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Southern Estonia

A quarter of Estonia united in the name of the European Capital of Culture.

A total of 20 Southern Estonian municipalities will share their Arts of Survival and show their uniqueness through culture.

European Capital of Culture is organised by: Antsla Parish, Elva Parish, Kambja Parish, Kanepi Parish, Kastre Parish, Luunja Parish, Nõo Parish, Otepää Parish, Peipsiääre Parish, Põlva Parish, Rõuge Parish, Räpina Parish, Setomaa Parish, Tartu city, Tartu Parish, Tõrva Parish, Valga Parish, Viljandi town, Võru town and Võru Parish.

A signed cooperation agreement paves the way to the European Capital of Culture title year. We stand together for the European Capital of Culture.

Singers in Seto folk costumes.

Southern Estonia invites you to visit

See what events await you already in 2024!

  • Tartu parish

    Out of town, art gets out of its comfort zone. Tartu parish melts itself into your heart. Look into my ice!

  • Peipsiääre parish

    Winding country roads lead to the golden-lit castle. Celebrate life in Peipsiääre!

  • Tartu city

    Only good experiences in the city of good thoughts. Tartu is the heart of the European Capital of Culture.

  • Luunja parish

    Ahoy! Hooray! Uhka?! Are you going to devote time to Luunja? Pencil in Kavastu!

  • Elva parish

    Enchanting home lights guide to Elva parish. This is a place for movement and wellbeing. A hearty welcome from Elva!

  • Nõo parish

    Do the Stars Mind You? Nõo parish knows! We'll meet beneath Nõo's starry sky, where the galaxy is within grasp.

  • Kambja parish

    Kambja parish, the cradle of Estonian choral singing, preserves our traditions. Life in Kambja isn't lulled to sleep; it is buzzing.

  • Kastre parish

    Oh, hop outside and see Kastre parish! The spirit of the folk song hero lives on. Come and feel it.

  • Tõrva parish

    Through fire and water, you have to get to this magical land of spells. Tõrva parish turns up the heat.

  • Otepää parish

    Between the domed landscape, a wild technology farm appears and top chefs make themselves busy on the beach. Otepää municipality knows how to live.

  • Kanepi parish

    All Postal roads lead to Kanepi parish! Here you can learn how to make a washing machine out of beetroot.

  • Põlva parish

    Awaken, the dawn chorus is singing! Põlva is a heavenly ground. Celebrate with us!

  • Räpina parish

    Räpina parish is a good home. Here, they create bridges across borders to bring us closer together.

  • Valga parish

    Valga municipality gives wings to Southern Estonian architecture. Here you can dream without boundaries.

  • Antsla parish

    Do you hear? Linda's crowing calls to Antsla municipality. Or was it the Pokus whispering in the shade of a grove...

  • Võru city

    The city of Võru is an oasis for culture lovers. Spend your days and nights here.

  • Võru parish

    One eavesdropper told that 2024 will be very special in Võru parish. Come one, come all.

  • Setomaa parish

    Are you lacking inspiration? The Setomaa parish offers relief. Divine experiences from the Kingdom of Peko.

  • Rõuge parish

    In Rõuge parish Aigu Om! Embrace the moment and experience good food and people.

  • Viljandi city

    A place to gather around the table and expand your world. Are you coming to Viljandi? Of course!

350+ projects in the programme Tartu 2024 x iLLIMOR 1000+ events Take a piece of the European Capital of Culture with you Tartu 2024 Souvenirs

Step by step, hand in hand towards the European Capital of Culture

Southern Estonia has moved towards becoming the European Capital of Culture by collectively deliberating every step of the way. Already in January of 2018, when the leaders of municipalities met in Tartu, it was determined that we would apply for the 2024 ECoC title together. A year later, in the final round of the selection phase, the leaders of the 19 municipalities and city of Tartu met at the top of the Suur Munamägi tower to sign a goodwill cooperation agreement, which affirmed our shared objectives.

In the autumn of 2020, the councils of 19 Southern Estonian municipalities from Põlva, Tartu, Valga and Võru counties and the city of Viljandi voted on the Tartu 2024 cooperation agreement. The goal of the cooperation agreement is to kick-start the in-depth preparation and implementation of the European Capital of Culture in the South Estonian region. The cooperation agreement contains the principles of ECoC programme creation, marketing and financing for the years 2021-2025.

An old man sits with a pipe in his mouth and crafts a walking stick from a tree branch.

Southern Estonia travel guide

From a smoke sauna to the top of Munamägi, across winding village roads to museums. Add boat rides on rivers, fishing on lakes and exciting explorations in small hidden places. 

Here you can hear the Seto leelo belonging to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, traverse the rediscovered winter roads, taste the local flavours, visit the birthplaces of Estonian choir music and the Estonian flag and swing over the borders of two countries.

Fire, water and air, hills and bogs – the dazzling Southern Estonia is a well kept secret, we are ready to share it during the European Capital of Culture year.