American travel magazine lists an Estonian prison as an eerily beautiful abandoned place

Condé Nast Traveler, an American travel magazine, has listed Rummu Prison in Estonia as one of the abandoned places around the world that are eerily beautiful.

In its “45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful” list, the Traveler says that “Of all the underwater sites around the world, Estonia’s semi-emerged Rummu Prison might just be the creepiest. The prison was built by the Soviet Union and filled with inmates in the 1940s, where the prisoners were forced to work in the nearby limestone quarry.”

“The jail was abandoned when Estonia gained its independence in 1991, and the lack of supervision caused the quarry to quickly fill up with water. Rummu Prison is now a popular beach, especially among scuba divers who want to explore the submerged buildings and mining equipment below the surface.”

Rummu Prison is located in Harju County in northwestern Estonia, about 44 kilometres (27 miles) from the capital, Tallinn. It’s, as the magazine says, by a submerged limestone quarry where the prisoners of both Rummu and Murru prisons worked. At the time, the quarry was drained of the water by pumps to make excavating the limestone possible.

A hill formed by an ash from the Rummu quarry. Photo: Kaupo Kalda.

When the quarry closed and the pumping ceased, it quickly filled with groundwater, forming a lake, immersing some of the utility buildings and machinery.

A popular spot for hiking, diving and summer events

With the closure of the quarry, the area became a featured location for nature photography, hiking, rafting, scuba diving, as a summer spot, musical and sports events, and as a filming location for its unique layout.

Abandoned buildings in the Rummu quarry. Photo: Janno Kusman (under Creative Commons licence).

Other locations in the Traveler’s list include Tianducheng, Hangzhou, China, a miniature replica of France’s capital, Paris; Pripyat, Ukraine, the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant; the Maunsell Sea Forts in the UK, that were constructed to protect the country from German air raids during the Second World War; Nicosia International Airport, Cyprus, that was abandoned in 1974, due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus; Teufelsberg, Berlin, Germany, a Cold War-era listening station, built by the American NSA so they could eavesdrop on East Berlin; and many others.

Condé Nast Traveler is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast, an American media company that also prints magazines like the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

Cover: The abandoned Rummu quarry. Photo: Kaupo Kalda.

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