Text by Oomen
Tartu (189 km, pop 101 000) is the second biggest city in Estonia. It is also the city with the earliest mention in records (1030) and a university town since 1632. Tartu lies in the wide valley of the River Emajõgi, and despite considerable damage in WW II its Classical centre is relatively well preserved (Town Hall 1782–89, by J H B Walter; leaning house 1793 at 18, Raekoja plats), the 14th century Gothic St John’s church, now under restoration, early 19th century Classical University buildings (by J W Krause) in the city centre and on the romantic Toomemägi (Toome Hill), as well as a number of interesting late 19th and early 20th century wooden houses in the former suburbs. Toomemägi, the site of an ancient stronghold, is now a park with several University buildings and monuments to famous sons of Tartu.
The city has several museums, including the Estonian National Museum with rich ethnographic collections, the University history museum in the ruins of the 13th–16th century cathedral, 19th century citizen museum, observatory museum, the Museum of Classical Antiquity in the University main building, as well as sports, post, zoology, geology, toy and literature museums.