Patarei Prison, Tallin, Estonia

Lots of places in formerly Russian occupied countries have these strange, left-over places that you just would never find in the west - they would have been cleared away, erased, turned into shopping centres or something equally banal. There's an incredible freedom in these 'eastern bloc' countries (the term barely seems appropriate any more) that similarly, does not exist in the west. Here, right by the port in Tallin, is an entire empty prison, open, where you are free to wander about inside.

Some of it is not open, and a contribution is paid to volunteers at the gate. The prison housed political prisoners. One night it was emptied and the doors left open. Now you can wander in. There's lots of wall-art inside, there's an incredible medical theatre and the dental room which have undeniable visual impact. The strongest emotional impact for me was the cell rooms filled with bunks. The lack of personal space and privacy, battery farm humans, the sheer inhumanity of treating people like that. Outside the prison, be sure to check out the rows and rows or old military trucks left by the soviets. It was so long ago but the presence of soviet occupation seems so close when visiting places like this. It is surprising that the Estonian Government has not wanted to destroy all traces of it. Perhaps only a matter of time.

UPDATE: It now appears that the prison has been closed to visitors, pending plans for redevelopment. Perhaps a sign of westernisation? We will see.
  •  Wall Art. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Wall Art. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Wall Art. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Wall Art. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  The room where prisioners were hanged.

    The room where prisioners were hanged.

  •  The medical room. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    The medical room. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Bunk beds. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Bunk beds. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  The dental room. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    The dental room. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Corridor. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Corridor. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Exercise cells. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Exercise cells. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Room. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Room. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Bench in exercise cell. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Bench in exercise cell. Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

  •  Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.

    Patarei Prison. Tallinn. Lynden Swift Tangible Presence Photography.