Yesterday, 2 July 2012, was the reopening of Kohtla-Nõmme Mining Park located beneath the ground – its mineshafts and tunnels.
Among the attractions at the park, which is situated in northern Estonia, are interactive displays on oil shale production and energy in general. Its innovative theme park-style installations tell the story of Estonia’s oil shale industry, from the geological rise of the resource to its extraction and transformation into power provided to consumers. The future of the industry is also explored. The biggest drawcard at the park is nevertheless without doubt its mineshafts, which are now open to visitors. The interactive centre at the park – which is due to open in the coming years – is also sure to be a popular attraction.
Sigrid Karon, director of the park, says its underground exhibits capture the true feel of mining operations beneath the surface. “Visitors are led by guides along the almost 1.6 km of mineshafts – ones that were actually used in the past – and can see for themselves what working conditions were like, the equipment the miners had to use, the trains they got about on and the explosives store they kept,” she explained. The tunnels are brought to life using special effects and scenes recreating life below ground.
Redevelopment of the park is due for completion in 2013. The first stage of the project was granted Enterprise Estonia funding in 2011, enabling the mineshafts and tunnels to be renovated and extended. The building work comprising stage two of the project will begin this autumn and see the completion of construction above the surface, including the park’s main exhibition space. A tender is ongoing to find a company to undertake this work. The interior architecture and design and exhibition design for the project is being provided by KAOS Arhitektid.
The revitalization of the park is being supported via the Development of Cultural and Tourism Sites of National Importance measure financed by the European Fund for Regional Development under the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior and Enterprise Estonia.