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Destination Details

Kalamaja, Estonia

The unforgettable Seaplane Harbour is home to a super-modern maritime and military museum, complete with historic ships to tour.

Located in Tallinn's famed, wooden-house district of Kalamaja, the harbour is best known for its architecturally unique Seaplane Hangars. Built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress, these hangars are the world’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in the 1930s.

Now the vast hangars house an extensive, high-tech museum telling exciting stories of Estonia's maritime and military history and promising a 'sea full of excitement' for the whole family.  The museum comprises more than two hundred large exhibits in an area equivalent to nearly 2 million A4 paper sheets laid down side by side.

The British-built Lembit submarine, weighing 600 tones, is the centrepiece of the museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years and was the oldest submarine in the world still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in excellent condition, and climbing inside offers an interesting glimpse of 1930s technology.

Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of a Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane that was also used by the Estonian armed forces. The Short Type 184 earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. None of the originals have survived. The replica in the Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the entire world.

More excitement for adults and kids alike is provided by the museum's simulators, which mimic a flight above Tallinn, an around-the-world journey in a yellow submarine and navigating on Tallinn Bay.

In the museum's outdoor area, visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.

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