Patarei Prison

Tallinn, Estonia

Patarei Prison is a building complex in Kalamaja district of Tallinn, Estonia. The premises cover approximately four hectares of a former sea fortress and prison, located on the shore of Tallinn Bay.

The fort was built from 1830–1837 as part of the fortifications for the tsarist Russian state. The building order was given by emperor Nicholas I. In 1864, Tallinn was removed from Russian Empire’s list of fortresses due to Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War, and the fort was converted into barracks.

The Republic of Estonia, which declared independence in 1918, reconstructed it as a prison after World War I. In 1919, the fort's main function became a prison, lasting until 2005.

For Estonians, Patarei is one of the most prominent symbols of Soviet and Nazi political terror.

In 2018, the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory launched preparations to establish a museum of crimes of communism and an accompanying international research centre in Tallinn. The museum is planned to an approximately 5,000 square meter area in the eastern part of the building and is scheduled to open in 2025.



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Suur-Patarei, Tallinn, Estonia
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Founded: 1830-1837
Category: Castles and fortifications in Estonia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Estonia)


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Daniil Karpenko (13 months ago)
A deep dive into atmosphere of Gulag. If you want to get a feeling what it was like to be behind the bars in the Soviet prison, this the place.
Nikos Gkekas (2 years ago)
It is a "sad" place where lots of people suffered during the last century. It is one of the places where you have to visit in order not to forget the past and be careful not to make the same mistakes in the future.
Solid Solid (2 years ago)
Unique experience of visiting a prison used by the communist regime. Its not just a prison, but a museum detailing the horrors which happened behind closed doors. A lot of information about the prisoners which were housed here, but only those which were jailed for political reasons. The museum is quite short, so don’t rush through it expecting a full prison tour.
&Tilly [andtillycom] (2 years ago)
We loved the experience. Authentic, large enough to spend some time in, while not as large as to nit be able to enjoy. I took a few pics that are fantastic for wallpapers and left emotionally shaken and wanting to remember. Definitely a must see in Talinn.
JT (3 years ago)
Very good exhibition with text and pictures. Must see as part of history of Estonia and all baltic countries. Reachable by bus tours or walk
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