ERM and Raadi Airfield may be placed under heritage protection next year

Estonian National Museum (ERM).
Estonian National Museum (ERM). Source: Arp Karm/ERM

The National Heritage Board has discussed proposals to take the Estonian National Museum (ERM) and Raadi Airfield area under heritage protection for approximately three years. A draft law was completed in August, which is currently in a feedback round.

The head of the National Heritage Board's construction heritage department Anni Martin said while the initial plan is to protect Raadi Airfield's military heritage and ERM separately, the museum and how it connects to the airfield has become the base of the plan.

"We are now counting the Raadi area as the Estonian National Museum's main building, the old runway, the most recent 3 km long runway, the connecting taxiways and the surrounding caponiers," Martin added.

The board is still awaiting feedback from Tartu municipality by December, but municipality mayor Jarno Laur doubts if it is reasonable to protect such a large concrete runway.

"Perhaps the reasonable compromise or agreement is that the runways and nearby caponiers will be exhibited and preserved. I cannot imagine us handling this concrete runway in the same manner as St. John's Church and hiring companies with heritage protection licenses to repair the concrete," the municipality mayor said.

The area of ERM and Raadi Airfield, which will likely go under heritage protection. Source: National Heritage Board

Anni Martin said the most important thing is to establish the value of the objects. This would allow decisions to be made on how to maintain the runways in the coming decades.

"We do not have a clear answer for how to handle these runways. Should we try to maintain this concrete runway for as long as possible, which on the one hand is very characteristic of military heritage but also to Soviet construction quality," Martin said.

Local land owners have also raised questions. Südamekodud OÜ board member Meelis Mälberg said it intends to begin development of an 180-client care home next year. Now, Mälberg is worried the plan will not go ahead if heritage protection conditions are applied.

"I do not know what to fear, which ways the conditions will come. If it is taken under protection, there will be restrictions. Otherwise it would not be under protection," he said.

Martin said the decision would not affect detailed plans established before the Raadi area becomes an object of national heritage. She hopes to take the draft law to the Ministry of Culture at the end of the year for a final decision.

"I would dare say that if we have sent this draft law to the culture ministry, it is a matter of months, half a year or a year, but no longer a question of years," Martin said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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