Eastern and Central Europe (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

(Ben Green) #1

Leaning building in which the
Tartu Art Museum is housed

E KGB Cells Museum
Riia 15b. Tel 746 1717. #
11am–4pm Tue–Sat. & 8
Situated in the basement of
the regional headquarters of
the former KGB/NKVD, the
KGB Cells Museum (KGB
kongid) is a grim testimony to
the nightmare of the Soviet
occupation. Some of the
former cells have been turned
into exhibition spaces, while
others have been restored to
their original con dition to
provide a picture of what so
many Estonians suf fered
under the Soviet regime.
Much attention is paid to the
mass deportations that took
place between 1940 and 1949,
including the official plans to
carry them out. There are gut-
wrenching artifacts from
the Gulags, the notorious
correction camps where thou-
sands of Estonians died.

E Tartu Art Museum
Raekoja plats 108. Tel 744 1080.

11am–6pm Wed–Sun. & free

on Fri. 8 call in advance. -
Housing one of the finest
collections in the country,
Tartu Art Museum (Tartu
kunstimuuseum) features the
works of prominent Estonian
artists such as Elmar Kits
(1913–72), Ülo Sooster (1924–
70) and Marko Mäetamm
(b. 1965). A thorough and
cap tivating overview of
Estonian painting, sculpture
and draw ing, which spans the
19th cent ury through to the
pre sent, is also provided. The
museum’s building conspic-
uously leans to one side and
belonged to the famous
Russian Field Marshal Barclay
de Tolly, who success fully led
the Russian Army against
Napoleon in 1812.


180 km (110 miles) SE of Tallinn.
* 100,000. k 3.5 km (2 miles)
SE of centre. £ A3, Vaksali 6,
@ C2, Soola 2. 4 Narva mnt 2.
n Town Hall, Raekoja plats, 744

  1. _ Tartu City Day (29 Jun),
    Student Days (around 1 May).

A Baltic-German biologist, Karl Ernst von
Baer was one of the founders of embryo-
logy. His pioneering work in this area
was recognized by Darwin, although
Baer himself was extremely critical of
the Theory of Evolution. Baer studied
at Tartu University and later taught at
Königsberg and the St Petersburg
Academy of Sciences, before living out
his last years in Tartu. A statue of him
sitting pensively atop a large plinth has
pride of place on Toomemägi. A rather
endearing tradition takes place every
year, on the eve of St Philip’s Day
(1 May), when Tartu University
students wash Baer’s bronze hair.

E Estonian National
Kuperjanovi 9. Tel 742 1311.
# 11am–6pm Tue–Sun. & free
on Fri. 8 call in advance. 7

  • = http://www.erm.ee
    Estonia’s most important
    ethnological centre, the
    Estonian National Museum
    (Eesti rahva muuseum) boasts
    over one million artifacts col-
    lected over the last 100 years.
    Dedicated to the great
    Estonian folklorist and linguist
    Jakob Hurt (1839–1907), the
    museum highlights Estonian
    and other Finno-Ugric
    cultures, and its collection
    covers every imaginable
    aspect of life in this country.
    From chairs made of gnarled
    birch wood to warped
    wooden beer tankards, the
    displayed objects eloquently
    attest to a way of life that
    seems quaintly ana chronistic
    in modern times.
    In addition, there are vast
    photographic and documental
    archives and a collection of
    costumes, including a punk
    jacket (c. 1982–85). The
    museum occasionally holds
    temporary exhibitions that
    encompass themes from
    furniture to photography.

A desk in the KGB Cells Museum,
with Stalin’s portrait on the wall

Statue of Karl Ernst von
Baer on Toomemägi

Father and Son Statue
Küüni (close to Poe).
Originally planned for Tallinn,
this delightful little statue
by Ülo Õun (1940–88) was
con ceived in 1977. It was
cast in bronze in 1987, pur-
chased by the Tartu town
government in 2001 and
finally unveiled on Children’s
Day (1 June) in 2004. The
father figure is modelled after
the sculptor, and the child
after his son Kristjan, when
he was around one-and-a-half
years old. Interestingly, both
father and son are propor-
tionately equal in this highly
unusual and extremely
poignant monument.

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