Tour in Noblessner: From a Submarine Shipyard to a Modern Harbour Quarter (in English)

Noblessner area, Tallinn

Estonian Centre for Architecture brings you another exciting tour programme that features interesting stories about the Noblessner submarine shipyard; the quarter’s development plans; and forays into the final nooks in the facilities that have remained closed to the public and shrouded by mystery for the last several decades.

In the early 20th century, the Russian Empire launched a battle fleet programme of constructing 18 submarines on the eve of WWI. The Noblessner shipyard in Tallinn was commissioned to build 12 of these. The shipyard had just been founded by two businessmen from St. Petersburg, namely Arthur Lessner and Ludvig Emmanuel Nobel (nephew of the famous Alfred Nobel).

This was the beginning of manufacturing Bars Class submarines at Noblessner, and the vessels were named after fierce felines: “Jaguar”, “Tigr” (tiger), “Gepard” (cheetah), “Pantera” (panther), etc.

During WWI, Russians renamed the factory “Peter’s Shipyard” after Emperor Peter the Great, since ‘Noblessner’ sounded too German for their liking. For a short period from 1933 to 1935, Peter's Shipyard also housed an aircraft workshop of the Air and Gas Defence League, but only a couple of airplanes and aircraft prototypes were completed.

In Soviet times, the facilities were used by the USSR Navy’s marine factory in Tallinn to repair Soviet navy vessels and equipment for the next 50 years. In 1955, shipbuilding was restored in the shipyard. Among others, mine layers and torpedo carriers were built there. After Estonia regained her independence, the factory was renamed Tallinn Marine Factory. Since 2001, it has been owned by BLRT Group who has since joined forces with Merko Ehitus to develop the former shipyard grounds into a modern Noblessner business and residential quarter.

Today, it's a busy and vibrant urban space where historic factory buildings have been refurbished alongside modern buildings and earned the recognition of one of the best developments in the Baltic region.

The 90-minute tour at Noblessner takes place in Estonian, Russian, English, and Finnish.

Tours organised by the Estonian Centre for Architecture are carried out by professional guides united by a common interest in architecture and its history.

Private tours to Patarei Sea Fortress and other exciting special tours to architectural pearls across Estonia are available in six languages. For more information, contact us at [email protected].

See the tours in English here

See the tours in Estonian here

See the tours in Russian here

Also, check out other tours and options provided by the Estonian Centre for Architecture

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Estonian Centre for Architecture

+372 56 978 680