Tartu is opposite of Estonia’s other concrete-gray, medium-sized cities. In Tartu, it is being invested in renovation and renewal. Take a sightseeing tour of the city.


Tartu’s modern part.

Tartu is located in the southeastern part of Estonia to the population, it’s Estonia’s second largest city.

Tartu was Swedish

For Sweden, Tartu had a relatively large significance during the 17th century. Tartu, then called Dorpat, was in the historic Livland. Here Gustav II Adolf introduced Sweden’s third court of appeal, founded a university and produced Estonia’s first printing press.


Pedestrian street in the old town.

During the early 1700’s, Tartu fell under Russian control and the city experienced a decline in which, among other things, the population was halved.tartu-estonia-4

During the first part of the 20th century, Tartu developed into a cultural and industrial center. This occurred after Livland, had been shared between Estonia and Latvia.

Tartu under Soviet control

In 1940 the Soviet Union took the city. Soon there was hard fighting between the Soviet Union and the German war machine, which resulted in the destruction of large parts of the city.tartu-estonia-5

After World War II, Estonia became part of the Soviet Union under the name Estonian SSR. It was here that one of the Soviet Union’s most important aviation bases was set up and the city would soon be closed to third parties.

Buildings in the old town that was only lightly damaged were nevertheless torn to make room for concrete buildings.tartu-estonia-6

Like many other Estonian cities, a large part of the population was deported to Siberia. All while the air base was developed to receive nuclear-weapon carrying aircrafts. At the same time, the population doubled, mainly due to the large movement of Russians.

Like other times, the Soviet Union was progressive, Tartu disappeared from the maps, and instead only called the “object”.tartu-estonia-7

A statue of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf had been risen in 1928 on an initiative from Tartu University that he founded. By some reason, the statue was erased. The statue was restored in 1992 after a gypsum model from Gothenburg.



Tartu today

Today, Tartu is a medium-sized cozy city where large parts of the historical parts are rebuilt. There are several parks and altitude differences in the city that provide nice views.


The famous town hall, restored.

Tartu has a modern part with high rise buildings and shopping malls as well as the old parts, with the town hall in the center surrounded by nice cafes and restaurants.