Old Observatory

  Uppsala 8      +372 737 69 32     10 Apr 2024
This grand building, founded in 1810 as the university's original observatory, now serves as one of the university's museum branches. The Old Observatory, being Estonia's first, marks the beginning of local astronomy. Its exhibitions chronicle the history of astronomy in Estonia and globally, spanning from the early 19th century to the era of the Soviet space program. Visitors can explore antique stargazing devices, engage with interactive exhibits, and enjoy city views from outside. Friedrich Wilhelm Struve, its most renowned director (from 1820 to 1839), installed the most powerful telescope of that era. A prominent plaque outside honors Struve's Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations extending 2,820 km from Norway to the Black Sea, which was added to UNESCO's Cultural Heritage List in 2005.

Current and upcoming exhibitions:
The latest exhibition 'Two Boys Who Dreamt of Stars: Struve, Fraunhofer, and the 200-Year-Old Telescope' marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the era's finest telescope at the Tartu Observatory. It was a large and technically innovative telescope with a lens made by Joseph v. Fraunhofer. On its anniversary, the Tartu Observatory reveals the backstory of the telescope, its maker Fraunhofer and its first user Struve, introducing them in a way that anyone without prior knowledge would also understand. The exhibition is displayed both in the courtyard as well as inside the observatory.


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Facilities for disabled




From May to September open 10:00-18:00, closed Mon. From October to April open 11:00-17:00 only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Price/Additional Info

The admission fee is €4 from. There is a joint ticket available for the University of Tartu Museum, Old Observatory, and University of Tartu Art Museum for €15. More information about the tickets can be found on the website.


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