Exploring Tourism in Estonia
icon Worldwideicon
Places to Visit Details

Patarei Prison And Sea Fortress

Kalamaja, Estonia

The imposing, seaside complex is both an architectural monument and a place to see the grim realities of Soviet prison life.

The Patarei (Battery) sea fortress was built by the order of Russian emperor Nicholas I and completed in 1840. It still has its beautiful limestone facade. With changes in military technology, however, the fortress soon lost its value as defence structure and was instead used a barracks for soldiers of various army units.

It was in 1919 that Patarei's function changed drastically: it was converted into a prison – a purpose for which it was well suited thanks to its 2-metre thick walls.

The foreign powers that occupied Estonia in the 20th century continued to use Patarei for that purpose, and visitors today can see quite a lot of its original Soviet interior as they stroll through its dank corridors.

Patarei is open in summer season only. Advance bookings recommended.

Check out more Places to Visit