The town of Tartu was founded almost a thousand years ago by the Russian duke Yaroslav the Wise. Tartu has been under the power of a bishop first, of the Swedish kingdom then and later under the Russian Empire. To witness the mix of cultures, the town also has also a German name: Dorpat. In the 17th century the Swedish king Gustav Adolf gave an order to create a university here, this is how Tartu University appeared.
When Estonia was merged to the Russian Empire in 1710, Tartu University became the first university of the Russian Empire. It is almost 400 years old and a modern high-class educational institution. On the hill and surrounded by a wall, you will see the picturesque ruins of Saint Peter’s Cathedral. Next to them, in the former powder cellar, is a pub with the highest ceilings in the world, 7 meters high.
Tartu is the city of monuments. The destinies of so many famous people are linked with Tartu, that their statues are everywhere. Scientists who studied or have been teachers in the University, heroes of national legends or just pieces of art created by modern sculptors. The town Hall Square is beautiful. A bell on the tower of the Town Hall plays a melody at midday. Next to the square flows the river Emajogi, the largest river in Estonia.
On the way to Tartu, you will pass 130 km of central Estonian land, discover the history of this part of Estonia and see the countryside. In Tartu you’ll have a 2 hour guided walk in the city center, which will finish on Town Hall square, you will have 1.5 hours of time on your own to have lunch in one of the cafes or restaurants and buy souvenirs reminding you of this beautiful town. After that you will be driven back to Tallinn.