"The City of Good Thoughts."
Witness Estonia's entire history in the country's cultural capital.
The “City of Good Thoughts,” Tartu is Estonia’s cultural and intellectual capital. This city is home to the University of Tartu, one of Europe’s oldest universities, and one of the most prestigious in Eastern Europe. The central role students play here is symbolized by the “Kissing Students” statue in front of the town hall. Tartu is centered around Toomemagi, a steep hill that hosted a pagan fort, followed by a Crusader castle. Toomemagi is Tartu’s gem, especially in September's foliage. Covered in forest and filled with paths, this hill contains a half-ruined cathedral, one of Europe’s oldest observatories, an anatomical theater, and Czarist bridges and fortifications, as well as statues, plaques, a cafe, and more. Toomemagi has excellent views of the city, especially from the cathedral towers, while beneath it lies a bar and restaurant built in a former gunpowder cellar, featuring the world's highest bar ceiling.
Estonia’s second largest city hosts its second largest Old Town, a Neoclassical area filled with shops and university buildings. Here, every cellar seems to host a cafe during the day, and bar at night. We recommend walking along the river, with its parks, bridges, and street art. A local isn’t considered a true student until they’ve managed to climb the arch bridge that lies at the end of the main square! Be sure to visit the Tartu Art Museum, which leans further than the Tower of Pisa, and take in the view from the Tasku mall by the river. One of Tartu’s best attractions is also its newest, the main building of the Estonian National Museum. This cutting-edge museum, built on the grounds of an abandoned Soviet air base, focuses on the history and culture of the Estonians, and related peoples, such as the Sami, Samoyeds, and Mari. This place is built with foreign visitors in mind, and each exhibit is somehow more creative than the last.