Patarei Prison

In 2018, I visited Patarei Prison in Tallinn, Estonia. Owing to a recent conversation I had with an Estonian friend about the current ongoing developments and demolitions that are occurring at the site, I thought it would be an opportune moment to publish these photos, to show you what the prison used to look like.


A brief bio: Patarei Prison (Estonian: Patarei Vangla), also known as Patarei Sea Fortress, and Tallinn Central Prison (Tallinna Keskvangla), and also commonly known as The Battery (Patarei), is a building complex in the Kalamaja district of Tallinn, Estonia. The premises covers approximately four hectares of a former sea fortress and prison, located on the shore of Tallinn Bay.


The fort was built between 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 the 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 was as a prison, and this lasted 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 be approximately 5,000 square meters, and will be located in the eastern part of the building, and is scheduled to open in 2025. (source: Wikipedia)


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