Patarei is a notorious sea fortress on the coast of Tallinn, a short walk from the historic Old Town. Originally constructed as a protective fortress in 1840, the building found use as the central prison of the newly founded Republic of Estonia in 1920.
During World War II it became a true house of terror, ending thousands of lives in the hands of both occupying forces, the Soviet NKVD and the German SD.
Patarei remained the central prison throughout the Soviet occupation. Its dark history and poor conditions continued to haunt prisoners for another decade even after Estonia regained its independence, finally unlocking its doors in 2002.
Since then, Patarei has been catering for a completely different lot of visitors. It is now an odd and unconventional venue for various events, art festivals, concerts and excursions.
Our guided tours offer exclusive access to the still restricted areas of the prison. With the guidance of our well-informed guides, you will learn about the history of the prison fortress, and get to know the stories of life and death of political and criminal convicts from all the different eras. Our stories are gathered directly from former staff members and inmates and are not available through any other channels.