29 December 2006

Tartu: The Second City of Estonia

There's lots to see in Tartu, officially, the City of Good Thoughts, including the KGB Cells Museum, where there must have been many good thoughts. Estonia's Second City is arguably built around the University of Tartu, which will celebrate its 375th anniversary in 2007.

I hadn't been to Tartu since 1999 or 2000, when I was still in the Peace Corps. So over the Christmas break, I met up with a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer still living in Tartu for an insider's tour of what has become, I believe, a fairly Westernized yet incredibly walkable city of 100,000 residents.

Here is the main building of the University of Tartu; city hall, constructed in the late 1780s, and, in front of it, the city square; and the steeple of St. John's Church, founded around the 14th century.