(Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtɑrtˑu]
, South Estonian
) is the second largest city of Estonia
, after Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn
. It is situated 186 kilometres (116 miles) southeast of Tallinn and 245 kilometres (152 miles) northeast of Riga
, the capital of Latvia
. The distance to Estonia's summer holiday capital Pärnu
in the west is 176 kilometres (109 miles) and the fastest route there by car is through Viljandi
. Tartu lies on the Emajõgi
("Mother river"), which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia, Lake Võrtsjärv
and Lake Peipus
. The city is served by Tartu Airport
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
the town has been known and is sometimes still referred to as Dorpat
), 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
, while Finnish
speakers use the toponym Tartto
Archaeological evidence of the first permanent settlement on the site of modern 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
Over the next centuries the settlement grew, and around 9th–10th centuries became an inland trading center.
The first documented record of the area was made in 1030 by chroniclers of Kievan Rus
. Yaroslav I the Wise
, Prince of Kiev
, invaded the region that year, built his own fort there, and named it Yuryev
Tartu remained under Russian control until 1061, when, according to chronicles, Yuryev was burned down by Estonian tribe called Sosols
Soon afterwards Estonians rebuilt the fort. In the 12th century Estonians on one side and Novgorod and Pskov on other side repeatedly raided each other. In those campaigns Russians captured Tartu in 1133 or 1134, and in winter of 1191–1192, but these temporary captures brought no lasting territorial changes.
The city of Tartu in 1533
During the period of Northern Crusades
in the beginning of the 13th century the fort of Tarbatu
, Tartu) was captured by the crusading Livonian Knights
— also known as the Brothers of the Sword
) — and recaptured by Estonians on several occasions. In 1224, after Ugaunia had recognized the supremacy of Novgorod
princes who sent additional troops led by prince Vyachko
to the fort, it was besieged and conquered
for one last time by the German crusaders.
Subsequently, known as Dorpat (Latin: Tarbatum
), Tartu became a commercial centre of considerable importance during the later Middle Ages
and the capital of the semi-independent 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 fortress.
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 Rostock
, 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
Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish rule
University of Tartu main building in 1860.
The activities of both the grammar school and the seminary were stopped by the Polish–Swedish War
. Already in late 1600 the forces of Charles IX of Sweden
besieged the city defended by three banners
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 Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth on 13 April 1603 following a brief siege led by hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz
; roughly 1000 Swedish soldiers surrendered and were escorted to Tallinn
The Stone Bridge and the Old Town in 1860
In 1704 the town was taken by the Russian army in the presence of tsar Peter the Great himself. As a result, around a quarter of the town and much of the fortifications were damaged. In 1708 the remainder of the fortifications and houses, including the remains of bishops castle, were blown up, all movable property was looted and all citizens deported to Russia. With the 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
lines including the Tartu Town Hall
which was built between 1782 and 1789.
In 1783 the city became the centre of Derpt uyezd
within the Governorate of Livonia
During the second half of the 19th century, Tartu was the cultural centre for Estonians in the era of Romantic nationalism
. The city hosted Estonia's first song festival
in 1869. 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.
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
the university of 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
. At the end of Estonian War of Independence
following World War I, a peace treaty between the Bolsheviks
and Estonia was signed on 2 February 1920 in Tartu (Treaty of Tartu
). The treaty meant that Soviet Russia
renounced territorial claims to Estonia "for all time". However, as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact
of 1939, the Soviet Union occupied Estonia and Tartu in 1940.
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 retreating Soviet Army, partly in 1941 and almost completely in 1944 by then retreating German Army. Already heavily damaged 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 swathes of land turned into public parks.
After the war, Tartu was declared a "closed town" to foreigners, as an airbase for bombers was constructed on Raadi Airfield
, in the northeast outskirts of the city. It was one of the biggest military airbases in Eastern Europe and housed strategic bombers, that carried nuclear bombs. The location itself was where the Estonian 2nd Air Division was situated prior to the Soviet occupation. The concrete runway there now houses a large used cars market and is sometimes used for automotive racing. On one end of an older strip of the runway, the new building of Estonian National Museum was built.
was opened in the south of the city in 1946. Besides the airport Estonian Aviation Academy
was established in 1993. Privately owned Estonian Aviation Museum
, which is 5 km to the East from the airport (7 km by car), was opened to the public in 2002. 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, mainly because of the military airbase.
AHHAA Science Centre
In 1988, after Estonia declared its sovereignty
from the USSR, elections were held for a newly independent City Council. Its first chair was the lawyer, Aino-Eevi Lukas
, who led the council from 1989 to 1993. Rebuilding from scratch, the council re-established the legal code and foreign relationships for in the post-independence era.
Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991, the old town centre has been 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.). The highest residential building and local landmark Tigutorn
was opened in 2008.
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 the temperature can occasionally (but rarely) drop below −30 °C (−22 °F). Generally, summers are warm and winters are cold.
The Tartu weather station is located in Tõravere village, which is about 20 kilometers from the city, so the actual temperature in the city may be slightly warmer than the official average temperatures.
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 Coq
, Tartu Mill
is the leading printing press company in the Baltic States.
At the beginning of the 21st century, many ICT
enterprises and other high-tech companies have taken a foothold in Tartu. Notable examples include Playtech
(formerly Webmedia Group), ZeroTurnaround
, Tarkon, Reach-U 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.
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.
Education and culture
Tartu has been an intellectual centre of both Estonia and the Baltic countries for several centuries. Scholars hailing from Tartu include the pioneer of embryology Karl Ernst von Baer
, a pioneer of animal behaviour studies Jakob von Uexküll
, and a cultural theorist and semiotician Juri Lotman
. Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz
, a Baltic German physician, naturalist, and entomologist, was born in Tartu. He was one of the earliest scientific explorers of the Pacific region, making significant collections of flora and fauna in Alaska, California, and Hawaii. Nobel Chemistry Prize laureate Wilhelm Ostwald
studied and worked in Tartu. The Tartu School
is one of the leading scientific schools in semiotics
St. John's Church
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.
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 (Estonian
) to celebrate its Hanseatic heritage. The festival includes events such as handicraft markets, historic workshops and jousting tournaments.
Tartu has a professional handball team, the Tartu Ülikool/Glassdrive, which plays in the second division of Estonian handball, as well as the volleyball club, BIGBANK Tartu
- Andrus Ansip (1956), politician, former Prime Minister of Estonia
- Lauri Aus (1970–2003), professional road cyclist
- George Browne, (1698–1792), Irish-born Governor of Dorpat
- Jaan Einasto (1929), astrophysicist
- Elisabeth Erm (1993), fashion model
- George Hackenschmidt (1877–1968), strongman, professional wrestler, writer and philosopher
- Else Hueck-Dehio, Baltic German writer.
- Carl Robert Jakobson (1841–1882), writer, politician and teacher
- Maarja Jakobson (1977), actress
- Martin Järveoja (1987), rally co-driver
- Rasmus Kaljujärv (1981), actor
- Leonid Kulik (1883–1942), Russian mineralogist
- Emil Mattiesen (1875–1939), composer, pianist and philosopher
- Laura Põldvere (1988), singer
- Elsa Ratassepp (1893–1972), actress
- Eno Raud (1928-1996), children's author
- Zofia Romer (1885–1972), Polish painter
- Kristina Šmigun-Vähi (1977), cross-country skier
- Rein Taaramäe (1987), professional road cyclist
- Aino Talvi (1909–1992), actress
- Ants Veetõusme (born 1949), politician (former Mayor of Tartu) and financial figure
- ^ Population of Tartu city as a settlement unit, excluding population of other settlement units of the municipality of Tartu city. Population by sex, age and place of residence after the 2017 administrative reform, 1 January. Statistics Estonia.
- ^ Total registered population of the municipality of Tartu City, excluding settlements of former Tähtvere Parish. "Statistiline ülevaade 2017"(PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- ^ Tartu – the intellectual centre of Estonia estlandia.de
- ^ Jonathan Bousfield The Rough Guide to Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania. Rough Guides UK. Page 126
- ^ Sergey Chernov. Tartu: Estonia's Intellectual and Theater Capital The Moscow Times, Dec. 24 2012
- ^ Why Tartu?|Visit Tartu
- ^ M. Mets & R. Raudsepp: Baltic Piling. CRC Press, 2013. ISBN 9780415643344.
- ^ "Tartu". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- ^ a b c Mäesalu, Ain (12 October 2001). "Vene kroonikate Jurjev oli tõenäoliselt siiski Tartu" (in Estonian). Sirp. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- ^ a b Mäesalu, Ain; Vissak, Rünno (2005). "Muinas- ja keskaeg". In Pullerits, Heivi (ed.). Tartu. Ajalugu ja kultuurilugu (in Estonian). Ilmamaa. pp. 16–18. ISBN 9789949131525. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- ^ 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 (16supplser): 199. doi:10.3176/arch.2012.supv1.11. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- ^ 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
- ^ "Suri Aino-Eevi Lukas" [Died Aino-Eevi Lukas]. Õhtuleht (in Estonian). Tallinn. 6 December 2019. Archived from the original on 7 December 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
- ^ "Climate normals-Temperature". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- ^ "Climate normals-Precipitation". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- ^ "Climate normals-Humidity". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- ^ "Climate normals-Sunshine". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- ^ "Rekordid" (in Estonian). Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- ^ "Kliimanormid-Sademed, õhuniiskus" (in Estonian). Estonian Weather Service. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- ^ "Eesti elanike arv KOV" (PDF).
- ^ "General data for 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 censuses - Statistics Estonia". www.stat.ee.
- ^ "Population by sex, age group and county, 1 January". Statistics Estonia. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- ^ "Definitions and Methodology". pub.stat.ee.
- ^ "International Teams". Valve. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- ^ "Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2017". www.woc2017.ee.
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Last edited on 24 April 2021, at 17:30
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