Second city of Estonia, I feel ashamed to have never really visited it. Once more I was there for a short time, with 30°C less than last summer. But the very good thing was that there was no mosquitoes!
Exploring the Old Town
Town Hall square
Bus arrived in Tartu at 14:00 and the Chinese had the good idea to buy the return tickets to the capital. They where surprised when I said I wanted to leave Tartu for 20:00. They bought much earlier bus and because of that we had to run a bit to see the main interest of the city before. Luckily Tartu is a small town and it don’t take more than 15 minutes to be in the old town from the coach station.
The way is really simple: go straight until you find the town hall square, covered by snow, with its famous fountain ‘The Kissing Students » now frozen. The last time I was walking on this square I haven’t appreciate it because it was used as a volleyball playground, impossible to be in the middle and see correctly the buildings. I later noticed that they looks pretty good.
Church of and Botanic Garden
Because I had no idea where to go, we continue to the north on the same street we took to come to the square. It lead us to the church of Saint John, small but massive look brick construction. The church is said to be famous due to its 1000 figurines inside. We saw not far from it the Botanic Garden, the girls passed the gate to see something in the yard… surprisingly everything was covered by 25cm of snow.
Walking by the river
Tartu was built on the Emajõgi river, long Estonian river connecting two of the main lake of the country. Along the river are two small park counting many monuments and statues, one notable is the Tartu Statue of Liberty (Kalevipoeg, literally Kalev’s son).
Knows for its active student life Tartu has the highest-ranked university of Estonia, to be be short this University as been created under the King of Sweden and is among the oldest University of northern Europe. It is a place to visit absolutely when you go to Tartu, like the Cathedral of Tallinn, it cannot be missed for any reason. The main building is classical with high column, I like it. The only drawback I have is that there is no square in front of it and then it is hard to get a good photo from the front… Even on the street is a house with a large painting of the University, made from the side.
Time was running and I advised to the girls to see the ruins of the Cathedral on the hill just behind the University. They were quite surprised but didn’t stay for long, their bus was leaving soon and they ran away, letting me alone. A friend from the other part of the group called me at that moment to tell me that arrived in Tartu after having stayed longer in Otepää.
I stayed to visit a little the hill and its buildings because there are not only the Cathedral. The Supreme Court of Estonia is located there with the Johan Skytte monument, also the Old Anatomical Theatre of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu, and the Observatory. One monument, the Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve monument can also seen there as well.
I walk down the hill to the main square, watching some place I’ve been before, some funny souvenir came out 😀
After having met one of the girl on the square and sat with them in a café for more than a hour (it was warm!) I follow them in the city for a last tour by night. Because they haven’t visited the city yet I saw another time the main places: University, Town Hall and Cathedral’s ruins.
When half of the group left by car, me and three of the girls walked along the river to get the coach station and leave. The bus was pretty comfortable and affordable for an national line. Bus was the same as Simple Express with the Berlin-Warsaw line! I watch a scary movie on board with a friend. The two and half hour journey seems short.