Estonia’s Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map

Estonia’s Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map

Situated 186 kilometres (116 miles) southeast of Tallinn and 245 kilometres (152 miles) northeast of Riga, you’ll find the second largest city of Estonia, Tartu. Not only is it home to the nation’s oldest and most established University, but it’s also the hub of Estonian street art. The Tartu graffiti and urban art scene is booming.

There is a range of street-art styles too, some are playful and others are political or based on satire. You’ll find some created from Stencils, some are lifelike, others are cartoonish. Sometimes tiny, other times are giant murals. The street art in Tartu is diverse.

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
From the 2014 Stencibility festival titled ‘Ms Reet’ by MTO (France). This piece is painted in on the wall of a small shop, facing down the road towards the newly built shopping centres. Her hand up in the ‘stop’ position and rope binding her in retaliation of commercialism taking over.
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart

My home town of Bristol also boasts a thriving and vibrant graffiti scene as well as probably the famous street artist, Banksy. I love seeing how other cities rival my home town in terms of urban artwork. The Tartu street art scene certainly gives my beloved Bristol a run for its money!

The single word answer; Everywhere! You won’t have to walk far or look too hard to find graffiti in Tartu, it adorns nearly every doorway, bridge, wall, abandoned building, power box and archway imaginable. 

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
At first glance, I walked over this one. When you are stood next to it, you don't see the faces. It's not until you cross the road and look back at it, that you realise that it's a group of people. A very clever piece of urban art in Tartu
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Even a shabby run-down building is turned into a stunning piece of artwork

When you’re walking about the city, don’t forget to look up and back over your shoulder. You’ll be surprised with how much you can see. 

Naturally, urban art is constantly evolving, some of the graffiti in Tartu has been painted or tagged over, what’s there today isn’t guaranteed to be there tomorrow, but that’s part of the excitement of going to see Estonia’s street art capital – you never quite know what you will stumble upon.  

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
The white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland makes up a huge piece of wall art

Tartu Street Art Map

By no means is this map exhaustive or up-to-date even such a short time after visiting Estonia’s street art capital. Despite the Tartu graffiti scene is constantly changing, the map still provides a good starting point. However, even when I visited, some pieces had been removed or painted over as well as lots of pieces I discovered that aren’t even on the street art map of Tartu. 

Why is Tartu called the capital of Estonian street art?

Despite street graffiti being an illegal activity in Estonia, Tartu plays host to Stencibility Festival. The annual street art festival held each year in the city has just celebrated its 10 anniversary.
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart

The festival consists of various local and international artists producing work in urban spaces around Tartu. The locations of these spaces are kept a secret until after the festival to protect the identity of the artists working on them. To coincide with the festival, various workshops, tours and talks take place at the same time. 

Considering urban artwork is prohibited by the law in the country, the local city council actually encourage it! So much so, that in 2013 Edward von Longus was presented with a cultural award for his technically illegal pieces of street art. 

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
An iconic politically fueled Edward von Longus stencil graffiti piece . Tartu, Estonia

With a local government promoting and encouraging urban art in Estonia, it’s easy to see how Tartu has become the nation’s street art capital.

This year, as part of the Stencibility festival, the organisers introduced Europe’s largest sticker exhibition called SLÄP! This travelling exhibition featured over 11,000 stickers from over 250 artists representing 30 countries who literally stamped their mark on a van.

The SLÄP! exhibition van than set out to 11 different cities across Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.  I coincidently caught up with the van while it was in the town of Parnu in Estonia. It was there one day and then gone the next. 

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Follow Stencibility on Facebook to get the latest news as well as information on a tour of street art in Tartu.

The Street Art of Tartu – ‘Freedom Gallery’

Under every bridge crossing of the River Emajogi in Tartu, you’ll find hundreds of pieces of street art. Some are giant murals, but more commonly are smaller stencilled pieces.

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
There is artwork all over the city - don't forget to look up and behind you, I nearly missed this tiny piece on the bridge

Murals in Tartu

If there is a blank wall in Tartu, you can be sure that before long it will be donning a piece of artwork or beautiful mural. The Tartu street art scene is accepted by the local government as well as the residents. Tartu graffiti has given the city and identity. Along with the university, there is a cultural vibe throughout with tons of hipster cafes, bars and small independent artsy shops. It’s certainly a city with a lot of charm

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Colourful 'Angry Bird' influenced piece on a pub wall in Tartu

Edward von Longus stencil work in Tartu

Known as Estonia’s answer to Banksy, due to the use of stencils in his work, the Tartu based street artist also draws parallels in his topic of work which provokes and highlights political and social problems. Like any reputable graffiti artist, Edward von Lõngus keeps his identity hidden. Some say he’s a single person operating under an alias or a fictional character, and others say a group of people acting under one name. Who knows?!

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Another Edward von Longus piece of work hidded between two bins in Tartu

His iconic style of work can be characterised by his signature EvL stamp (seen on the bottom corner of the coat in the picture above). His work and can be found all over Tartu as well as internationally including Berlin, Riga and London.

Tartu Street Art on Electricity Boxes & Residential Areas

Wandering about in the neighbourhoods just outside of the main city of Tartu, you will find pieces of urban art everywhere. In particular, the Electricity boxes, shed walls and people’s houses have all had the blessing of the local street artists.

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Electricoty boxes all over the surrounding area to Tartu City have pieces of artwork on them

The urban art gallery of Tartu is certainly worthwhile exploring beyond the centre.  I spent a whole afternoon walking around the nearby residential areas, in reality it’s not far by foot, but there was so many beautiful pieces of graffiti to look at, it took a few hours to do it justice.

Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Even the back of the garage hasn't been spared from having a beautiful piece of art work - the whole city of Tartu is an urban art gallery
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
The iconic faces of Gandhi and Darwin along a residential street in Tartu

If you like street art, I highly recommend the Tartu graffiti scene

If you are travelling in the Baltic States ot are in the capital of Talinn for a few days, it’s certainly worthwhile taking a trip to Tartu to explore the street art vibe. There are hundereds of pieces all over the city and certainly should be on any urban art lovers bucket list. 

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Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart
Estonia's Street Art Capital – Urban Art & The Tartu Graffiti Scene + Street Art Map with locations of this ever changing urban gallery. Tartu Graffiti - Estonias second largest city plays host to the nations street art hub. #graffiti #streetart #estonia #baltics #urbanart

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I love visiting art galleries and art museums in different cities, but nothing beats wandering the streets in search of street art. You found some amazing ones – especially love those on the electrical boxes.

  2. Great post. I will be in Estonia next spring so I am saving tis for reference. Looks fun!

  3. I’m a huge fan of street art and never thought about visiting Estonia. Now on the list!

  4. I love street art! Here in the U.S., it’s mostly found in major cities but is gaining popularity in smaller urban cities as well. I’d love to visit the city in your post, it looks like such an interesting place.

  5. Oh I love streetart, its such a beautiful way of expression 🙂

  6. I’m a huge fan of street art so I love this post!

  7. I am a huge fan of street art too. It gives such great insight into the culture and vibe of a place.

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