The Old Town of Tartu
The town hall square is surrounded by a lot of nice street cafés, which invite you to sit down and spend a lovely afternoon. On nice days you meet local people as well as tourists sitting there, enjoying the cosy and relaxed atmosphere.
Especially at nights the city centre becomes a popular meeting point for numerous students who study at the University of Tartu. They like to come here and have profound discussions and a couple of drinks. Tartu is definitely up-to-date and modern. The atmosphere in the city is quite metropolitan.
Examples of the pragmatic socialist architecture, which were disturbing the pleasant atmosphere in the Old Town, have mostly disappeared in the last few years. Lots of buildings in the Old Town reveal the impressive classicist architecture. The Town Hall, which is situated on the south west end of the big square, is of outstanding beauty and is one of the most important early classicist buildings in Estonia. It was built in 1786, designed by the architect Johann H. B. Walther. A fountain and an old chemist’s shop add to the beauty of the square.
The pedestrian zone starts at Raekoja plats. You will find several interesting shops, restaurants, bars and antique shops. Whether you want to do some shopping or just wander around and relax – the old charming centre is a perfect location.
Many famous people from all over the world have discovered the beauty of this city, too. Horst Köhler for example, former President of Germany, who came to Tartu in summer 2005 to visit the historic city and inaugurate the newly restored Jaani-church. The church that was built in honour of St. John (Jaan) had been almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. Prince Charles and Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland, visited Tartu and even Dalai Lama gave a lecture at the University.
- Next topic: Toome Hill