I figured that I’d better do some actual sightseeing in Tartu, so I spent the next day wandering around doing the sights. It was good fun – Tartu is pretty small so it’s easy to see all there is to see in a day or even an afternoon if you’re short on time. Below is a snapshot of the sights of Tartu.
I started, logically, in the town square with the fountain. The fountain is directly in front of the hall and is a statue of two lovers kissing under an umbrella in the rain.
There’s a statue of two men on Vallikraavi St that is basically a speculation on literary history. The two men are Oscar Wilde and an Estonian writer, Eduard Vilde. Theoretically, as they both represent the same generation, they could have met around 1890 and the statues represent this imagined meeting.
There’s not really any story here – I just like random posters and graffiti.
Just some pretty old houses I passed in my wandering.
This is the view from a hill in Toomemägi looking over Raekoja Plats.
I wasn’t sure what this actually was. Maybe it was once a little shop or something. Either way it was cute.
I thought this little bit of street art was quite sweet.
Some more houses.
One of my favourite places in Tartu was the Anatomy Museum. It’s housed in a nice old building that used to be the medical training college. It was built in the early nineteenth century and wings were added over the years as new faculties were created. It was a centre of medical and pharmacological research in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and apparently a lot of renowned scientists either studied or taught at the university. It was transferred into a museum some years ago, and has all these different sections on pharmacy, chemistry, biology as well as medicine. There are exhibits of old medical equipment, jars full of herbs and natural medicines and a large exhibit of some of my favourite things to find in anatomy museums – preserved body parts, organs, a collection of skulls of man and apes, dangling skeletons and to top it off a five kilogram testicle. That’s right, five kilograms. He’d have probably needed some very large pants pre-removal
The Dome Church was quite interesting – it was built in the thirteenth century and destroyed by fire in the seventeenth century. The preserved part now contains the Tartu University History Muesum.
There’s a Russian tradition that is practised by Russians throughout the Baltic states, where a newlywed couple locks a padlock to a specific place – the rails of the ‘Kissing Hill’ in Tartu, for example – to symbolise their marriage and the permanence of such a union. It’s all nice and romantic until you remember that the divorce rate is almost fifty percent…
K.J. Petersen was an Estonian writer and poet, immortalised in this statue in the park on Toomemagi.
No one could tell me why exactly this building was built crooked, but it certainly looks funny.