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Raadi airfield Behind the biggest Baltic airfield

Raadi airfield

Raadi, tartu

  • CONSTRUCTION YEAR: 1940


  • SPACE TYPE: Other

  • PRESERVATION STATUS: Abandoned

Tags: Estonia, Totally Lost 2015

Raadi Airfield (Tartu Air Base) is a former air base in Estonia located 4 kilometres northeast of Tartu. The land once belonged to Raadi Manor and is now designated as the new site of the Estonian National Museum, already hosted in the manor hause from 1922 to 1940.

In 1940 100 ha were requisitioned from the Raadi Manor estates by the Soviet Army in order to create a military airbase, the biggest in the Baltic region. The caponiers of Raadi airfield gave cover to over 100 long-distance bombers and, because of this important military airfield, Tartu was totally „closed city“ for foreigners and access to Raadi was restricted for 50 years.

The museum`s collections were placed in temporary storages (mainly in churches) and the all the activitis were continued in various buildings in Tartu. In 1944, during the fighting between German and Soviet forces, the hause in the manor was heavily damaged by fire and today the airfield is still seen as a reminder that Estonia was occupied by Soviet forces.

One of the white briks buildings pictured here was most likely a security center, as it was located close to the border of the army base area. The tower may explain that, but i can’t be very sure about that.

The other one is a dormitory built for the Soviet soldiers, generals and other officials who stayed in Tartu during their service time in the army. It is a very simple, but practical, building which gave home to hundreds of men during the 1980-1990’s.

The final decision for restoring the National Museum at Raadi was made in 2003. An architectural competition, which ended in 2006, gave a lot of ideas for the building of ENM’s new home and for the museum’s development. The project “Memory Field” by Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh and Tsuyoshi Tane was chosen from 108 very different projects. Read more about here.

 

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CONTRIBUTOR: Kerly Ilves