Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hotel Viru and KGB Museum, Estonia

The Hotel Viru opened in Tallinn in 1972.  It was the first high-rise building in all of Estonia.  It was built by a Finnish company but the Soviet government made a few modifications.
Officially the hotel had 22 floors.  No one knew about the 23rd floor which housed a KGB radio unit that was used to spy on hotel guests.  Sixty of the rooms were equipped with listening devices.  

The museum is a one-hour guided tour of two rooms.  One contains various memorabilia and the other is the radio room which is said to be just as the KGB left in back in 1991.

Our guide, Marie, used to work in the hotel way back when.  She had several humorous stories about what life was like working in the hotel during Soviet times.  The red desk phone (with no way to dial) was a direct line to the "fire brigade".
"Here is not anything"
On the 23rd floor, behind the door with the sign that says "there's nothing here" was the secret listening room. 

The tour was interesting and worth the €9 ($12.25) entry fee.  Plus you can get a really great view of the city.

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