Diving in an underwater prison.

Updated: May 23

Ruins of an Estonian prison in the waters of a quarry where convicts were once forced to work. Estonia - Rummu.

Estonia is a small country in the northern part of Europe right on the Baltic Sea. It has only one million three hundred thousand inhabitants, of which 25% are Russian. It is no wonder then that you can find Russian schools in Tallinn, and the language is heard in the streets as often as Estonian. Estonians, on the other hand, are a very proud and warm nation, well-built, more Scandinavians than Slavs, who are eager to learn about other cultures, but do not care much about the relics of the previous system.

Such a relic of the shameful past is the "Rummu", Prison Complex, located in the northern part of Estonia, only 45 km from the capital Tallinn. The quarry was built by the Soviets in the 1930s to obtain limestone, which resembled marble in its structure.

For about 60 years, it also served as a tool of repression against the enemies of the system, not only for Estonians, but also for other countries behind the Iron Curtain. Several Poles were sent to forced labor here as political prisoners in the years 37-38 by the NKVD as part of the "Poland" operation.

A small town was also built around the prison for Soviet workers, a Russian enclave, where everything is in Russian. Shop signs, names of bus stops, information and road signs, shop assistants. There is everything you need to live in the town; a school, kindergarten, grocery store with Russian goods, some bar, post office, and a holiday resort by the lagoon.

Despite the passage of years and Estonia regaining independence in 91, time stopped here, not much has changed in the landscape and mentality. After the Russians left, the prison was still functioning, but there were less and less "inmates", hence the decision to turn off the pumps in some quarries and flood a few public buildings and machines. In 2001, a decision was made to merge two facilities with the same purpose, Rummu and Murru, into one large prison complex, then in 2004 this complex was connected with Hark's prison for women, and finally on December 31, 2012 it was decided to close this relic of bygone times.

Since then, the facility has become a tourist attraction and people from all over the world, or at least from Europe, come here to see and feel the spirit of socialism and take advantage of the surrounding nature. The area is conducive to athletes of various disciplines; diving in a lake full of secrets, cycling around the lake, off-road struggles, swimming, trekking and jogging.

We will take care of the former. We reveal the secrets hidden under the surface of the water, we will take you back to the past, showing the world seen through the eyes of a prisoner from the 1940s, we will explore buildings where once people imprisoned in this place could feel a substitute for freedom through very hard work in the open air. We will show you the forgotten monuments of the dark history of people who lived to their end during backbreaking work.

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