Top 10 Most Read Stories from 2016

As we are entering the new year, let’s take a look back and see what was popular on our blog in 2016. The following stories had the highest number of readers throughout the year and cover a wide range of topics both in research and university life. If you haven’t already read them, now is your chance!

Here comes the list:

1. 10 Estonian Tongue Twisters for Language Addicts

If you take up the challenge of learning these Estonian phrases, then you are a language addict. These are not easy even for Estonians to pronounce.

If this is your first or an early-stage encounter with Estonian language, then a two-step initiation with 10 Tongue Twisters To Get You Started on Estonian and 10 Estonian Tongue Twisters for Language Hackers is strongly recommended.

kuuuurija töööö ööülikoolis

2. First National Atlas for Estonia’s 100th Anniversary

No national atlas has ever been published in Estonia. The University of Tartu Department of Geography has set out to fill this gap in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, UT as the Estonian-language university, and the department itself. The atlas is targeted at all who are interested in Estonian culture, history, and nature. Take a glimpse at the future national atlas of Estonia by viewing a selection of five historical maps.

Influence zones in Estonia in 1930-ies

Zones of influence in Estonia in the 1930s

3. A Letter to Tartu Students from a Moscow Prison

In the beginning of May, notable Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky addressed a letter to our students where he describes the most definitive aspect of Russian culture. The letter arrived from a Moscow prison: Pavlensky was arrested in 2015 after carrying out the performance entitled “Threat“.

Piotr Pavlensky

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky sits on the cobblestones of Red Square during a protest action in front of the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, November 10, 2013. Pavlensky nailed himself to the cobblestones by his genitals as part of an art performance in protest of what he sees as apathy in contemporary Russian society and the possibility that such indifference can eventually lead to a police state. Image credit: Maxim Zmeyev / Reuters / Scanpix

4. No Country Stands Alone – Except Maybe Syria!

On New Year’s Eve, many an Estonian was patiently waiting in front of the screen for one of their most beloved shows, Tujurikkuja (‘Mood Spoiler’). Sketch after sketch the tension rose, until the last song aired on national television. Immediately after, both delighted and infuriated parts of the audience took to social media. Find out what University of Tartu professors think about the famous Tujurikkuja parody.


“Nature knows, fatherland knows – we like to hate everything!”

5. Was the Moth Really Attracted to Christiano Ronaldo’s Tears?

People watching the Euro 2016 final were excited by the moth that landed on the face of the Portuguese captain, Cristiano Ronaldo. Find out if Ronaldo’s moth was attracted to the footballer’s tears or came to offer friendship and consolation.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Silver Y. Photo: Screenshot

6. Genetic Mutation Influences Mental Disorders and Alcohol Addiction

Our researchers have discovered a genetic mutation that makes us more susceptible to mental disorders and alcohol addiction. Now it is easier to develop a better cure for such disorders.

a depressed young woman

Mood disorders are hereditary. Image by Mary Lock / Creative Commons

7. Five Reasons to Visit Tartu

The unpredictable summer weather in Estonia often makes people want to travel to faraway southern countries during their holidays, when in fact there are exciting tourist attractions here to enjoy. Here are five good ideas for your days off in Tartu.

Black Dog Garden. Photo by:

8. Less Is More: The Modern Working Environment Paralyses the Brain

The human brain is the most creative and flexible computing device in the known universe. Unfortunately, the modern working environment often turns this magical machine into a pocket calculator. A neuroscientist explains how to get the most out of your brain.

We often need to do several things at once, but our brains are clumsy multitaskers. Photo credit:

9. Meet Jason, the Debating Origami Artist

Meet Jason, a master’s student of semiotics in Tartu, an origami artist, a public speaker, and so much more.

Jason Dydynski

Jason Dydynski. Photo from personal archive

10. From Silicon Valley to Tartu to Study and Build an IT Company

Chris Willmore, an alumnus of software engineering at University of Tartu, quit his job at Yahoo! and came to work and live in Tartu. “There is something about being in a small town like Tartu, surrounded by companies like ZeroTurnaround, Fortumo, Playtech, and Skype, that makes one want to build his own company”.

Chris Willmore. Photo credit: Raigo Saariste

Maybe you could be the author of one of our best stories in 2017? There is nothing difficult about it – see our guidelines!

Kaija Pook is an author and the editor of the UT Blog.

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