PATAREI PRISON, TALLINN
ADDRESSSuur-Patarei, Kalaranna 2, Tallinn
OPENING HOURS AND GUIDED TOURSOpen from May 18th to 25th of September. Every day 12:00 – 19:00, entrance until 18:15. SEvearl thematic tours are available for ordering throughout the whole year. See website. Can be arranged in English, Russian and Finnish.
Patarei Prison seen from the Museum Harbor.
Seen from the east.
The prison cages.
The hanging room.
The execution room in which the KGB agents shoot the condemned prisoners in the back of the head, when they knelt on the floor with the head against the wall.
The hospital room.
In 1828 Nicholas I of Russia mandated the building of the sea fortress of Patarei in Tallinn to protect the sailing route to St. Petersburg, the capital of the Russian empire. It was completed in 1840. Over the years it has had different functions. In 1867 the complex functioned as military barracks and from 1919 until 2004 as a prison. Today it gives a glimpse of Soviet-era prison life in all its dreariness. Visitors can explore the hallways to see cells, work areas, medical rooms, execution rooms, exercise yards etc. Up to 2000 prisoners were normally detained in Patarei, but top of occupancy was reached with about 4600. Many people were murdered here in the Soviets period. In the execution room the KGB agents just shoot the condemned prisoners in the back of the head, when they knelt on the floor with the head against the wall. Many psychic experiments on the inmates of the prison were carried out in a special Psychic experiment room. In the subsequent period of the Republic of Estonia, parts of the fortress were used as the basis for constructing Estonia’s own coastal and sea defense. Since the restoration of independence, practically no parts of the fortress have been used for any military purposes, and they are waiting for a new civilian life.