June 29 is the day of celebration for the city of Tartu, cherishing its history, cultural legacy and achievements in various areas from science and architecture to music and theatre. For the last few years, the performing arts have been in the centre of attention, combining the city day into a mini-festival of opera and other beautiful, occasionally a bit unusual forms and crossovers of classical music. The festivities include meaningful journeys in the city, well-orchestrated concerts and performances, quiz shows, other carefully composed (sometimes human) formats and fun tournaments.
"Gaudeamus", the largest students’ song and dance festival in the Baltic States, unites the best student choirs, thousands of dancers and musicians from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The festival is opened with a spectacular ceremony that takes place on the shores of Emajõgi River. The joyful dance festival is held at the Tamme Stadium under the guidance of choreographer Rene Nõmmik, and as a tradition, the festival also includes a procession that leads the participants to the Tartu Song Festival Grounds where the magnificent song festival takes place.
Did you know that the city government of Tartu supports street art projects in the city centre? Tartu is renowned for its outstanding street art and for the festival „Stencibility“ that unites the artists and the anticipating audience, raising the community's awareness and bringing attention to urban art. The festival, which enriches the cityscape with high-quality art, is not only creating new street art but also promoting it through active participation via photo contests, lectures, film programmes, city tours and workshops.
Tartu is flying exceptionally high at the beginning of June, during the largest outdoor aviation event – the Estonian Aviation Days which bring together the greatest daredevils. The two-day event includes presentations of the PPA surveillance aircraft L-140 as well as demonstration of the first serially produced vertical takeoff jet Harrier. It also showcases foreign aerobatic pilots’ performances, such as the Swedish Airshow, light jet group Baltic Bees, heavy fighter Viggen 37 from Sweden and much more. There will be various attractions, interest flights and a culture programme.
International street artists’ festival TaDaa! Festival brings together dozens of artists from both Estonia and abroad, promoting open access to all forms of street performance for the entertainers and the audience. The festival days are filled with music, dance, circus performances, theatre and fire shows as well as anything and everything that embraces the street environment.
In 2015, Tartu, the intellectual capital of Estonia, became a member of UNESCO’s Cities of Literature programme. The best event to treasure and explore the wealth of literature is during the international literary festival „Prima Vista”. The aim of the festival, which features both local and international guests, is to promote literature as well as to enrich cultural life in Estonia, building cultural bridges between different cultural communities.
"World Film" is dedicated to the documentary cinematography and creative documentaries, concentrating on anthropological, ethnographic and analytical approach to cultures and societies. The program turns attention to cultural exchange as well as cultural representations of everyday life across the world. The festival is accompanied by relevant exhibitions, workshops and meetings with filmmakers.
One of the oldest and biggest ski marathons in the world, Tartu Marathon, celebrates its 45th anniversary. The lively sports event that brings together thousands of skiing enthusiasts each year from all corners of the world is held in the middle of the picturesque Southern Estonian hills and forests. The marathon includes traditional 63km and 31km tracks for professionals as well as an Open Track event, Relay Marathon and races for children.
Dates: 11.02, 16.02-18.02, main event taking place on 18.02
February is one of the best months to enjoy the variety of tastes Tartu has to offer because 14 of the city’s best restaurants present unique three-course menus as part of the Tasty Tartu („Maitsev Tartu“) campaign. The participating restaurants surprise guests with delicious dishes that combine local produce, modern trends and rich fantasy. Foodies can also rate the restaurants to determine the best special menu.
Kalmar County Museum is a cultural heritage museum that in the programs wants to connect contemporary issues with local heritage. The museum is the office for Bridging Ages, an international organization on Applied Heritage and the Time Travel method. The museum has had international projects in about 20 countries all over the world on learning through history, learning and reflection on issues like migration, democracy, environment, gender, education. Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are part of the Bridging Ages organization, plus 20 other countries around the world.