Patarei Prison

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Tallinn, Estonia

Patarei Prison Tallinn Reviews

jl_ghs316 jl_ghs316
68 reviews
Eye opening prison near downtown Tallinn Aug 31, 2012
One of the first things that someone told me whenever I arrived in Tallinn was that I needed to go here. A brief history of Patarei. Originally opened in 1840 as a sea battery to guard the Tallinn harbor, Patarei (literally Battery) was later turned into a prison after World War I. It remained as a prison until 2004 whenever it was shut down on grounds that the European Union would not let Estonia join until the prison was closed. That should tell you some of the brutality and horrid living conditions that were experienced by prisons under the Russians, Estonians, Nazis, Soviets, and Estonians again. The prison has basically sat untouched since it was shut down, leaving the museum shocking to say the least.

Even if you take into account that the prison probably deteriorated while it sat idle for a few years, the mental picture of life at Patarei is not one many people would be jealous of. Dark, damp, cramped, and barbaric are just a few thoughts that came to my mind as I toured the prison. I would guess half of the prison was locked off, but you could freely walk through anything from the prison cells, isolation cells, library, infirmary, exercise yard, to the hanging room. There really wasn't a lot that they seemed to block off.

Almost everything looked like they just up and left. The library was full of books. The infirmary had test tubes and medical equipment, including what looked like a breathing machine. The cell bathrooms still had pornography plastered on the walls.

There were a few areas were rubbish had been piled up. Prison graffiti added a somewhat personal touch that bordered on depressing.

I intentionally didn't read the pamphlet that I received because I didn't want to form an opinion before entering the prison. I also really didn't want to know what some of the stuff I was looking at was other than at face value. After about an hour walking through the prison I went down to the little cafe near the shore within the prison walls. I just kind of sat and thought for a while, about nothing in particular. There really isn't much to think about after you just toured a decrepit prison where untold horrors were experienced and uncountable deaths occurred. All I could really think was that I had no clue what it would be like to be in prison, let a lone a prison of such standards as late as 2004. I personally would have thought prisons of such nature were relegated to third world countries in far off parts of the world. I guess when it comes down to it, maybe that was what Estonia in essence was for the past century or more. From walking around half a mile from where the prison is located in the city center, you would never imagine that such a place could exist almost in the shadows of one of the more beautiful towns I have seen in Europe.
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brettjayhawk brettjay…
26 reviews
Prison of Patarei Jun 10, 2011
This fortress was built for czar nicholas back in 1829 and wasn't finished until 1840. It is a triangular prison orginally built as a sea fortress. This prison last held prisoners in 2002 and has now been turned into a museum. It really hasn't been touch by anyone but tourists since the prisoners left.

Our tour guide told us that this prison was the most haunted place in all of Estonia. Many people were murdered when the Soviets occupied Tallinn. They did many experiments on the inmates of the prison. They had a specific room that the soviets did psychic experiments and is supposed to be the second most haunted room in the prison. In the Psychic experiment room our tour guide had us all enter the room and slammed the door shut and turned off the lights. Talk about a scary moment I think I jumped in the person next to me arms. I also took a picture where it looks like a ghost could be in it.

The tour guide also took us to the medical rooms where they would do operations on the inmates. Everything was still there and basically untouched.

The last place our tour guide took us was the execution room. The soviets would bring prisoners into the room and line them up against the red wall. They would get on their knees and face the wall. The KGB agents would then shoot them in the back of the head. He told us this was the most haunted room in the prison.

The outside of the prison facing the water has been turned into a beach pub. You can just go and grab a beer and they also throw big parties. These parties are rave like. I wish I would have had the chance to attend one.
KGB shoots you in the back of the …
I've got top bunch!
Medical area
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Chokk says:
Never been there - but I will have to do it on my next trip
Posted on: Oct 15, 2011

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Patarei Prison Map
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photo by: Chokk