Gunpowder Cellar of Tartu

Coordinates: 58°22′45″N 26°43′08″E / 58.379154°N 26.718975°E / 58.379154; 26.718975
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The Gunpowder Cellar (Estonian: Püssirohukelder) is a historic building in Tartu, Estonia which now functions as a beer restaurant.

The name is derived from the restaurant's location: it is situated in an 18th-century gunpowder cellar constructed in 1768–1778 by order of Catherine II of Russia on the site of an earlier fort, making use of the natural valley and pre-existing very thick brick walls for added safety. The building served as a gunpowder cellar until 1809 when it was converted to a beer storage room.[1] At the end of the 19th century the building began to be used by the University of Tartu[1] which meant that lectures and scientific work were often conducted on top of gunpowder barrels.[2] In the 1990s it functioned as a large medieval restaurant before reopening in 2001 as a pub and disco[3] though retaining a wine cellar.[4]

Its unique structure also lends it a unique distinction: it is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest pub ceiling in the world, at 11 metres (36 ft).[3]

The restaurant is a popular meeting place among Tartu's student population. It boasts a regular cultural programme, including a number of plays by the Vanemuine theatre. This programme includes regular live music events.[4]


  1. ^ a b The complete guide to the Soviet Union, Victor E. Louis, Jennifer M. Louis, 1976, p295 ISBN 0-7181-1077-3 ISBN 978-0-7181-1077-2
  2. ^ History of Tartu University 1632-1982, Karl Siilivask, Perioodika, 1985
  3. ^ a b Baltic Cities, Bradt Travel Guides, 2008, Neil Taylor, p79
  4. ^ a b Europe on a shoestring, Tom Masters, Lonely Planet 2009, p341

External links[edit]

58°22′45″N 26°43′08″E / 58.379154°N 26.718975°E / 58.379154; 26.718975