Project Reclaiming the River Emajõgi and the Great Lakes raises the region's population's awareness, pride and willingness to cooperate and introduces these unique and original Great Lakes to the world.
This project participates in the first Tartu 2024 culture and education programme development process, as a part of "Tartu with Earth" programme line. Projects that successfully complete the process will advance to the official European Capital of Culture programme.


River Emajõgi that flows through Tartu connects lakes Võrtsjärv and Peipus, forming Estonian Great Lakes. With its 600 km long waterway, but no sea access, the Great Lakes are like diamonds in the rough. Their value lies in their range and diversity, which have not been utilised thus far to develop the region.

The planned project will carry out a Great Lakes Festival in 2024. Local historical boats – barge Jõmmu, viking ship Turm, kale ships Liisu ja Paula –will sail with an escort fleet from Estonia and other countries from port to port in 17 days. The festival will end with a big bridge party on Vabadussild, which is the birthplace of Tartu.
Led by: Liisa-Lota Kaivo (lodi@lodi.ee)  
Read the initial project description from the Bid Book (p 21)