Tullio Ilomets - igiliikur

Tullio Ilomets - perpetuum mobile

  • Jaan Tamm archaeologist, founding member of the Estonian Heritage Society


In jubilee interviews, Tullio Ilomets, the perpetuum mobile in the title of this article, has also been dubbed the Spirit of Tartu. Thereby he
joins the long line of his fellow Tartu residents who have borne the
same title: Jaan Tõnisson, Villem Ernits, and Arnold Matteus.
The article shall provide a short overview of how the author met
Tullio Ilomets in 1968 and their future contacts over the course of
decades. One focus will be Tullio Ilomets’ activities since the beginning of the 1960s in the keeping and maintenance of the graves of
University of Tartu faculty members at Vana-Jaani and other Tartu
cemeteries, an activity that particularly intensified after the establishment of the Academic Heritage Society (AMS) at the end of the
1980s. The need for the maintenance of the graves of other faculty
members and cultural figures associated with the alma mater, both
at home and abroad, is also highlighted. Although the requisite lists
of names were already in place by 2001, practical work has not yet
come up to speed.
In addition, the article offers an overview of public speeches initiated by Tullio Ilomets of the AMS and its Graduates’ Club concerning many problems of Estonian history and culture. Active intervention by the AMS enabled the resolution of the fate of the residence of
Jaan Poska, architect of the Tartu Peace Treaty; the building is located in Tallinn, Kadriorg on the banks of the Liivaoja (J. Poska Street 8
in 1927); in the wave of privatisations in the 1990s, it had been planned to give the building to a religious sect for a worship space. The
wish to preserve the memory of Poska also arose. As the chairman of
the AMS, Tullio Ilomets intervened in an already lengthy discussion
on this topic in 2000, and his persistence showed its results when on
28 February 2008, the 142nd anniversary of Jaan Poska’s birth, the
reception hall of the Tallinn City Government was opened in the Poska house, where there is also a Jaan Poska memorial room.
However, the most numerous marks have been left in our educational and cultural history by Tullio Ilomets’ activities in the establishment of the University of Tartu Museum, which was driven by
the desire to save and preserve even a part of the cultural heritage
connected with the University of Tartu. Ilomets also played an important role in the restoration of the monument to Swedish king Gustav
II Adolf, the founder of the University of Tartu; for this reason, at the
unveiling of the monument on 23 April 1992, Ilomets was entrusted
with the opening speech of the ceremony in the presence of the Swedish royal couple.
The article also provides a partial overview of the honorary titles
and awards bestowed on Tullio Ilomets. He was an honorary member of the Estonian Heritage Society and recipient of its award for
service. On his 95th jubilee, he was officially awarded the shoulder
ribbon of the Estonian Heritage Society’s Service Award. In fall of
the same year, the Estonian Heritage Society established the Tullio
Ilomets Heritage Award, the first recipient of which was his student,
Jüri Peets. Tullio Ilomets, who was 96 at the time, participated in
the awards ceremony in the White Hall of the University of Tartu


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