Tartu (formerly known as Dorpat or Yuryev) is the second largest city in Estonia with a population of 100,000. Tartu is a Hanseatic city and university city. It is the oldest town in Estonia dating back to 1030. Its ancient name “Tarbatu” was shortened to “Tartu” in Estonian and to “Dorpat” in German. Although large parts of the city were destroyed during World War II, Tartu still has a charming old town surrounded by large parks (some of which were completely built up neighborhoods before the war).

Tartu is located 185 km southeast of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The Emajõgi River, which connects the two largest lakes in Estonia, flows within the city for 10 km.

Tourist Information Center, Raekoja plats (part of the town hall building), +372 744 21 11, fax: +372 744 21 11, e-mail: tartu@visitestonia.com. Sat 10: 00-17: 00, Sunday 10: 00-16: 00. Located on the first floor of the Tartu Town Hall.

Since Tartu is a student city, English is widely understood. As usual, older people often speak only Estonian and Russian.



The architecture and urban planning of historic Tartu mainly date back to the pre-independence period, when the Germans form the upper and middle classes of society and therefore many architects, professors and local politicians are involved.

The most famous are the old Lutheran church of St. John (Estonian: Jaani Kirik, German: Johanneskirche), the 18th century town hall, the university building, the 13th century cathedral ruins, botanical gardens, the main shopping street, many buildings around the Town Hall Square and Barclay Square.

The Supilinn (Soup Town) Slum Historic District is located on the banks of the Emajõgi River, close to the city center and is considered one of the few surviving "poor" districts in 19th century Europe. Nowadays Supilinn is rapidly renewing itself, undergoing a slow transformation from a historic slum into a prestigious high-end area. The active community embodied in the Supilinn Society is committed to preserving heritage.

World War II destroyed much of the city center and many new buildings were built during the Soviet occupation, in particular the new theater Vanemuine. The aftermath of the war still testifies to the relative abundance of parks and greenery in the historic center. Typical Soviet-style blocks of flats were built between World War II and the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991, the largest of which was Annelinn.

Today Tartu is also known for several modern buildings in the “steel, concrete and glass” variant, but it has managed to keep the mix of old and new buildings in the city center. Notable examples include the Tigutorn Tower and the Emajõe Center, built during the current independence period; The tallest and second tallest towers in Tartu, respectively. Tartu's large student population means that it has a relatively thriving nightlife with many nightclubs, bars and restaurants, including the world's highest-ceilinged pub in the historic Tartu Gunpowder Cellar.

Every summer, Tartu hosts the Hanseatic Days Festival (Estonian: Hansapäevad), dedicated to its Hanseatic heritage. The festival includes activities such as craft markets, history workshops and wrestling tournaments.