Tartu: Estonia's Intellectual and Theater Capital
Kultuur 26 Dec 2012 EWR OnlineEWR
Sergey Chernov, The Moscow Times 24 December 2012 | Issue 5041
It takes only a two-and-a-half-hour smooth drive (185 kilometers) to get from Estonia's capital Tallinn to the town of Tartu, even though the south-east route crosses almost all of this small Baltic country.

The bus speeds past the country's timeless landscapes of snow-covered forests and fields, with the occasional wooden house to be spied.

Based around Tartu University, with a large proportion of its population being students and teachers, the town is seen as the nation's intellectual capital. In winter, the large number of young people makes the town perhaps more vibrant and full than in summer, when many are on holiday elsewhere.

A Page of History

Located on the banks of the Emajogi River (Mother River), Tartu is Estonia's second-largest city and the Baltics' oldest, being first mentioned in historical documents dating back to 1030. It is the cradle of Estonian culture, where the country's song festivals — an important tradition that played a major role in uniting the nation — were born. Tartu is also the home of Estonian theater and to some extent, the Estonian state.

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