Just a 15-20 minute walk from the Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia is Patarei Prison, which was in use from 1920 to 2002. After paying a small entrance fee (about 3 euros), you can wander the dark (and I mean dark) hallways, decrepit cells, infirmary, library, offices, execution rooms and other areas.
As can be seen from the images below, it’s as though the prisoners just up and left everything where it was, in its “natural” state. The fact that a visitor can wander through these buildings (which have no light other than the daylight coming through the windows) with no escorts is quite unusual.
A small guidebook is available at the entrance, and a few rooms are sign posted, but for the most part you’re left with your imagination.
Many prisoners were held here while awaiting trial. Hundreds of people were also executed at the prison, the last execution taking place in 1991. One of the rooms used for shooting people was later painted over in brown paint to hide the blood stains.
The prison faces the sea, and was originally a fortress built to protect the city of Tallinn in 1840. It’s been open as a Cultural Park since 2007 to preserve the memory of what life was like for some unfortunate people during the Soviet occupation.
For more information, visit: http://www.patarei.org.