The city center of the northeast Estonian industrial city of Sillämae, executed in the style of Stalinist architecture, stands to become the first heritage conservation area in Ida-Viru County and the first area where Soviet architecture is under protection in Estonia, Postimees reported on Monday.
The newspaper said that where most of the city centers put on the list of heritage conservation areas in Estonia so far date from the Medieval period up to the first quarter of the 20the century, Sillamäe's inclusion in the list will make the list more complete.
The Heritage Conservation Board finds the heart of Sillämae is fit to fill the gap when it comes to urban architecture of Estonia of this period.
Anita Jõgiste, adviser on built heritage at the Heritage Conservation Board, highlighted the speed at which the town of Sillamäe, built as one of the most secret settlements in Estonia in the early years of Soviet occupation, was built on the site of a small town destroyed in World War II. In just a couple of years, grandiose residential buildings, industrial buildings, kindergartens, a school, a hospital complex made up of 12 buildings, buildings for cinemas and a cultural center were built.
"The connection with military industry gave the city a special status, which enabled to implement the concept of Soviet ideal city that dominated in the mid-20th century in the most excellent fashion in Estonia," Jõgiste told Postimees.
The declaration of the city center of Sillämae a heritage conservation area will take place by means of an open procedure. Before that, two public events will be staged at Sillämae to provide the community with an overview of the course of events and offer residents the possibility to express their opinion.
History professor David Vseviov described the heart of Sillämae representing the Stalinist style of architecture as a sign of its era, saying that the preservation of such signs - maybe also as warning signs - benefits everyone when we think about the future.
The mayor of Sillämae, Tõnis Kalberg, said that the recently renovated city center definitely is of high value and is of great interest for tourists, who often are overwhelmed by the sight.
Editor: Helen Wright