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Ämari, Estonia

Ämari Pilots’ Cemetery

This soviet pilot's graveyard is filled with headstones made of airplane fins. 

Tucked into the scrubby woods near Estonia’s Ämari Air Base is a pilot’s graveyard where Soviet airmen are buried beneath the fins of the very aircraft they likely died in.

The graves in the Ämari cemetery hold the bodies of a number of pilots who flew under Estonia’s Soviet regime that was in power until 1991. While some of the graves are crude and simple affairs the likes of which could be found in just about any historic cemetery, the graves of the many of the military pilots are topped with actual tail fins from Russian aircraft. The effect almost looks as though a squadron of the ships are burrowing through the ground with their fins above the surface like sharks.

The aircraft parts stand in stark contrast to the wild greenery surrounding them. In fact the stark opposition and funereal atmosphere turn the site into a haunting memorial not just to the fighting men buried at the site, but for Estonia’s past as well.      

Know Before You Go

The graveyard is located right after the village in the forest on the way to Ämari Air base. Easy to spot from the road.