The Naissaar Island is situated in the Gulf of Finland, 15 kilometres away from Tallinn. As a military object, Naissaar has always interested the rulers of Estonia, which is the reason why the inhabitants have often been forced to leave the island. The area of Naissaar is 18,6 km2. Naissaar used to be a favourite spot for pirates and smugglers during the earlier times.
The first military object - a cannon battery - was erected on Naissaar by the Swedish rulers during the Great Northern War in 1705.
After the end of the Great Northern War, when Estonia was included in the Russian Empire, Russia continued militarising the Naissaar Island: a defensive building with five bastions was erected in 1720.
Russia started modernising the military objects of the Gulf of Finland at the beginning of the 20th century. The Naissaar and M?kiluoto cannon batteries and a minefield connecting them were designed to be the priority in this system. The project was not completed due to the outbreak of WW I. When retreating from the Germans in 1918, the Russians blew up most of the defensive buildings. Naissaar was used as a fortified naval base also by the Republic of Estonia in 1918-1940. Naissaar was classified as a secret military facility during the Soviet times. There was a large factory for assembling marine mines in the centre of the island and a railway taking directly to the harbour. Mining the whole Gulf of Finland would have been a matter of hours.
When departing in the beginning of 1990s, the Soviet army burned the explosives out of the mines that were stored and in working order, leaving a multitude of cases scattered around. Lots of them were taken to the mainland as scrap-iron during the cleaning of the island. There is still an existing field of mines in M?dasadam as a sight for tourists to see.
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