The Venue

The venue for the first State of the Map Baltics conference is the main building of University of Tartu.

The University of Tartu was founded in 1632 (etc etc, see official site). It is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe (among top 3% of world universities) and also the biggest and highest-ranked university in Estonia. The university possesses more than a hundred buildings, 31 of which are architectural monuments. Among the latter is the main building, built in 1809 and serving as a city landmark along the town hall. Chances for getting inside this building are rare even for university students, and other conferences have to spare a full day for excursions to it, but we will enjoy its two hundred years old interior for full two days in August.

All sessions will take place in the room 204, also known as the Council Hall (pictured above). We are pretty sure the people on the picture won't be there during the conference. The hall is normally used for PhD defense and University Senate meetings, so it must be a smart place. It is located on the second floor (wheelchair accessible) and is perfectly suitable for a technology conference: there are power outlets everywhere, a projector is provided, and the Wi-Fi is good.

The City

Tartu is a charming little (actually, not little, it's the second biggest city in Estonia, but it doesn't feel as such) city on a river flowing from the greatest Estonian lake to the fifth largest lake in Europe. It has everything to interest you and make you feel at home: many museums and beautifully shaped buildings, an abundance of fancy bridges and parks ranging from a leveled square with trees to a hilly one with footbridges all over. The explanation for this is quite horrible: entire city blocks were leveled during the WWII, and occupants decided to make public parks there instead. Among attractions there are ruins of the 13-century cathedral, just a couple minutes walk from the conference venue.

You'll find the town hall square quite unlike it is portrayed on the above photo: firstly, it will be daylight, and there will be many restaurants open, and people walking, and the fountain you can barely recognize here would be the centre of attention as always. Now is the moment for you to open Visit Tartu website, because we are not as good with words to describe the beauty of the city.

The estonian part of the organizing team plans to take you on an excursion through the less-known parts of the city and down by the Emajõgi river to the Peipus lake. The plans may change, of course, but the fun will stay.

(The above picture is not intended to be an illustration to the word "fun".)

Photos were taken from Wikimedia Commons, except the council hall one. Licenses and copyrights, in the order of appearance (also see "title" attributes): © Alinozka, CC-BY-SA; © Ivar Leidus, CC-BY-SA; © Andres Tennus/Tartu Ulikool; © Ireen Trummer, CC-BY-SA; © Alinozka, CC-BY-SA; © Kulmalukko, CC-BY; © Hannes, CC-BY-SA.

Follow @sotmbaltics for updates