, Ain (2012). "Could Kedipiv in East-Slavonic
Chronicles be Keava hill fort?" (PDF). Estonian Journal of
Archaeology. 1: 199. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
* ^ Freymuth, Otto (1927). "
Tartu orduajal" (in Estonian).
Retrieved 26 January 2013.
* ^ Юрьев уездный город Лифляндской
губернии (IN RUSSIAN). DIC.ACADEMIC.RU. 14 MARCH 1957.
RETRIEVED 6 MAY 2009.
* ^ Haabsaar, E. Kas Vene kroonikate Jurjev oli tõepoolest Tartu?
Anti Selart , Ivar Leimus , Linda Kaljundi ,
Heiki Valk .
Ristiretked ja vallutussõjad 13. sajandi Liivimaal, in "Eesti ajalugu
II. Eesti keskaeg." Editor Anti Selart.
Tartu 2012. Pp. 52—53
* ^ The Town Hall of Tartu, tartu.ee, retrieved 27 December 2013
* ^ "Climate normals-Temperature". Estonian Weather Service.
Retrieved 24 September 2016.
* ^ "Climate normals-Precipitation". Estonian Weather Service.
Retrieved 24 September 2016.
* ^ "Climate normals-Humidity". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved
24 September 2016.
* ^ "Climate normals-Sunshine". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved
24 September 2016.
* ^ "
Tartu Linnavolikogu liikmete nimekiri". Tartu.ee. 17 November
2009. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
* ^ "Linnavalitsuse koosseis". Tartu.ee. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 21
* ^ Statistics Estonia: General Data for 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934,
1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 Censuses
* ^ "Population by sex, age group and county, 1 January".
Statistics Estonia. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
* ^ Statistics Estonia: Population indicators and composition.
Definitions and methodology.
* ^ "International Teams".
Valve Corporation . Retrieved 20 Jul
* ^ http://www.woc2017.ee
* ^ "
Tartu sõpruslinnad" (in Estonian). Tartu. Retrieved 1 May
* ^ "
Frederiksberg Municipality – Twin Towns" (in Danish). ]2007
-2009 Frederiksberg Municipality. Archived from the original on 15
June 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2009. External link in publisher=
* ^ "
Tartu arendab suhteid Armeenia linna Gümriga" (in Estonian).
Äripäev . 16 November 2004. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to TARTU .
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for TARTU .
* Official website
* Tourism website
* University of Tartu
* Maps of
Tartu (in Estonian)