Tartu University

Tartu University information

Tartu , Estonia
Street Ülikooli 18
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Lonely Planet review

Fronted by six Doric columns, the impressive main building of the university was built between 1803 and 1809. The university itself was founded in 1632 by the Swedish king Gustaf II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) to train Lutheran clergy and government officials. It was modelled on Uppsala University in Sweden.

The university closed during the Great Northern War around 1700 but reopened in 1802, later becoming one of the Russian empire’s foremost centres of learning. Its early emphasis on science is evidenced by the great scholars who studied here in the 19th century, including physical chemistry pioneer and Nobel prize winner for chemistry, Wilhelm Ostwald; physicist Heinrich Lenz; and the founder of embryology, natural scientist Karl Ernst von Baer.