Tartu - General Profile
Estonia's second city, Tartu is a university town crossed by the Emajogi River located in the south-eastern part of the country. Over a fifth of its 100.000 inhabitants are students, many of whom foreigners.
It is 188 kilometres from Tallinn in the heart of the Sydost valley, between the Lake Peipsi and Vorst. Its weather is more continental than Tallinn one, with coldest winters. Emajogi River is frozen for more than three months each year (from December to February).
Known for its University founded in 1632, Tartu is one of the leading academic centres of Northern Europe, as well as the "cultural capital" of the country. The main figures of the Estonian 'intelligentsia' have formed here. In 1869 the first Song Festival took place in Tartu. The Estonian flag, with its blue, black and white colours was first consecrated here in 1884. Tartu is also an important railway junction, intersection of the lines connecting Riga, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Minsk. It is seat of many mechanical, textiles, food and graphics industries.
Tartu offers visitors the opportunity to capture a "slice of life in Estonia", which is more authentic and traditional if compared to Tallinn one. There are many events during the year, not only of cultural kind. One for all: the Tartu Ski Marathon taking place in February (www.tartumaraton.ee) which cover 63 kilometres of slopes in the area at the South-East of the city.
Another important event is represented by University Spring Days Festival, culminating in a spectacular boat race on the Emajogi River on May 1st. The city is a natural starting point for exploring the southern part of Estonia.
Official website: www.tartu.ee