Rummu Quarry: Exploring Estonia’s Abandoned Limestone Pit

Rummu quarry, located in Vasalemma Parish, Estonia, is a unique tourist attraction that combines natural beauty with a fascinating history. The quarry is a submerged limestone quarry that has become a crystal-clear blue lagoon, surrounded by stunning scenery. The area is also home to an artificial hill, created from the waste of the nearby prison industry.

The quarry and hill are located near the former Rummu prison, which was in operation from 1938 until 1991. The prison was known for using forced labour to mine limestone from the quarry, which was then used for construction projects across Estonia. The prisoners were also responsible for creating the artificial hill, which was built from the waste material produced by the mining process. Today, visitors can explore the quarry and hill, as well as take a tour of the former prison to learn more about its history.


History of Rummu Quarry


Rummu Quarry is a limestone quarry located in Rummu, Vasalemma Parish, Estonia. The quarry was established in the late 1930s for open mining of limestone and Vasalemma marble, a specific kind of limestone with its structure and texture resembling that of marble. The quarry was owned and operated by the Soviet Union during the time of its occupation of Estonia.

Operation Period

During the Soviet period, the quarry was operated by prisoners from the nearby Rummu prison. The prisoners were forced to work in the quarry as part of their punishment. It is estimated that around 2000 prisoners worked in the quarry during its operation.

The prisoners were made to work in extremely harsh conditions, with little regard for their safety or well-being. They were forced to work long hours in the quarry, often with inadequate tools and equipment. Many prisoners suffered from injuries and illnesses as a result of their work in the quarry.

Closure and Aftermath

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the quarry was abandoned in 1991. The pumps that had been used to keep the quarry dry were turned off, and the quarry began to fill with water. Today, much of the natural area of the quarry is under a lake formed by groundwater, and is situated next to a spoil tip.

In recent years, the quarry has become a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming to see the submerged ruins of the prison and the quarry. However, the area is still considered dangerous, and visitors are warned not to swim in the lake or climb on the ruins.

Geographical Location

Rummu quarry is a limestone quarry located in the village of Rummu, Vasalemma Parish, Harju County, Estonia, Europe. The quarry is situated next to a spoil tip and is close to two former prisons, with the nearest being the former Rummu prison.

The village of Rummu is located in northern Estonia, approximately 40 km southwest of the capital city of Tallinn. The nearest town to Rummu is Keila, which is located around 10 km to the north. The quarry itself is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Rummu, which was formed by groundwater flooding the quarry after it was abandoned.

The geographical location of Rummu quarry makes it an ideal destination for tourists who are visiting Estonia. The quarry is easily accessible by car or public transportation, and there are several hotels and guesthouses in the surrounding area. Visitors to the quarry can also take part in a variety of activities, including swimming, diving, and hiking.

Overall, the geographical location of Rummu quarry is one of its main attractions. The natural beauty of the area, combined with the unique history of the quarry and its surrounding prisons, make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting Estonia.

Ecological Impact

The Rummu quarry has had a significant ecological impact since its abandonment. The flooded quarry has become a popular spot for diving and swimming, but it has also affected the surrounding environment.

One of the most notable impacts is the change in water quality. The quarry’s limestone and marble deposits have caused the water to become highly alkaline, which can be harmful to aquatic life. Additionally, the high levels of calcium and magnesium in the water have led to the formation of calcareous tufa, a type of limestone that can coat and damage plants and animals in the water.

The quarry has also become a habitat for invasive species, such as the American signal crayfish. These crayfish have displaced native species and have had a negative impact on the overall biodiversity of the area.

However, despite these negative impacts, the quarry has also become a unique ecosystem in its own right. The underwater environment has become a breeding ground for fish, and the steep limestone walls of the quarry are home to a variety of plant and animal species. The artificial hill next to the quarry has also become an important habitat for birds and small mammals.

Overall, the ecological impact of the Rummu quarry is complex and multifaceted. While there are certainly negative impacts, there are also positive aspects to the quarry’s transformation into a unique and diverse ecosystem.


Tourism at Rummu Quarry


Rummu Quarry, located in Harju County, Estonia, is a popular tourist destination for those looking to experience a unique combination of natural beauty and history. The crystal clear light greenish blue lagoon of Rummu quarry and the adjacent artificial hill are an unbelievably unique combination and an extraordinary destination for a day trip. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities at the quarry, including:

  • Swimming in the lagoon: The lagoon is a popular spot for swimming due to its clear blue waters. However, visitors should note that there are no lifeguards on duty, so swimming is at your own risk.
  • Scuba diving: The quarry is also a popular spot for scuba diving, with submerged structures and trees providing an interesting underwater landscape.
  • Hiking: Visitors can hike around the mountain, created from the waste of the prison industry, and enjoy the beautiful views.
  • Disc golf: The quarry also offers a disc golf course for those who enjoy the sport.

Safety Measures

While Rummu Quarry is a beautiful and unique destination, visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety. Here are some safety measures to keep in mind:

  • Swimming: Visitors should be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty at the lagoon, so swimming is at your own risk. It is also important to note that the water can be quite cold, even in the summer months.
  • Scuba diving: Visitors should only scuba dive if they are certified and experienced. It is also important to note that the quarry can be quite deep in some areas, so divers should be aware of their surroundings at all times.
  • Hiking: Visitors should wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking, as the terrain can be uneven. It is also important to stay on designated hiking trails and not wander off into restricted areas.
  • Disc golf: Visitors should be aware of other players on the course and be mindful of their surroundings.

Overall, Rummu Quarry offers a unique and exciting destination for tourists looking to experience something different. Visitors should keep in mind the safety measures outlined above to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

Rummu Quarry in Popular Culture

Rummu Quarry has become a popular destination for tourists and filmmakers alike. The unique landscape and history of the area has made it a popular filming location for music videos, movies, and TV shows.

One of the most famous music videos shot at Rummu Quarry is “Talk About It” by Regi and Lester Williams. The video features stunning shots of the crystal clear lagoon and the surrounding ash hill. The video has garnered millions of views on YouTube and has helped to put Rummu Quarry on the map as a popular tourist destination.

In addition to music videos, Rummu Quarry has also been used as a filming location for movies and TV shows. In 2018, the Estonian movie “The Little Comrade” was filmed at Rummu Quarry. The movie tells the story of a young girl growing up in Soviet-occupied Estonia in the 1950s. The stunning scenery of Rummu Quarry helped to bring the story to life and added an extra layer of authenticity to the film.

Rummu Quarry has also become a popular location for photo shoots and fashion shows. The unique landscape and crystal clear water make it the perfect backdrop for fashion shoots and editorial spreads. Several high-end fashion brands have used Rummu Quarry as a location for their campaigns, including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.

Overall, Rummu Quarry has become a popular destination for tourists and filmmakers alike. Its unique landscape and history have helped to put it on the map as a must-see destination in Estonia.

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