St John's Lutheran Church


Dating to at least 1323, this imposing red-brick church is unique for the rare terracotta sculptures placed in niches around its exterior and interior (look up). Shattered by a Soviet bombing raid in 1944, it long lay derelict, and wasn't fully restored until 2005. Climb the 135 steps of the 30m steeple for a bird’s-eye view of Tartu.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tartu attractions

1. Citizen’s Home Museum

0.05 MILES

This handsome wooden house, dating to the 1740s and nestled in one of the oldest surviving sections of the city, is furnished to show how a bourgeois…

2. Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum

0.06 MILES

Chronicling more than just Estonian Olympic excellence (although the glittering medal display serves that purpose admirably), this offbeat museum has a…

3. Tartu Toy Museum

0.07 MILES

A big hit with the under-eight crowd (and you won’t see too many adults anxious to leave), this is a great place to while away a few rainy hours. Set in…

4. Tartu University


Fronted by six Doric columns, the impressive main building of Tartu University was built between 1803 and 1809. The university itself was founded in 1632…

5. Tartu University Art Museum

0.12 MILES

Within the main university building, this collection comprises mainly 19th-century plaster copies of ancient Greek sculptures, plus some mummies and other…

6. Tartu University Botanical Gardens

0.13 MILES

Founded in 1803, these lush, mature gardens nurture 6500 species, including a large collection of palms and other exotics in the greenhouse. In summer it…

7. Town Hall

0.19 MILES

Built between 1782 and 1789, this graceful building was designed by German architect JHB Walter, who modelled it on a typical Dutch town hall. The clear…

8. Town Hall Square

0.19 MILES

Tartu’s main square is lined with grand buildings and echoes with the chink of glasses and plates in summer. The centrepiece is the town hall itself,…