The Tartu University botanical gardens was founded in 1803, onto the area of the current Tiigi st. park. The founder and first manager of the botanical gardens was professor G. A. Germann. He brought the gardens to it’s current place in 1806, near the corner bastion of the former city wall. The garden was designed and the construction was supervised by J.A. Weinmann. The design remains mainly the same as originally. A bronze bust and a memorial stone to prof. Germann are located on the circular wall of the old bastion, under the old limes.
In 1811 , C.F. Ledebour became the professor of science, also worked as the director of the botanical gardens for 25 years. During that time, the area of the garden has increased in the northwestern side, then the garden became as big as it is nowadays - 3,5ha.
A tropical greenhouse was built into the bastion’s valley, also many expeditions were carried out to investigate the flora of the Russian Empire. Due to those expeditions, many new plant species spreaded to western Europe. Later, the gardens were run by A.G. Bunge, N. Kuznetsov, T. Lippmaa, A. Vaga and others. Ledebour created an assistant director position, on which worked many later scientists, like E.R. Trauvetter, C.J. Maximowicz, B. Hryniewicki. The famous predecessors are reminded on boards, located on the wall of the institute.
Nowadays, about 10 000 species of plants can be found in the collections, which originate from tundra to tropical rainforests. The botanical garden is has the most species in Estonia and offers a great opportunity to familiarize with them.
The mission of the garden is to teach the visitors the diversity of the flora, saving usage of plantal resources and protection. The experimental and propagation gardens are in Oa street.