Tartu County

From Academic Kids

Tartu County (Estonian: Tartumaa), is a county or maakond in the country of Estonia.

It is located in eastern Estonia bordering to Põlva County, Valga County, Viljandi County and Jõgeva County.

The area of Tartu County is 2,992.74 km², which covers 6.9% of the territory of Estonia. The population of the county is 148,992, which is 11.0% of the population of Estonia. The city of Tartu is the centre of the county located at a distance of 186 km from Tallinn. Tartu County is divided into 22 local governments — 3 cities and 19 rural municipalities.

Tartu maakond
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Flag of Tartu County

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Coat of Arms of Tartu County

(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Capital Tartu
58°22'16" N, 26°44'18" E
Governor Eha Pärn
Area 2,993 km² (6th)
 - 2004 estimate
 - 2000 census
 - Density
148,872 (3rd)
49.7/km² (3rd)
ISO 3166-2 EE-74
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Location of Tartu County



Archaeological findings suggest that people first inhabited the territory of the current Tartu County about 5000 years ago. City of Tartu was first mentioned in historical records in 1030, then a site of a wooden stronghold. In 1224, after the conquest of the stronghold by the German invaders, Tartu became the capital of a diocese, stretching from Northern Estonia to Latvia. Since the 13th century, Tartu belonged to the Hanseatic League, and the town became a well-known trade centre in the Baltic Sea region. King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden established the University of Tartu in 1632. Estonia's first teachers' training school was established in Tartu County in 1684, as well as the first Estonian schools for the children of peasants. Closed during and after the Great Northern War, Tartu University was re-opened in 1802 as the only university operating in German language in the Russian Empire. Economic development of the region was further encouraged by the construction of the railway connecting Tartu with Tallinn, Riga and St. Petersburg. In the second half of the 19th century, the national awakening of Estonians began from Tartu region. After Estonia gained independence (February 24, 1918), Tartu became the cultural centre of Estonia, where most of the Estonian intelligentsia of the time lived and worked. In 1987-1989, the students' environmental and cultural heritage movement in Tartu initiated Estonia's Singing Revolution and restoration of its independence.


The County Government (Maavalitsus) is led by a Governor (maavanem).

In accordance with the Government of the Republic Act, the County Governor represents interests of the state in the county and provides for integral and balanced development of the county. The County Governor co-ordinates co-operation of ministries and other organs of executive power located in a county with its local governments and performs supervision over the activities of the local governments. The County Governor is appointed for a five-year term by the Government of the Republic, on the basis of the Prime Minister’s proposal and in co-ordination with the representatives of the local governments.

July 8, 2004, Mrs Eha Pärn was appointed Tartu County Governor.

The County Government manages the operations of and provides support services to the County Governor; prepares draft documents required by the County Governor; manages and controls the execution of orders of the County Governor; manages the preparation of draft budgets of state agencies administered by the County Government, and controls adherence to the budgets; manages relations of the County Governor with government agencies and local government agencies.


Tartu County has 69 schools with approximately 23 000 pupils. 11 vocational schools provide practical training in 50 specialities.

40% of Estonia's students live and study in Tartu. In addition to the University of Tartu and the Estonian Agricultural University there are 9 other institutes of higher education, the most recent of them the Baltic Defence College.


Tartu County is divided into 22 local governments — 3 towns and 19 rural municipalities.

Urban municipalities:

Rural municipalities:


Tartu County lies in South Estonia, between Lake Võrtsjärv and Lake Peipsi. Tartu County is also situated at the crossing of the international routes St.Petersburg-Riga-Berlin and Stockholm-Tallinn-Pskov-Moscow. Estonia's only navigable river, River Emajõgi (100 km long), flows through the county, connecting Lake Peipsi and Lake Võrtsjärv.

Wavy plains are typical landscapes of Tartu County. One third of the county is covered with forests, a third is cultivated. A quarter is made up of wetlands at the headwaters and lower course of the Emajõgi. In the northern part of the county, there are drumlin fields with lakes between them. Nature preserves take up about 10% of the county's territory.

Miscellaneous topics

City of Tartu is the trade, service, division and logistics centre for the whole of South Estonia. The city and its surrounding rural areas form an integrated economic system and labour area. Service sector provides 2/3 of the employment in the county. A significant part of these jobs are in the public sector – especially education and medicine. Typical products include furniture, foodstuffs, clothes, building materials, glass and plastics. Thanks to the fertile lands, there are many big agricultural enterprises in the west of the county. Fishery is an important activity on the coast of Lake Peipsi. Tartu County is the home of small and medium enterprises – more than 80% of the companies employ 10 or less people, only 5 companies in the whole region have more than 250 employees. Biotechnology and biomedicine companies are emerging as spin-offs of Tartu University.

The villages of the Old Believers on the shore of Lake Peipsi are unique in the whole Europe.

External links

Counties of Estonia
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Flag of Estonia

Harju | Hiiu | Ida-Viru | Järva | Jõgeva | Lääne | Lääne-Viru | Pärnu | Põlva | Rapla | Saare | Tartu | Valga | Viljandi | Võru

et:Tartu maakond

ro:Judeţul Tartu


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