Culture is happening: Events around Estonia from January 30-February 6

The weekend of 31 January-1 February is dominated by events marking the Treaty of Tartu centennial.
The weekend of 31 January-1 February is dominated by events marking the Treaty of Tartu centennial. Source: EV100

All across Estonia, from Tallinn to the smallest hamlets in the most remote parts of the country, there is always something going on — from festivals to workshops, exhibit openings to guided tours, and movie screenings to concerts.

This week is dominated by events in Estonia's second city, Tartu, with the centennial celebrations of the Treaty of Tartu.

In signing the Tartu Peace Treaty on February 2, 1920, the fledgling Soviet Russian state recognized the independence of the Republic of Estonia and ended the War of Independence which had been raging since late 1918.

The treaty was signed by the Estonian Constituent Assembly members Jaan Poska, Ants Piip, Mait Püüman, Julius Seljamaa and Major General Jaan Soots. Other events marking the centennial are to take place in Tallinn, but the focus is on Tartu so we'll start there.

The original Treaty of Tartu arrived at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) on the outskirts of the city under police escort on Wednesday, and will remain on display there for just four days.

Thursday, January 30

The Peace Treaty will be on display at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) from 30 January to 2 February, open to the public and part of the "Encounters" permanent exhibition. The museum's website is here.

Friday, January 31

While many peace treaty centennial events are by invitation only, there are also plenty open to the public, starting with a high school students' speech meeting at Tartu Peace Treaty square (Vanemuise 33, Tartu) at 10.00 a.m. Students were instrumental in the drive for Estonian independence, with many fighting in the War of Independence.

Hour-long guided walking tours through places related to the treaty take place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., beginning at the Tartu City Museum (Narva mnt 23), ending at JPG's Tartu Peace Treaty room. By ticket only.

Saturday, February 1

10 a.m.: Presentation of the €2 circulation coin "Tartu Peace Treaty 100" at ERM (Muuseumi tee 2, Tartu).

11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.: Hour-long guided walking tours through places related to the Tartu Peace Treaty (see above).

6 p.m. to 11 p.m: Visual performance "The Sculptor of Peace" at Tartu Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). 

"The Sculptor of Peace" is a visual production that will be unveiled on Tartu Town Hall and two adjacent buildings. Visual and sound displays take place every half hour under the guidance of a video artist.

Sunday, February 2 - 100th anniversary of the Tartu peace treaty signing

Placing wreaths at the War of Independence memorial site at Pauluse cemetery at 8.30 a.m., at the Liberators of South Estonia memorial column at Raadi cemetery at 9 a.m., and at Julius Kuperjanov's grave at 9.15 a.m.

10 a.m.: Memorial ceremony at the Kalevipoeg monument (on the banks of the Emajõgi river in Tartu)

11 a.m.: Tartu Peace Treaty church service at Tartu Jaani Kirik (Jaani 5).

12.30 p.m.: Tartu Peace Treaty meeting at Tartu Peace Treaty square, with a visit to JPG's Tartu Peace Treaty room (Vanemuise 35, Tartu) possible afterwards.

2 p.m.: Presentation of the War of Independence collection work at Tartu City Museum (Narva mnt 23)

9 p.m. to midnight: visual performance "The Sculptor of Peace" at Tartu Town Hall Square (see above).

More information on events is here.


Alongside the main celebrations in Tartu, is a Tartu Peace Congratulations Service at Nõmme Rahu Kirik (Võsu 5, Tallinn), at 10.30 a.m.

At 6 p.m. comes a public concert at Kalamaja Church on Kalju 1 (link in estonian), featuring singer Helin-Mari Arder.

The peace treaty centennial is also being marked at a host of other venues nationwide. See here for more details (link in Estonian).

Other events in Tallinn

The weekend also sees the continuation of the Docpoint international documentary festival in Tallinn, almost the "Black Nights" of the documentary scene, with screenings at several cinemas. The festival runs to Sunday, February 2. More info here.

Also taking place in Tallinn, MustonenFest, a long-standing international music festival, explores music from different genres and centuries, curated by musician Andres Mustonen who introduces performers and authors which have meaning for him.

The festival runs till 8 February. More information here.

Friday 31 January: At 5pm, the "ZEMA" exhibition of contemporary porcelain jewellery opens at the Hungarian Institute on Piiskopi 2 in Tallinn, in the presence of the owner and designer Erzsébet Papp.

Saturday 1 February, 19.00: The National Opera in Tallinn performs the "Count of Luxembourg", an operetta by Franz Lehar, which premiered last Friday. More info here.

The National Opera and Ballet House (Rahvusooper) also offers regular guided tours in English at 5.30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Triangulo Flamenco, an international group combining three different flamenco artists from three different countries, give a concert at Heldeke on Tööstuse 13 in Tallinn, at 8 p.m.

Sunday 2 February: The latest Palace Music Concert Series at the Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn starts at 6 p.m., this time featuring Elena Brazhnyk - soprano (Ukraine), Sigrid Kuulmann - violin and Tarmo Eespere - piano, performing a program of Bizet, Debussy, Kreisler, Lemba, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky.

If you plan on staying in...

The Tartu Peace Treaty centennial is also covered by ERR's channel, ETV, from 6.40 p.m.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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