A Spiritual and Cultural-Historical Journey
from Pirita to Vana-Vastseliina

Pilgrim’s route

Linnamäe hydroelectric power plant

The Linnamäe hydroelectric power plant is located beside the Jägala Jõesuu hill fort, at the lower course of Jägala River (about 3.5 km downstream from the Jägala waterfall and 1.5 km from the estuary). The power plant was designed by professor Axel Werner Juselius (1868–1935) at Helsinki University. The power plant was declared the most beautiful industrial building in Estonia already during construction.

It first produced electricity on 17 April 1924. An overhead transmission line ran straight to the Tallinn Paper and Cardboard factory. 1925 saw the record production 6477 Mwh. This subsequently varied between 3500–4500 MWh a year.

In 1941, the retreating Soviet troops blew up the power plant. The remarkable fish ladder was partially destroyed, although the dam miraculously survived.
In 2002 Eesti Energia AS restored the hydroelectric power plant (architect Raine Karp). A pretty suspension bridge with viewing platforms was built across the dam. Today, the Linnamäe plant is the biggest in the country; its project capacity is 1.15 MW, energy production about 5000–7000 MWh annually, which is enough for 3000 Estonian families. The restored power plant, reservoir and Jägala Jõesuu hill fort are popular tourist attractions.

However, the future of the Linnamäe hydroelectric power plant is uncertain: plans have been formulated to demolish the dam and eliminate the reservoir, because Jägala River is on the list of water bodies where salmon, river trout, sea trout and grayling spawn, and according to the Water Act the dam on the water body must guarantee access for the fish both up and downstream.
In 2011, Eesti Energia compiled a preliminary project of the Linnamäe fish ladder. But as the fish experts and officials were not convinced that the ladder would give the desired result, the idea was abandoned.
Jõelähtme rural municipality is in favour of preserving the power plant. The Heritage Board, too, regards its architecture and cultural history as worth preserving and supports a solution that would keep both the Linnamäe reservoir and the power station complex.
For the last eleven years, Eesti Energia has been releasing 5000 young salmon into the water every spring, resulting in the river again being inhabited.

Tiiu Allikvee, 2015