Weird and dark places you need to visit

Source: Tony Bowden, CC 4.0,

Weird and dark places you need to visit

It’s time to dust off and reveal some of the most fascinating up and coming dark tourism destinations in Estonia. Estonian oral history is made of complex layers, from its medieval merchant heyday to undergoing some of the darkest events to unfold in the 20th century. Below is a selection of historically relevant abandoned factories, occupation-era prisons and medieval castle ruins, as well as exhibitions inspired by urban myths.

KGB Cages Museum

Tartu maakond, Tartu linn

KGB Cages Museum is situated where in 1940-50-s a South-Estonia Centre of KGB used to be housed. Some of the cells and corridor part of the cellar are restored in their initial form. Other former cells contain exposition that gives an overview on post-war Estonian freedom fighting and about communist regime crimes. Here you can explore exhibits brought back from Siberian prison camps, as well as learn about the history of bushwhackers and secret resistance organisations.

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Ungru castle ruins

Lääne maakond, Kiltsi küla

For a castle that was never quite finished, this impressive Neo-Baroque castle has aged pretty gracefully. Located next to a former Soviet airfield, it's definitely a destination worth exploring through the lens. The Ungru Manor was once an almost exact copy of the Merseburg castle in Germany. After World War II the manor fell into the hands of Soviet troops and in 1968 the chief of the airport decided to use the ruins of the manor to fill in the holes in the runway. About one third of the manor was torn down leaving the rest untouched until today.

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Escaping from the former Pärnu prison

Pärnu maakond, Pärnu linn

When Pärnu prison closed in 2007, it presented a great opportunity to start something new and fun yet relevant. Here you'll find the largest complex of escape rooms full of different puzzles in the Nordic Countries and Eastern Europe. You have to escape the prison in three hours. If you get stuck, you can ask for clues in return for a bribe from the prison guards.

A nightime trip to the primeval forest of Sagadi Manor

Lääne-Viru maakond, Sagadi küla

At night, the forest is mysterious, unknown, and mystical. All senses are heightened in the forest at night. Only the bravest have gone for a forest hike at night.  We offer an exciting discovery trip to the primeval forests of Lahemaa. We will listen to the sounds of the night, hear stories told by different scents, and look for signs of animal activity. The trip can either start before midnight or shortly before dawn, when the forest comes alive with the songs of the waking birds. Our experienced guides will make sure that the hike is safe.

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Kudjape Graveyard

Saare maakond, Kudjape alevik

Established in 1780 town graveyard together with chapels in classicistic style is under protection as architectural memory. Among the chapels the most beautiful are built in 1848 into main gates of the graveyard rooms with colonnade facade in the shape of little Greek temple. Graveyard itself is like a museum of sculpture and hammered art. Here we can see plenty of crypt graves covered with heavy stone plates and tasteful masterfully fine-tuned classicistic grave monuments that often have the shape of urn or vase all dating into first half of the 19th century. Interesting to know: In the graveyard there are the graves of four outstanding persons.

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Pärnu Ghost Tour

Pärnu maakond, Pärnu

Do you know which street corner is the most likely place for meeting a humming Medieval monk? Or which is the most haunted building in the summer capital of Estonia? Ghost Tour takes enthusiasts to the most interesting paths and streets in Pärnu. Mystic stories and myths about the dark side of Pärnu create a very different image of the resort town that is usually so sunny. The tour begins by the clock near the fountains on Rüütli square and lasts for an hour. NB! Other time tours take place only if ordered in advance! When coming on a tour, there should be at least 7 of you; however, the more the merrier!

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KGB prison cells

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

One of the most notorious and feared pre-trial prisons operated in the basement of the building at 1 Pagari Street during the Soviet occupation. The former KGB prison cells are now open to the public. The building built in 1912 has had a remarkable role in the recent history of Estonia. Arrested Estonian politicians, civil servants, intellectuals, veterans of the War of Independence, but also ordinary people were beaten and tortured there, and then sentenced to death or imprisonment. The prison cells built in the basement have remained a symbol of communist terror to this day. Visitors can explore the basement comprising two corridors, six prison cells, and a punishment cell.

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Last updated : 03.12.2018

In category: History & culture