The Tallinn Bastion Tunnels - Tallinn, Estonia

in #travel2 years ago

Source By Dmitry G

The history of the Tallinn Bastion Tunnels is an interesting one. The tunnels date back into antiquity, but have served many purposes over the centuries. The tunnels, which are actually above ground, were created when earth was moved in to act as a cushion from incoming artillery. Admission to the tunnels runs nine Euros, which is currently around 10 US Dollars. It is freewith the Tallincard. The entrance is located on the first floor of Kiek in de Kok, which is at 2 Komandandi, Tallinn. Children's tickets are about six dollars, while a family ticket may be purchased for about fifteen dollars.

Google Maps

Tours of the Tallinn Bastion Tunnels may be scheduled ahead of time by calling 372 644 6686. The tours are conducted in several languages, so calling ahead will allow you to determine the start time for the language tour you are interested in. Hours are:

November 1 - February 28 the attraction opens at 10:00am and closes at 5:30pm every day except Monday
March 1 - May 31 the attraction opens at 10:30am and closes at 6:00pm every day except Monday
June 1 - August 31 the attraction opens at 10:00am and closes at 5:30pm seven days per week.

These are the same hours of operation for the adjacent Kiek in de Kok.

Source By Dmitry G

The tour begins on the first floor of Kiek in de Kok. There is a check in desk located just inside the entrance to the museum, with a few seats located nearby. Restrooms are located just on the other side of the desk. The museum (Kiek in de Kok) is to the right. The entrance to the tunnel attraction is to the left. There is a small "theater" set up in the adjoining room, where visitors are treated to an animated history of Tallinn. The rather campy video is far more instructive and informative than it is high quality.

Source By Dmitry G

A new tunnel was built to link the museum to that actual Bastion Tunnels. That concrete walkway is not a great distance, but only offers concrete and a few examples of calendar devices from various cultures. At the ends of the modern walkway is a steep series of stone stairs that lead down into the Bastion Tunnels. These are original steps that were uncovered during excavation. The tunnels themselves were filled with water in areas and had to be pumped out when they set up the tour.

Source By Dmitry G

The tunnels were constructed in the 1670s, but the tour moves backwards through time. The tour is slightly interactive. The tour guide activates a variety of buttons that bring each section of the tour to life. It begins with a punker era view of the tunnels, when they were used for partying. Many of the improvements put in during the preceding fifty years were stripped out during this period and sold as scrap metal. The tunnels were also used for housing. Homeless people set up housing inside the tunnels and were removed to other places ten or twenty years ago.

Source By Dmitry G

The era before, these tunnels had been used as bomb shelters. The bomb shelters were split into two eras. During the soviet era, the shelters were greatly improved with vast ventilation systems and telephones. These tunnels also housed the local population during the extensive bombing of the city by the Germans during World War II. The bombing destroyed many of the structures in the city, but the Bastion Tunnels stood up against the shock of falling bombs.

Source By Dmitry G

Moving further back through history, visitors are treated to some ancient inventions that were used in the tunnels. One is a water bowl that registers impacts from outside the walls, to detect digging or other movement signalling a potential enemy approach. Wall breaching bombs are also mocked up for visitors to understand the vulnerabilities in the walls. Even further back in history, we find an exiled monk, who spoke out against the Queen and was exiled to the Bastion Tunnels where he could no longer spread sedition.

Source By Edelmauswaldgeist

The tunnels stretch far beyond this section, where the tour ends. The areas have not been fully explored. Water is visible in areas that can still be seen but are off limits to the tour. The tour then goes back the same direction that it started. At the base of the stairs that head back up to the museum is a sideways "train" that is equipped with video. After taking visitors back four hundred years, the train takes them forward into the future. The video examines a variety of potential "futures" for the area with photoshop examples of possible outcomes. They are interesting, but not especially polished. The end of the tour finishes with a look at a historical dig done in 2219 (a thousand years from the Danish arrival in Tallinn). The exhibit takes a tongue in cheek look at items recovered from today. The future curators propose possible uses for devices like condoms, g-strings, cell phones and cigarettes.


The Tallinn Bastion Tunnels provide an opportunity to walk back through time and learn some of the history of Tallinn. It is more of an underground history, looking at the city from a different perspective. The tunnels have their own unique history that add dimension to a city that already boasts a rich past. The nine dollar price tag is a bit steep, but not outrageous. I thought the tour was worth the money. It was very interesting being able to experience the city from the tunnel perspective.


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Astonishing that these tunnels are so extensive and have been used for so many different purposes. That train looks amazing!

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