One of the best place to visit in Tartu is the scenic square in the centre of the city. Raekoja square feels like the heart of the city. This great place square runs from the city’s pretty town hall down towards the Emajõgi River that flows through Tartu. Along each side of the square you’ll find pastel colored neo classical buildings that lend Tartu an air of elegance.
Although the Town Hall Square is a pleasant place to explore, the Town Hall itself will immediately draw you in. This neoclassical gem, built in 1789, is the local seat of government. With its unusual color palette of pink and red, it’s quite a distinctive building. Built to replace the previous town hall that was destroyed in a fire, the design included space for the local prison. Home to a carillon that still chimes several times a day, you won’t want to miss a photo op at Tartu Town Hall.
One of the more unusually interesting neighborhoods to visit in Tartu is the Supilinn neighborhood. Affectionately known as Soup Town, this district, full of old wooden houses, has streets named after soup ingredients like Pea Street and Potato Street. One of the oldest parts of Tartu, it was once poor student housing for the university and many of these traditional houses remain intact.
Just behind the centre of Tartu sits Toome Hill, a small hill with strong ties to Tartu’s history. It was on Toome Hill that early settlers built fortifications in the 7th century. Today the hill is home to Toomemäe Park, a lovely green space filled with statues and beautiful monuments.The park of Toome Hill is also home to two curiously named bridges that link up walking paths, the Angel’s Bridge and Devil’s Bridge. Two of the oldest in the city, it’s said that if you make a wish as you cross Angel’s Bridge for the first time it will come true.
Toomemäe Cathedral Ruins
At the centre of Toome Hill lies one of Tartu’s most important historic sites, Tartu Cathedral. These open-air ruins of the old cathedral certainly have a sense of mystery about them. Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, this large cathedral was destroyed not long after during the Livonian War. The intact part of the cathedral now houses the University of Tartu Museum. The museum is home to permanent and annual exhibitions detailing the history of science and university education. After checking out the museum, a climb up its towers will yield some of the best views Tartu has to offer
University of Tartu
Established in 1632, Tartu University has been the beating heart of the city for centuries. As the oldest and most well-known university in Estonia, it has a great influence on the city of Tartu. Chances are as you explore Tartu you’re going to come across several of the University’s buildings. There’s the elegant neoclassical main university building in Old Town that you’ll definitely want to admire.