Tähetorn_2_Angelina Pjatkovskaja

The Old Observatory

World famous ideas

The Tartu Observatory is a unique building where the astronomers who worked there carried out world-class research and changed humanity’s understanding of the Earth and the universe.

One of the most important scientists related to the observatory was the Baltic German F. G. W. Struve, whose geodetic measurements proved that the Earth is indeed spherical. The Tartu Observatory, as one of Struve’s measuring points, is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Another world-famous scientist who worked here was Ernst Öpik, who was the first to determine the distance to the Andromeda Nebula, proving that there are galaxies outside the Milky Way.

The observatory’s exhibitions showcase the achievements of these scientists as well as many other subjects related to astronomy, geodesy, and seismology. The observatory also gives visitors the chance to study luminous constellations, count meteors and explore pieces of real meteorites. Historical telescopes are also on display, the most valuable of which is the world-famous Fraunhofer lens telescope. From the balcony of the observatory, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the heart of Tartu city.