First mentioned in 1030. Tartu is the famous intellectual and cultural centre, situated 186 kilometres southeast of Tallinn. The city is known by the oldest university in Estonia (1632).
Tartu was a part of Hanseatic league. Like whole Estonia, Tartu is influenced by foreign rules. In the 19th century, the city became a major centre of estonian intellectuals and national self-consciousness.
Tartu is a "little wooden city" with late baroque and neo-classical old town. Although during World War II, large part of the centre was destrotyed by the soviet red army, the city has kept its academical and genteel aura. Since 1991, when Estonia regained its independence, the old town and centre are being renovated and filled with modern architecture.