Tartu, with its population of around 100,000 in an area of 154 square kilometres, is the second largest city in Estonia. The first written records of Tartu date from 1030, making it the oldest city in the Baltic States. Tartu has played an important role in the development of Estonian culture and national consciousness: the first national elite stemmed from the local university, the first newspapers and cultural societies, the first national theater – all began their work here, and the first national song festival took place here as well.
The University of Tartu, photo Andres Tennus
Tartu has all the best of the globally new but with the local advantage – the costs are lower, security is higher and the air is cleaner than in Tallinn, Helsinki or New York. The city successfully combines modern infrastructure and facilities with a green and friendly environment. A serene park with medieval ruins and a river running through the city give it a romantic allure. Part of its appeal is the way Tartu blends old and new – walking through the city, one can literally touch its history, at the same time feeling a renewed energy and curiosity about what the future will bring.
At every corner in Tartu, there are concert venues, exhibition halls, theatres, churches, museums and charming little cafés as well as various pubs and restaurants. An inseparable part of the city is its students who comprise around a quarter of the population and generate a lot of fun and energy. There is a lively cultural scene with something for every taste as exciting events and festivals take place all year round.
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