The University of Tartu was established by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632, thus being one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. Over the centuries it has been closed down, moved to Tallinn and re-opened by Baltic Germans. After Estonia became independent in 1918, the University of Tartu has been an Estonian-language institution since 1919.
The main building of Tartu University is one of the most outstanding examples of classical architecture in Estonia. The main building was built in 1804-1809 according to university architect Johann Wilhelm Krause’s plans. The opening ceremony of the university’s main building took place on 3 July 1809. Since that day, all major university events are celebrated in the Main Hall. Because of superb acoustics many concerts are held here, and its spaciousness allows for conferences to be held. The hall was re-opened on 3 May 2002 following its last renovation
The university’s four museums, its Botanical Gardens, and sports facilities are, by and large, open to the general public. The University possesses some 150 buildings, 30 of which are outside of Tartu. 31 of its buildings decorate the city as architectural monuments. However, the current reforms include attempts to sell, or have the state co-sponsor, several of these buildings and monuments, as well as sports facilities, as they are not seen as part of the university's mission proper. At the same time, there are numerous recently constructed/renovated university buildings and student dormitories, such as the Technology Institute and the Biomedical Center.
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.