The blend of historic charm and modern academia in Tartu, Estonia’s university city and old Hanseatic town, makes it the perfect locale forconferences, or any event where a quiet, relaxed milieu is preferred.
With a population of just 100,000, Estonia’s ‘southern capital’ and also the oldest town in the Baltic States has a far more laid-back feel than its larger rival, as well as an artistic ambience that is enhanced by a thriving café culture.
At the heart of Tartu is the Town Hall Square, home to the majestic, 18th century Town Hall, the unique Kissing Students fountain that has come to symbolise the city, and the unusual Leaning House, a building that has developed a pronounced tilt over the centuries.
The University of Tartus classical style Main Building, built in 1809, is another Old Town fixture. Visitors here can see the Student Lock-up where students were once held for offences such as swearing or duelling. Nearby stands the towering St. Johns Church, an architectural treasure from the 14th century that has over 1,000 terracotta figurines worked into its interior and exterior design.
Toome Hill or Dome Hill that overlooks the Old Town has its own share of historic sights, most notably the massive ruins of the 13th century Dome Cathedral. Parts of the ruins have been rebuilt and house a viewing platform and the museum of Tartu University history. Another historic universitybuilding on the hill is the Old Observatory. Built in 1810, it once boasted the most powerful telescope in the world.
Those interested in history and culture can also visit the Hansalodi, a recreated barge resembling those that would have cruised the region’s waterways in Hanseatic times, and the Estonian National Museum, where ethnic traditions come to light.
One of the most special places in the Old Town is the Jaani Cultural Quarter – you should pop in to each and every building here. Those of St.Anthonys Guild boast over 20 workshops, and bubble with life. Tartu Toy Museum is full of exciting discoveries – grown-ups can relive their childhood and children can enjoy the fantasy! In the neighbourhood of the Toy Museum is the Theatre House, where little ones can see plays, admire theatre puppets from all over the world and make their own puppet show.

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