Maarjamäe Memorial

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Allan Murdmaa
Matti Varik

Project team

Allan Murdmaa, Matti Varik, Peep Jänes, Rein Kersten, Henno Sepmann, Jüri Palm


Vello Hüdsi

Competition & awards

1965, 1st Prize


Pirita tee 68, 12011 Tallinn


Completed 1975


Ott Alver


Historic, Landscape and Urban Planning, Public


Public, Pirita, Memorial, Landscape & urbanism, Park, Public space, Landscape design, Tallinn

This memorial is the best example of modernist landscaping and the main commemorative object in Tallinn during the Soviet era. The high artistic standard and emotional power are ensured by its highly abstract solution.

The enormous soviet monument complex was completed in 1975. It was meant to commemorate all who had perished fighting for the Soviet Union. It consists of architectural and landscape elements. The rectangular open part towards the sea was meant to function as a ceremonial stage with seating for 1000 spectators. A second stage was also planned to be build but it never reached the building stage.

The main design consists of two intersecting ceremonial lines that are cut into the ground, playing on the contrast between seemingly infinite sightlines of light dolomite and the softness of green grassy slopes. The sculpture next to the main axis includes two palms placed together around the spot for the eternal flame, avoiding direct ideological references in form and conveying rather a universal feeling of loss. The second sculpture that creates a gate like form at the end of the second axis depicts a flock of birds.

The classical obelisk (by Mart Port ja Lembit Toll) that stands next to the memorial complex was erected earlier, in 1960, and was meant to commemorate the Ice Cruise of 1918.