Estonia’s abandoned prisons: the sights to see

Merje Aus | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Prisons, usually, are not the places where anyone really wants to go to voluntarily and are not considered to be tourist attractions. But think again – these abandoned Estonian prisons might make you think otherwise, as they really are the sights to see

Blue lagoon with a prison on the top

Also known as Estonia's blue lagoon, a quarry in Rummu hides a lot of dark secrets. The prison was established in the year 1938, and the main purpose of it was to put prisoners to work in the quarry. Slate was at that time the most important building material, and since the work was very difficult, it was easy to use the prisoners. From that time, in the middle of quarry stands “an ash mountain”, which actually consists of mining waste. When slate lost its popularity, prison began to lose its point, and the pumps that kept the water out of prison were turned off. Water filled the quarry fast, and that’s how we got our blue lagoon, ash mountain and underwater prison. Rummu was a popular swimming spot for a long time. But since many daredevils decided to jump from the walls of the prison to bright blue water, it was considered not safe and closed off. But it didn’t keep the visitors away. Nosy crashers still found a way to get in and have a swim. But be warned, I don’t recommend you crashing uninvited if you don’t want to become a tasty meal for a guard dog. Since it is impossible to keep people away, the place is still open for tours, so I suggest you visit it with a guide, not on your own. 

Picture © Credit to: iStock/NordicMoonlight

Eery prison by the seaside

Another deserted prison stands on the shores of Tallinn. This gruesome place called Patarei was probably the most feared place, when Estonia was occupied by the Nazis and Soviet forces, and when a lot of death sentences were carried out. Probably the stories and legends full of fear that go around the prison are worse than it actually was. But honestly, a room with red walls and a plughole in the floor only says one thing - it was used for some scary purposes. After closing, the prison was open for visitors. There were tours, and you could rent some rooms to have your birthday party and… you probably won’t believe it - rave parties. Now, the future of Patarei prison is not clear, and it is closed for visitors. But you can still look at this seaside prison from far. Take a walk up the stairs of the Linnahall Auditorium, and enjoy the view of the sea and Patarei prison, when the waves crash against its eery thick and high walls. 

Picture © Credit to: iStock/k009034

Jails might not be the prettiest places, but Estonia’s abandoned prisons are definitely the sights to see.

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