KGB Museum

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Visited last November. Was in the city for a dry conference, and the morning after decided to see this monument to a former police state after checking AO and seeing it was only a short walk from the Hilton.

Firstly, the hotel hosting the KGB museum from the outside is spectacularly imposing. It’s this great Soviet monolith that will strike fear into any man’s soul. The main attraction of this musuem outside of KGB musuems in other countries is that spies once listened in on guests in this very hotel in the very rooms the musuem now operates from.

Inside you have oddly cheery advertisements for the KGB Museum as if it were a Ripley’s Believe it or Not attraction. The tour of the top floor (that in the era of the USSR didn’t exist on any hotel plans) alternated every half hour between Estonian and English language.

Once on the top floor, you got a chance for views out onto Tallinn, and to embrace the Soviet surveillance state and the North Korean-esque reasons why the USSR built this hotel for foreigners in the first place (mostly a desperate need for foreign currency).

The tour guide was an Estonian woman who had grown up with her country as a vassal state in the USSR, and was so able to add her own personal experiences into the incredible stories she told of how the KGB operated in this hotel, and from these rooms specifically. As well as the surveillance equipment the spies left behind, there is informative pictures and items that were produced in the Soviet era. According to our guide, one room even smells like the Soviet Union did.

Would absolutely recommend the museum, though I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to stay in the hotel!