Exploring Tallinn: Patarei

Tallinn is so much more than its Old Town. There are several cool places to go to and Autumn is the perfect time to do so: it isn’t too cold yet, there aren’t too many tourists anymore and final exams are nowhere to be seen yet. In the series Exploring Tallinn we will show you some of the places you shouldn’t miss!

Patarei is one of the most interesting places –if not the most interesting– in Tallinn for me, and it will be unfortunately closed down on October 6th, *cries uncontrollably*, so plan a trip there ASAP! It’s located in Kalamaja, so it’s not hard to get there.

Built originally as a fortress and finished in 1840, it was actually used as a prison for decades until 2002 when the remaining prisoners were moved to a more decent prison. Since then it has been abandoned and left to decay, but also turned into a touristic attraction.

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Many things were left behind like cabinets, bed bunks, chairs, desks, hospital equipment, machinery and even magazine cut-outs that prisoners pasted on the walls. Knowing that this place housed not only “ordinary” criminals but also political prisoners and Holocaust victims during the Soviet and German occupations gives this place an even heavier feel (you can even get a look at the execution room), and the fact that it has been abandoned for many years makes it even spookier.

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This room was pitch black. I don’t get scared very easily but even with a flashlight I didn’t dare to go inside, I just took a photo with flash from the entrance.

Nature is taking over as you can see plants growing on former outdoor cells, and water leaks have severely damaged the building, so I think that’s why it’s being closed down: it is no longer safe to be inside and the massive building is in dire need of repairs.

 

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This photo is from a year ago and I could easily walk along that aisle, but when I went again in December the wooden floor was already falling apart.

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So hurry up, check the available tour dates, book a guided tour on their webpage and get a look at this awesome place before it’s too late! Oh, and bring a flashlight, many of the rooms of the building are completely dark.

-Fabiola

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