Tartu; located in Estonia, is its second largest city and an artsy place filled with attractions waiting to be discovered. Tartu is a university city, home to the University of Tartu, which is the nation's oldest and most renowned university. Tartu lies on the Emajõgi River; which is known for connecting the two largest lakes of Estonia, and is the centre of southern Estonia. Tartu is home to numerous sites and sculptures, parks and beautiful architecture, and is a must-visit when in Estonia. What brings the city of Tartu to life is the large student population and the many new and interesting events that are held throughout the year. Tartu does have a small Muslim population, and therefore Muslim visitors will be able to locate Halal-friendly facilities in Tartu.
Within Tartu, there are numerous sights worth exploring. Tartu’s Old Town centre is home to endless attractions that draw in visitors from all around the world. Located in the heart of Tartu, is the Town Hall Square. This charming square, also known as Raekoja Plats houses the magnificent 1780’s built Town Hall; which is a popular landmark. The area has a lively student atmosphere and is great for people-watching. The Old Town area is being renovated and the renowned St. John’s Church; a landmark of the city, has been rebuilt and restored after the Great Northern War and World War 2. The historic centre was affected by the Second World War, and the effects of this can still be seen in the parks and other green areas.
Those visiting Tartu must also pay a visit to Tartu University, which is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. The university is the biggest and highest-ranked university in Estonia and has produced some internationally prominent scholars and scientists.
Another must-visit is the neighborhood of Supilinn, also known as Soup Town. Located on the right bank of Emajõgi River, this former 19th century slum is now turning into a prestigious high-class neighborhood. Charming old wooden houses line the streets that are name quite oddly after soup ingredients. Streets in the area carry names like; Oa (Bean), Kartuli (Potato) and Herne (Pea). Because Supilinn is one of Europe’s last historic 19th century slums, the area is often visited by tourists.
With over 20 museums to visit in Tartu, visitors are spoilt for choice. The Tartu Toy Museum however, should be on every tourist’s itinerary. Located in the Old Town of Tartu, this museum offers numerous interesting things to see and do, and is perfect for adults as well as for children. With several popular toys and antique dolls on display, the museum really does make adults want to unleash their inner child. The museum also has a theatre hall, play rooms for kids, workshops, museum of theatre puppets and a children's studio.
Tourists must also pay a visit to the KGB Cells Museum and the Estonian National Museum if time permits.
Tartu also offers numerous recreational activities and attractions, such as hiking trails, saunas and river cruises. There is a popular 5 kilometre walking path on the outskirts of Tartu, which is frequented by those looking to explore the scenic countryside. During the summer, river cruises are quite popular. Visitors get to sail along the Emajõgi River, past the popular landmarks of Tartu.
The airport located closest to Tartu is Tartu Airport, which is located approximately 10 kilometres from the center of Tartu, and offers international flight services. Because of its proximity to the village of Ülenurme, it is also referred to as Ülenurme Airport. There is a shuttle bus that visitors can take from the airport to get to the city of Tartu.
There is one known Halal restaurant in Tartu that Muslim visitors can dine at; located in Tasku shopping centre. Square Kebab serves some of the best Turkish food and Halal kebabs in town; made from the freshest ingredients. Muslim visitors can also dine at local vegetarian and seafood restaurants after making sure the food served does not consist of any non-Halal items. Muslim visitors should be aware that restaurants in Tartu do serve alcohol.
There is one notable Mosque in Tartu, namely; Cultural Center Iqra. Located near Tartu’s central bus station, this center is not only a location for Muslims to offer prayers. It also houses a library containing religious books and is an organization that focuses on providing information on Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The center also holds celebrations of major Islamic holidays and festivals.