TOP 10 most bizarre Soviet buildings in Estonia

TOP 10 most bizarre Soviet buildings in Estonia

Source: Siiri Kumari

Some of Estonia’s most odd and striking structures are throwbacks to the country’s nearly five decades in the Soviet sphere of influence. Two main movements belong to this period: Stalinist Classicism, during the 1940’s and 1950’s, and later Soviet Modernism, from the 1950’s to 1980’s. These styles yielded some iconic landmarks like the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds stage and Tallinn TV Tower. Due to a unique mixture of medieval, European buildings and modern architecture, Tallinn was a popular filming location during the Soviet era. Sprawling suburbs like Lasnamäe, Mustamäe and Õismäe in Tallinn sprang up as a short-term solution to a growing population, but remain a large part of the real estate landscape today.

Okta Centrum

Rapla maakond, Rapla

This building, completed in 1977, is something of a monument to Soviet architecture. It resembles a UFO that has come in to land. Did you know…? *Everything in the building is octagonal – from the floor plan to the rubbish bins *The octagonal pond is a perfect reflection of the physical space in the building *The building was designed by Toomas Rein and Aulo Padar *During the Soviet era people from all over the USSR came to admire the building

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Kiltsi airfield

Lääne maakond, Kiltsi küla

Built by the former Soviet army, Kiltsi airfield covers an area of about 800 ha. Concrete runways are 2,500 m long and it had 28 hangars for airplanes. Construction of the airfield began in 1939 and it was used until 1956; in 1969, it was reconstructed. After the departure of the Soviet army, the airfield fell into disrepair, leaving behind old airplane hangars, barracks, and runways.  The territory of the Kiltsi airfield belongs to the Lääne district of the Defence League. NB! To enter the territory of the airfield, a you must have a permit. 17 Lahe Street, open Mon–Fri from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A speed limit of 50 km/h applies on the airfield.

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Tallinn City Hall

Harju maakond, Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa

Completed for the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics regatta events, the unique City Hall belongs in the list of objects protected under heritage conservation. During the 1980's, brutalism was a popular architectural style in Tallinn. The appearance of the fascinating complex brings to mind the ancient pyramids of the Mayans, as well as the old bastions surrounding Tallinn’s Old Town dating from the Swedish rule. The waterfront location of the hall, its proximity to the passenger port, the hall seating 4,200 people, ice rink and cafés turned it into a significant place for the citizens of Tallinn as a cultural venue, but also as an element in the city design. At the moment, negotiations are taking place to renovate the complex that can only be viewed from the outside, and taking it back into use.

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Sillamäe (town)

Ida-Viru maakond, Sillamäe

Sillamäe is located near the Gulf of Finland, on the estuary of Sõtke river. The industrial city was 'created' in 1946, when it was decided to establish a metallurgy plant there that reprocesses oil shale ore to get uranium oxides. Due to this industry, the city was closed off for a long time. In 1949 the town received an award - 1st prize in architecture from the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Today, you have the possibility to examine the buildings from the post-war period of Stalin, classical avenues, and museums. Sillamäe Museum and the exhibition of the Sillamäe Museum branch in the Sillamäe Cultural Centre offer town excursions on request.

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Hiiumaa Military Museum

Hiiu maakond, Tahkuna küla

Hiiumaa Military Museum is located in the former Tahkuna board guard cordon. The museum's most significant exhibit is the collection of coastal defence artillery – 180 mm, 130 mm, and 100 mm artillery guns. The outdoor exhibition includes armoured vehicles BTR-70 and BRDM-2, ZIL-157, GAZ-66, and other cars, a blast shelter, a border guard cutter, naval mines, an anti-tank gun, a watchtower of the border guard, and radar and radio masts. A marine radar is located in the main building of the museum, at its original site. The exhibition also includes artillery shells, shell casings, helmets, caps and uniforms, means of communication, and civil defence equipment.

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Original Sokos Hotel Viru

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

Original Sokos Hotel Viru is located in the midtown of Tallinn, at the gates of Old Town. It was erected in 1972, following the Khrushchev Thaw of the 1960's and became an icon of Tallinn and the Estonian Republic is a whole. It drew upon popular modern styles from the time, from Northern Europe and especially Finland.

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Kosmonautika Holiday Centre

Pärnu maakond, Penu küla

On the shores of the sea where once stood the legendary Vzmorye Holiday Centre, you will have the sunniest holiday you've ever had in Estonia! A renowned vacation destination for long-serving cosmonauts and scientists, it was chosen as the spot revealed to the be the sunniest on the western coast of the USSR. According to local legend, Valentina Tereshkova - the first-ever female cosmonaut - is said to have walked along the seashore here! The apartment-style cabins are perfect for families and small groups. The bay next to the centre is very safe and therefore ideal for small children.

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Cinema Sõprus

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

The cosy hall of cinema Sõprus (Friendship in Estonian), that is located in the Old Town. It was built in 1955. From 1945 -1961 a post-war architectural was popular, and by the 1950's international Socialist Classicism became common. The hall of the oldest repertory cinema in Tallinn has 210 comfortable seats.

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Viinistu Art Museum

Harju maakond, Viinistu küla

In the little coastal village of Viinistu, you can visit an Art Museum located in an old cold storage of a fish processing plant. Fishing ships used to land in the place where a hotel now stands. Viinistu Art Museum displays works of hundreds of Estonian artists of various eras; this means about 1,000 Estonian works of art, starting from the Baltic-German era and Pallase school until today. The owner of the comprehensive art collection is Jaan Manitski. Exhibitions alternating each month in the so-called barrel galleries converted from old water tanks offer plenty to enjoy. Good to know: seasonally, theatre productions and concerts of different performers are also organized in the museum.

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Villa Andropoff

Pärnu maakond, Valgeranna küla

Villa Andropoff is a holiday centre that is perfect for family holidays, company events, various celebrations. The area was built during Soviet times for the higher leaders of the Communist party and for their guests. It got its name since the order to build it came from Yuri Andropov's government.

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Last updated : 23.10.2017

In category: History & Culture

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