Järva-Jaani vanatehnika varjupaik
All I knew about the Järva-Jaani vanatehnika varjupaik (classic car museum) was that there would be a small police car at the entrance. If you lift its hood, you will find a cash box where you deposit three Euros that makes the signal lights start flashing. This is the entry to an open field museum of Soviet-era vehicles that once traversed the Estonian countryside.
Soviet-era Vehicles in Estonia
Hundreds of cars and trucks, even some Moskvitch, Lada, GAZ trucks, and Ikarus buses are lined up in a vehicle graveyard of sorts where visitors can wander among these rusted machines and even climb inside some.
Located in Järva-Jaani (about an hour outside of Tallinn), this outdoor collection was assembled to preserve these cars that traveled the roads of Estonia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.
Soviet Vehicle Museum
Finding this outdoor museum was not as easy as you’d think it might be, seeing as it’s a field of rusty vehicles. But the roads are not well-marked and unless you speak Estonian, you won’t know how to ask for help. Our GPS kept taking us to a barn-like structure that had a museum sign outside, but obviously wasn’t what we were looking for. They weren’t open, either. We later discerned that there might have been an indoor exhibition related to the outdoor museum, but in the moment, we were too busy trying to figure out where the field full of vehicles was. So we drove around, and finally approached it from a dirt road running behind it.
No matter how you get there, leaving the bustle of Tallinn to drive to a small Estonian village where a field of old, rusty cars, trucks and buses is a unique excursion. I was glad to get a glimpse of this off-the-beaten path museum.
Is this a museum you’d like to visit?
73301 Järva-Jaani ,51
This is so unique and interesting! Probably one of those sights that don’t sound that appealing, but once you start exploring, is full of interesting things. I’m glad you guys didn’t give up on trying to find it and eventually found your way. 🙂
I agree — it’s not something that ‘grabbed’ me until we just wanted something different on a day when we had a few hours free. The town is cute, too, so we didn’t mind driving around. I share here that it’s hidden behind houses when GPS says you’re there.
A long ways from the antique car museum in Reno that I visited last summer, Julianne. But I think it would be interesting. Those weird vehicles were really weird! 🙂 –Curt
The interiors were just as fascinating. Anyone who likes cars and motors would love all this. I liked it for the old styles. Fun to poke around. It reminded me of the Heidelberg district in Detroit.
I’ve yet to do the blog on and old car they had in Reno, Juliann. It was the car that won the great 1909 auto race from New Door to Paris. It’s a fascinating story. –Curt
Oh my gosh. You’ve GOT to share that story, Curt!
Wow…quirky as heck!
You always find the coolest places to explore – this is a museum but it also feels a bit like a public art piece! In fact, when I saw the first photos it really reminded me of Heidelberg Project that we both went to in Detroit 🙂 This is definitely up my alley!!
Thanks, Sarah. It immediately reminded me of the Heidelberg project, too.
What a unique museum. You find so many cool offbeat places that I’d definitely love to explore. I’m always taking photos of old vehicles that others would consider junk so this is right up my alley.
Ashley— you’d love it! I had to stop myself from just going crazy taking pictures of peeling paint, rust, all the innards of these. But I did take a lot.