While the University of Tartu Natural History Museum was founded in 1802, the University Botanic Garden was established a year later - 220 years ago this year. Birthday celebrations will take place in June.
The 3.5-hectare botanical garden on the banks of the Emajõgi River in Tartu introduces visitors to the diversity of flora, plant use and conservation. The botanic garden's collections contain over 11 000 taxa and plant species, ranging from tundra to tropical rainforests.
The University of Tartu Botanical Garden was established in 1803 on the site of the former Tiigi Street Park. The founder and first director of the garden was Professor Gottfried Albrecht Germann, who in 1806 moved the garden to its present site on and around the rampart of the bastion built around the corner of the former city wall. For more than two centuries, scientists, curators and gardeners have created a botanical garden whose beauty and diversity can be enjoyed and studied by visitors, students and researchers. Each new generation contributes to the maintenance and development of this repository.
The University of Tartu Botanic Garden is diverse and exceptionally species-rich. Here, visitors can walk through different parts of the world in a short time, as well as a variety of Estonian natural communities. The curious visitor can learn about plant species and their conservation. Equally important is the role of the botanic garden as a wonderful natural oasis in the urban environment, enjoyed not only by humans but also by insects and other creatures.
Nowadays, a botanic garden is defined as a scientific collection of living plants, open to the public and dedicated to the conservation of species. Therefore, the University of Tartu Botanical Garden is actively engaged in the conservation and research of the genetic resources of plant species and varieties. The Botanic Garden is a teaching base for horticulture and nature education for students, scholars and garden visitors alike: exhibitions and nature education programmes are held regularly. The garden features an increasing number of new ornamental plants, with a strong emphasis on the use and demonstration of horticultural techniques.
The plant collections in the greenhouses are mainly tropical and near-tropical plants. The open-air collections focus mainly on temperate plants. The various open-air collections also include a number of plants protected in Estonia.
The University of Tartu Botanic Garden, which is celebrating its 220th anniversary, celebrates its birthday in the summer in June, when the garden is colourful and in bloom. The celebrations are organised in conjunction with the Nature Festival, which this year takes place from 7 to 11 June. The theme of the Nature Festival, "The Garden of Life", is inspired by the 220th anniversary of the University of Tartu Botanical Garden.