Once Pärnu was left behind, it was time for one of the most exciting day of the holidays, at least for me. The next destination being Rummu, a small town just 45-minute drive way from Tallinn. Never heard of Rummu? Me neither, I just happened to come across a short article about the place before our holiday and instantly knew I’d want to go there.
In Rummu, the biggest (and the only) attraction is a former Soviet Union time quarry that was operated by prisoners of the adjoining Murru prison. Fast forwarding the history, once the Soviet Union collapsed, the demand for the limestone the quarry produced was heavily decreased and the quarry operations soon were run down. As the quarry was below the water table, the pumps had kept the area dry. However, with the lack of interest on the quarry, also the pumps soon broke down and the ground water soon started to fill up the quarry. A local guide told us that the water levels rose up to 30cm a day. Thus, a lot of stuff was left underwater as the locals had no time to move them away from the water.
Soon, the whole quarry area was filled with water, meaning also that all the buildings in the area were flooded. Parts of the prison, all quarry buildings, barracks, as well as a great deal of machinery and equipment were left under water. Now, all that is left, is a clear-watered lake with some interesting things in and around it. The whole area was not filled with water though, and parts of the prison area still remains on dry land. The watch towers and barbed wire fences are visible to the main road and leave by passers no room for questions about the original purpose of the area.
Despite the fact that the areas on dry land may seem rather rugged and like a place where you do not want to spend much time, the Rummu lake and its beach is nowadays popular destination for both, the youth and the divers. For youth, the main attraction is the beach, where the prison building is partially sunken just tens of meters away from the shore. With two stories still above the water, the building makes an exiting place for jumping into the water. Some say the beach is also transforming into a popular party place among the local youth as well and I can see why. The beautiful lake with crystal clear water and the rugged Soviet time ruins do form an interesting contrast, it really is a unique place.
However, before you start putting your swimsuits on and making plans for a trip to Rummu, I must point out that this place might not be the safest of beaches, especially for those kamikazes planning on doing some jumping. The walls of the building are slowly falling apart, making the climbing probably a bit risky. And even if you were ok climbing up, there are all sorts of bits and pieces that have fallen down to the water from the building, so you might get hurt quite badly if jumping down on the wrong spot. As for the divers, the lake offers a rather cool and unique dive spot as you can dive inside the prison walls too. We did do our share of the bubble blowing too, but more of that later.
Rummu is a popular place, especially on the weekends. The beach seemed to be rather ok for some sunbathing, and even if you were not into the kamikaze-jumps from the prison walls, it is still a nice place for swimming as the water is clear and warm in the summertime. Also, if you are not into the beach-life, you might still want to check the place out, right next to the beach, there is a 70m high ash hill (remains of the quarry) with some great views from the top. Unfortunately, we were on such a tight schedule after our dives, that I did not have time to climb up the hill this time.
As Rummu is located only some 45-minute drive away from Tallinn, it really is a cool place for a day trip, if you are looking for something different. When visiting, do note that there is no parking space on the beach, so the car must be left next to the main road, but the beach is only some 300m away from the main road. There also are no services on the beach, meaning no toilets or changing rooms, but there is a small kiosk on the main road right next to the road leading to the beach, so beverages and snacks are available.