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Patarei Prison

Location: N59° 27` 1.88", E24° 44` 33.2" | Website: patarei.org/en/

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Patarei, officially named as Defence Barracks, was built by the order of Russian Emperor Nicholas I as a fortress on the northern coast near Tallinn. The fortification complex was completed in 1840, but due to the changed warfare strategy it was never used in the wars. Until the collapse of the Tsarist Empire, Patarei was used as barracks. From 1920 to 2002 there was a prison in Patarei during various regimes. Since 13th May, 1997, the main part of the complex has been a cultural monument of the Republic of Estonia. Today Patarei is managed by the state and the complex is now a Prison Museum. Regrettably, it is not possible to visit Patarei since autumn, 2016.

In 1920 the Central prison was opened, where the hardened criminals and political dissenters were housed.

In 1932, the 2nd part of the prison was established with 48 single cells. There were kept life-sentenced prisoners. In 1944, the Jewish people, deported from France to East Europe, were imprisoned there. Some of them were executed near Tallinn.

In Estonia, the last execution took place on 21st September 1991. Although people were sentenced to death after 1991, the verdict was not carried out. The death penalty was completely abolished in Estonia in 1998 and replaced with life imprisonment.

At the end of 2002, the prison was officially closed after 82 years of activity. In the same year, new prison was opened in Tartu and the prisoners were moved into better and modern conditions. The hospital and some more departments worked in Patarei until 2005.