On the first Sunday of Advent, lights were lit on the Christmas tree and the brand new ice rink at Town Hall Square in Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest town.
The Village of Light, with its cosy surroundings, awaits residents and visitors of Tartu to spend Christmas time in the town centre.
“This year, Town Hall Square will not be hosting the usual crowded social events, such as the lighting of Advent candles on Sundays and the Winter Dance Festival. However, on 12 December, a traditional Christmas market will be held, the traders of which will be scattered along Küüni Street,” the town’s local authorities said in a statement.
In the Village of Light, which consists of 18 small houses, there are animal carousels and glass pavilions. “Whether it is to buy gingerbread, waffles and hot tea, lounge in the straw pavilion, enjoy a movie or watch the family of chickens,” the Tartu municipal government said.
The Estonian National Museum and Tartu’s historical theatre, Vanemuine, have their own pavilions and the Tartu Art School will be installing an interactive lighting installation in one of the pavilions.
This year, writers and poets also have a glass pavilion to present their literary performances. “Taking place on 1 December, an event – celebrating the fifth anniversary of the designation of Tartu as a UNESCO City of Literature – will bring several dozen literary guests from across Estonia to Town Hall Square, where they will present their creative works.”
People can also experience sleigh or pony rides in the town centre during Christmas, and, from time to time, enjoy the performance of a fire dance or a science theatre presentation.
A nearly 1000-square-metre ice rink is also open around the Tartu’s Kissing Studentssculpture and fountain, where one can skate until 17 February 2021.
The Village of Light in Tartu is open until 10 January from 9AM–9PM.
Due to the restrictions on gathering enacted due to the spread of the coronavirus, Tartu residents and visitors are advised to spend their time scattered about.
Cover: The Village of Light in Tartu. Photo by Silver Gutmann.