Dorpt Dorpat, Or Derpt, a town of Russia, in Livonia, situated on the Embach, which is here crossed by a granite bridge, 163 m. S. W. of St. Petersburg; pop. in 1867, 20,780. It is on the road from Riga to St. Petersburg, and has two suburbs bearing the names of those cities. It has a neat and picturesque appearance, being ranged in a semicircle, with clean, well paved streets, and a spacious market place. The most noteworthy of the public buildings is the university, founded in 1032, when the town belonged to Sweden, by Gus-tavus Adolphus, suppressed by the Russians in 1656, and reestablished in 1802 by the emperor Alexander. Connected with it are a normal school called the Professoren-Institut, founded in 1828, and an observatory which the labors of Struve and other astronomers have rendered famous. The university has a library of about 80,000 volumes, a museum, and a botanical garden. It is in high repute, and students (600 to 700) resort to it from every part of the empire. The rector of the university is now appointed by the emperor; previous to 1851 he was selected by the professors from their own body. Dorpat also contains a gymnasium, founded in 1589, a number of other schools and academies, handsome law courts, and an ancient cathedral, now partly in ruins.
The town was once fortified, but the defences have been dismantled and converted into pleasure gardens. It was founded in the 11th century, and anciently possessed great commercial importance, ranking as one of the Hanse towns. The Teutonic knights took it from the Russians in 1223, and erected it into a bishopric in 1224. This rendered it a place of considerable note, and for upward of three centuries the bishop exercised almost sovereign power within his diocese. The see was abolished in 1558, when the town passed again into the hands of the Russians. The Poles seized it in 1582, and the Swedes took it from them in 1625. Peter the Great recaptured it in 1704, and it has remained ever since in the possession of Russia. The vernacular is Es-thonian, but the best educated classes speak German, which is also the language of the university and of the gymnasium.