Tallinn to Tartu

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Antonius Hotel is opposite the main building of Tartu University and opened in March 2009. The building was first mentioned in the 16th century historical records, and was completed in its present structure in 1811. Since then the building has been home to a hat shop, the Livonian Noblemen’s Manor House Credit Association, the Guild of Saint Antonius, as well as a police station.

The oldest preserved objects are the cross vaults in the cellar that date back to the 18th century. In the garret rooms where we were, complete with old ceiling joists, stone walls and lots of historical elements have been restored. On the four floors of the hotel, there are 18 rooms.

Breakfast and dinner is served at the restaurant that is situated in a vaulted cellar room with an atrium and is decorated with rose paintings. On the first floor there is a library lounge for reading and Internet connection


The one way streets make it a bit difficult to actually get to this hotel, but once found, it was well worth finding. Bang opposite the imposing University Building, and a short walk from the town square. Tartu is a very small town, undoubted mainly a university town and hardly touched by tourism
In 1893, the city was officially retitled to the ancient Russian name Yuryev. The university was subsequently russified from 1895 on with the introduction of compulsory Russian in teaching. The Russian imperial university was relocated to Voronezh in 1918, but the Estonian University of Tartu opened in 1919. With Estonian independence after World War I, the city officially became known by the Estonian name Tartu. At the end of Estonian War of Independence following World War I, a peace treaty between the Bolsheviks and Estonia was signed on 2 February 1920 in Tartu. The treaty meant that Bolshevist Russia renounced territorial claims to Estonia "for all time". However, as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, the Soviet Union occupied Estonia and Tartu in 1940.
During World War II, a large part of the city as well as the historical Kivisild (Stone Bridge) (built by Catherine II of Russia in 1776–1778) over the Emajõgi River were destroyed by the Red Army, partly in 1941 and almost completely in 1944. Already heavily damaged Tartu suffered bombings by Soviet forces on 4 raids in 1943 and 1944. After the war ended, much of the historical downtown area was left in ruins. Even the less damaged buildings in entire city blocks were torn down by the order of occupational authorities and large swaths of land turned into public parks. Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991, the old town centre is being renovated. Notably, St. John's Church, in ruins since World War II, has been restored.
The most famous of its many statues is the "kissing students" which was considered very avante garde when it was commissioned in Soviet times. Other interesting statues were the "2 Wildes" one being Oscar, the other being a local author. And the interesting "father and son" which sculpts the man and the child at the same size, highlighting the scales of a body with age.
And finally on to the "Teddy Bear Museum" - my wife tells me it was a toy museum, but I had only eyes for the teddy bears, and we spent a happy few hours looking at the little fellows


Our Itinerary in the Baltics