Patarei – Forgotten prison

Share the page

Visit to Patarei in Tallinn

Chanz had a possibility to visit in Patarei “Communism is Prison” exchibition earlier this week. Here we have gathered some facts and pictures. Unfortunatly we cannot show all the pictures, since they can be quite shocking, but have selected just a few to show you how it looks inside the prison.




Patarei prison was used by the Soviet Union’s communist regime and also by Germans to imprison thousands of innocent people. The aim for opening it for public is to raise awareness of the inhuman nature of the communist regimes.

The complex was built in mid 19-th century as part of the defence system of Russias capital St Peterburg. Around 1864 it was converted into an army barracks that housed over 2000 soldiers. Paterei served continuously as a penal institution of the Republic of Estonia until 1940, when the totalitarian Soviet Union occupied the country. It was used as a prison after the restoration of national independence as well in 1991–2002. 

Currently almost 10,000 people have been identified who were arrested for political reasons in 1940-1941 and most of them also were locked up in Patarei. Estonias Head of State Jaan Tõnisson was almost sure executed in Patarei by Soviet authorities in 1941.

The unique history of this building, which brings together the repressions of two of the most merciless regimes of the 20th century, places the sufferings, resistance and hopes of thousands of people within the prison walls and has made this complex a site of memory of international importance.


How to get there

The exchibition is open Mon-Sun 10am-6pm and last entrance in 5.15pm.

Address: Kalaranna 28, Tallinn.

Link to the location in Google Maps here.

More information can be found from the home page here.


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies and our privacy policy more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. To fully view our terms and conditions and view our privacy terms please go to By visiting this site and participating to competitions where you need to enter your email details and/or other personal details you consent us to send you marketing material. You can withdraw your consent by informing us via and/or stop using the website.