Linnamäe power station demolition halted, now protected zone

Aerial view of Linnamäe hydroelectric power station, dam and reservoir.
Aerial view of Linnamäe hydroelectric power station, dam and reservoir. Source: ERR

Plans to demolish a hydroelectric power station and site of national interest have been reversed.

The reservoir and dam adjacent to the Linnemäe hydroelectric power plant, east of Tallinn and lying on the Jägala River, had been under national protection since 2016. Now the power station itself will receive the same protection.

The area hosts sites of both archaeological interest and wildlife habitats – including a bat colony, though it was the workings of the power station itself, opened in 2002, which had led to clashes over the protection of salmon stock, culminating in the stretch of the Jägala River being designated a protected environmental area in 2007, though without the local municipality's consent.

This had called into question the power station's continued operation, which naturally its demolition would have put a stop to in any case.

The culture ministry told ERR Tuesday that a directive has been signed which will designate two archaeological sites in the lower reaches of the Jägala River as cultural monuments.

Traces of settlements over a vast time-span, from the seventh millenium BC to the eleventh century AD, and include remains of an iron age fortress, as well as quartz. Flint, bone and earthenware fragments regularly being found in the area.

Archaeologist Aivar Kriiska had made a proposal to recognize settlement remains as archaeological monuments, first informing the National Heritage Board (Muinsuskaitseamet) about his findings in 2008.

Two former hydroelectric power stations on the same river were also used as locations in the cult 1979 sci-fi thriller "Stalker", directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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