Tartu is Estonia’s second largest city and also the oldest one in the Baltic States – first mentioned in 1030. In contrast to Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn, Tartu is often considered the intellectual and cultural hub, especially since it is home to Estonia's oldest and most renowned university. Tartu has always been the intellectual capital of Estonia. It is the cradle of the Estonian Song Festival, Estonian Theatre and the Estonian State. In the period Estonians call "The national awakening" Tartu was known as the Athens of the Emajõgi River ("Mother River") and until now the city has retained its intellectual and bohemian ambience.
Tartu University is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe (founded in 1632) and has produced many eminent scientists and scholars of international repute such as Baltic German biologist Karl Ernst von Baer and famous Russian semiotician and culturologist Juri Lotman. Tartu still has a very large student population and the best time to meet them is in spring, where The Student Spring Days combine youthful exuberance with academic traditions.
Read more about Tartu from here and here.