Paldiski is a city of 4,000 people on the shores of the Baltic Sea in Harju County, northwestern Estonia. In Soviet times and in the first years of Estonian independence, until 1994, the city was a “closed city”, that is, closed to foreigners, non-residents of the USSR, even non-residents themselves, because of its military importance. Today it is open to everyone and deserves a visit. those interested in the gray world of the Soviet Union (Paldiski and the Pakri peninsula are covered with abandoned bunkers, heaps of unidentified garbage and various military debris).

The scenes taking place in a place presented to the audience as “somewhere in the former Soviet Union” in the film “Lilia Forever” were filmed in Paldiski.


Paldiski landmarks
Lighthouse Pakri, Lighthouse tee (4 km from the center of Paldiski), 37 +372 55576087. May-September: Monday-Sunday 10: 00-20: 00; October-April: Saturday, Sunday, 12: 00-18: 00. View of the Baltic Sea, but quite expensive compared to the lighthouses on Hiiumaa. Directly in front of it, on the other side of the road, you can find an old and old lighthouse, crumbling and precariously perched on a cliff. € 5/3 adult / student.
Amandus Adamsoni Ateljeemuuseum, ☏ +372 6742013. Amandus Adamson's old summer studio.
Orthodox Church (EELK Paldiski Nikolay Kirik). closed.



The Russian Empire
Paldiski was founded by Peter the Great. The site was chosen in 1715 and construction began in 1716. It was assumed that it would be a sea fortress, and in 1790, during the Russian-Swedish war, it was conquered by the Swedes by deception, when a Swedish warship sailed under the Dutch flag, it was allowed to dock on June 23, 1912, Russian Emperor Nicholas II and German Kaiser Wilhelm II met for the last time before the First World War in Paldiski.

Soviet era
Paldiski came under Soviet rule because of the 1939 “Soviet-Estonian Mutual Assistance Treaty”. It employed about 16,000 people and two ground-based nuclear reactors (70 and 90 MW respectively) were the largest such facility in the Soviet Union. Due to its importance, the entire city was closed with barbed wire until the last Russian warship left in August 1994, when the city was no longer a closed city. This followed the events of 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and Estonia regained its independence. To accommodate the stationed and training troops, many barracks buildings were built, which have since remained in disrepair. Russia relinquished control of the reactor facilities in September 1995; the nuclear reactors were shut down and the nuclear material was brought back to Russia. After that, the reactors were decommissioned.

Cases when Paldiski was a closed military city under Soviet / Russian jurisdiction were rare, and if something happened, it was classified. At that time, Jüri Liim, a member of the Supreme Council, had secret access to the closed city. According to his testimony, the Pakri Islands, located near Paldiski, were the targets of bombing by the Soviet Air Force, including Soviet nuclear bombers. There were no actual nuclear bombs, but the bombs were in a similar weight and size category. Sometimes, when real combat bombs were used, the small earthquakes they produced were felt in Paldiski and at nuclear reactors. Site personnel were worried about potential cracks or other problems with the reactor due to this shaking. When approaching Pakri or leaving the target, the flight routes often passed through Paldiski, leading to few incidents. Once a real bombshell accidentally fell on the cabbage field of local kindergartens. Fortunately, the bomb malfunctioned and did no damage. Another incident occurred when a live bomb accidentally fell 15 meters from a working nuclear reactor. The bomb went off and did not explode.

After the restoration of Estonia's independence
After Estonia regained its independence, there were not enough Estonian citizens in the city, and Paldiski was subordinated to Keila until October 30, 1996. Situated about 45 km west of Tallinn, Paldiski was later turned into a municipality in Harju County. Abandoned Soviet-style apartment buildings made up most of the city, and military base relics were widespread. Most of the city's residents are ethnic Russians. The ferry company Tallink had regular connections with Kapellskär in Sweden; the line is currently operated by another operator.

Operation Spider (Ämblik) was carried out in Paldiski on 16 March 1993 by 33 Estonian police and 40 border guards to establish Estonian law in the area, including the Russian military base. At that time, there were about 1,500 Russian military personnel in Paldiski. The goal of the police operation was to deter illegal arms trafficking activities and to contain the actions of the bandits in Paldiski who were acting as if they were ruling the city. For example, on March 9, 1993, the Estonian authorities detained several officers of the Russian armed forces in an attempt to sell firearms. This operation was not previously agreed with the Russian government, but the preparations were classified. Confusion in Paldiski among Russian military personnel helped achieve the goal of the operation.


Until recently, amenities were limited to one small hotel (White Ship, with six guest bedrooms and a restaurant / bar). There are now two grocery stores, a liquor store, a bank, a tavern and a bed and breakfast. The refurbished train station also has a small cafe with hot food.

Residential areas in the city no longer look ramshackle and abandoned, and in recent years have been refurbished and repainted. There are also several new apartment buildings, and green areas and children's parks have been restored.

A separate reconnaissance infantry battalion, the Kalevi infantry battalion and the Estonian combat service support battalion belonging to the 1st Infantry Brigade (Estonia) of the Estonian Defense Forces are stationed in Paldsiki.

Today Northern Europe is the most progressive production and competence center in the field of environmentally friendly technologies in the city - Pakri Science and Industry Park with the unique industrial city Pakri Smart with an area of ​​60 hectares.