The Estonian town of Tartu to have a car-free avenue

Tartu, the second-largest town in Estonia, will have a special car-free avenue from 9 July until 8 August this summer; the avenue will host a cultural programme.

The car-free avenue will be at the section of Tartu’s Vabaduse Puiestee – a long road between the town’s old part and the river Emajõgi.

The car-free avenue was first organised in the summer of 2020. “This year, the car-free avenue will also be expanded to the adjacent park,” the town’s mayor, Urmas Klaas, said in a statement.

Many activities

The town’s aim is to attract people to “spend time safely”, offering them a cultural programme and activities that “enliven the urban space”.

A “water feature”, along with a carousel, will be installed in the avenue, while various markets will also be awaiting visitors. The adjacent park will host art and picnic tables, a skateboard park and a stationary summer stage, where musicians and DJs are expected to perform.

Tartu from the air. Photo by Sven Začek.

“There will be other ways to entertain yourself. We are waiting for people to play tennis, learn sign language, and seniors to take part in their very own evenings filled with dancing,” Maris Peebo, the programme manager of the avenue, said.

Safety precautions

The organisers will be monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 virus and use it as a basis for planning the programme. Activities and catering will be organised in a way that keeps people dispersed and security guards will prevent large gatherings.

Tartu has a population of around 100,000 people. It is the oldest town in Estonia – the first written records date from 1030 – and hosts the country’s oldest and largest university. Tartu will be the European Capital of Culture in 2024.

Read also: Berk Vaher: Tartu shares arts of survival with Europe for 2024.

Cover: The car-free avenue in Tartu in 2020. Photo by Mana Kaasik.

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