Literary walk in the Baltic German student town Tartu

As part of the cultural festival German Spring, the literary walk in the Baltic-German student town, created by the University of Tartu Department of German Studies in cooperation with Tartu City Museum, is presented on Thursday, 8 April. Audio guides and traditional maps will offer interesting background information in Estonian and German to those participating in the walk.

In the 19th century, the University of Tartu was the only university in the Baltic provinces and Tartu – also called the Athens of the river Emajõgi – was known as the city of higher education and youth. In Baltic German memoir literature, Tartu is primarily referred to as a university town, forming a backdrop to the vivid university life and student life. A small selection of it is offered during the literary walk in Estonian and German.

Accompanied by 26 texts in Estonian and German from 14 authors, it is possible to take the virtual or real-life tour of the important nodes of the Baltic German student town and read or listen to the observations of Tartu by, for example, the rector and mayor Georg von Oettingen, the bibliothecary Emil Andrers, the scientist Karl Ernst von Baer, the local government figure Oswald Hartge, one of the organisers of Estonian song festivals Roman von Antropoff, art historian Georg Dehio, landowner and literatus Otto von Grünewaldt, Dr  Bertram, the Baltic German Estophile and humourist, who proposed the idea of the Estonian epic Kalevipoeg, and many others. The female perspective is voiced by Margarethe von Rauch and Else Hueck-Dehio.

The walking tour starts at Herr Moss’ tavern and the kringle-loving lions in Uueturu street and ends at the river Emajõgi, where students once teased the pedells or supported orphans from Pskov. Historical photos have been included in the Navicup app for comparison with the current views, and participants can test and improve their knowledge by answering questions and solving problems. Soon a museum programme will be added for schools and others interested.

The Estonian texts of the audio guide were recorded by former and current students of the University of Tartu: Rector Toomas Asser, Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas, Professor Tiit Rosenberg, Pastor of St Peter’s church and the Provost of Tartu Ants Tooming, Editor of Akadeemia Mart Orav, publisher Indrek Ilomets, historians Kaarel Vanamölder and Ken Ird, German studies student Mikk Viilukas, etc.

The German texts were recorded by Anne Kathrin Kirsch, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Germany, Baltic German historians Manfred von Boetticher and Hans-Dieter Handrack; Eike Eckert, Manager of Baltic German Museum in Lüneburg, and Renate Weichart and Alexander Hartge – daughter and grandson of one of the authors, Oswald Hartge.

The literary walk and the audio guide are presented on 8 April at 17:00 in Zoom (Meeting ID: 863 0699 3379, Passcode: 392406). Link to the Navicup walk will be added to the German Spring website and to the virtual map on Tartu City Museum’s website on 8 April after the presentation. When museums are reopened, it is possible to get a printed map with the route of the walk.

The literary walking tour of the Baltic German student town was compiled by Associate Professor of German Language and Culture Reet Bender, doctoral student of history, Kadi Kähar-Peterson, Junior Lecturer in German Language Hella Liira, and Junior Research Fellow in Germanic and Romance Languages and Literatures and Junior Lecturer in German Language Marika Peekmann, all from the University of Tartu. The design is by Uku Peterson.

Also, the Tartu City Museum, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Estonia have contributed to the completion of the walk.

Further information:
Reet Bender, Associate Professor of German Language and Culture, University of Tartu, 503 6268,
Kadi Kähär-Peterson, doctoral student of history, University of Tartu, 5558 1113,

The literary walk in the Baltic-German student town in NaviCup