• National Archives of Estonia
  • Riigiarhiiv
  • State Archives of Estonia


General Address/Noora Reading Room
Nooruse 3


(+372) 738 7500
(+372) 738 7521


Madara Reading Room (Tallinn)
Madara 24


(+372) 693 8668


As of spring 2016, the Estonian State Archives and the Estonian History Archives are known simply as the National Archives of Estonia. Established in 1921 with the aim of preserving documents from active institutions of the young republic, the State Archives functioned during Soviet and German occupations. After the Second World War it was named Eesti NSV Oktoobrirevolutsiooni ja Sotsialistliku Ülesehituse Riiklik Keskarhiiv (ORKA) (Central State Archives of the October Revolution and Socialist Construction of Soviet Estonia) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Independent management of the archive was restored in the beginning of 1990s; a former archive of the Estonian Communist Party became affiliated with the Central State Archive during this time. The National Archives of Estonia became active as an umbrella organization on 1 January 1999.

Geographical and Cultural Context

The National Archives contain collections from Estonian public and private persons, primarily:

  • government institutions and organizations operated by government institutions
  • local governments
  • government officials and other employees

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The National Archives collects and preserves records documenting history, culture, nationhood and social conditions in Estonia not depending on time or place of creation, or character of data medium.

The functions of the National Archives are:

  • to collect documented data important for our society
  • to offer broadest use of the collections
  • to keep the collections in good preservation conditions
  • to supervise institutions in management and safekeeping of records
  • to participate in development of the national electronic records management
  • to receive digital records

Administrative Structure

For the administrative structure of the National Archives, see:


Records Management and Collecting Policies

The National Archives collect public records of the functioning of institutions fulfilling public tasks (for example, constitutional institutions, government institutions, organizations operated by government institutions, government officials and other employees, and local governments).


As of 2017, the National Archives have offices in Tartu, Tallinn, Rakvere and Valga.

National Archives in Tartu
Nooruse 3, Tartu
Phone: + 372 738 7521
E-mail: tartu@ra.ee
Fax: + 372 738 7510

National Archives in Tallinn
Madara 24, 15019 Tallinn
Phone: +372 693 8668
E-mail: tallinn@ra.ee
Fax: +372 661 6230

National Archives in Rakvere
Näituse 23, 44314 Rakvere
Phone: +372 323 2160
E-mail: rakvere@ra.ee

National Archives in Valga
Vabaduse 6, 68204 Valga
Phone: +372 766 8870
E-mail: valga@ra.ee

Archival and Other Holdings

The collections of the National Archives include:

  • 8,8 million records (the oldest from 1240)
  • currently about 17 million digital images on the web (ca 2,2% of the collections, ca 200,000 records)
  • 9,5 million metres of film recordings (the oldest from 1908)
  • more than half a million of photos (older ones from the 19th century)
  • almost 100,000 maps (the oldest from the first half of the 17th century, undated)
  • 2,200 seals
  • approximately 1,500 parchments

The repositories are located in principally in Tallinn, but collections may have also been moved to the new main building Noora in Tartu, which was officially opened in 2017.

  • 24 Madara Street reading room: This location holds documents of the major state and military institutions from before 1940 (including the Office of the President, State Chancellery, Foreign Ministry; the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, Economy and Agriculture; the Departments of Cadastre of the Bureau of Statistics; county land boards; the Board of Settlement, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the General Staff, etc.). Other records pertain to the activities (through 1940) of court and police institutions, banks, embassies and consulates, and municipal governments up to 1944 (except those of Tallinn and Harju County, which are in the Tallinn Municipal Archives). There are also personal fonds of public figures and eminent cultural figures who were active prior to World War II (K. Päts, J. Tõnisson, J. Laidoner, et al), as well as documents of planning and design offices. The collection’s most valuable and voluminous holdings are the plans and blueprints of real estate (land and buildings), and those of posters and memoirs.

  • 4 Maneeži Street: Documents from this location can be used in the Madara Street reading room. This location holds documents of ministries and central institutions from during the Soviet period, as well as the records of universities and institutes, central hospitals, theatres and numerous other institutions and organizations of Tallinn. Personal fonds include those of public figures and eminent cultural figures from the post-World War II period. The last three years have seen addition of a new set of documents: personal records obtained from institutions and organizations that were privatized or abolished.

  • 16 Tõnismägi Street: Documents from this location can be used in the Madara Street reading room. This location holds the records of the Estonian Communist Party, Estonian Young Communist League, as well as other parties, unions and movements and those of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic and the State Security Committee from 1940-1991. There are also personal fonds (from Jaan Anvelt, Johannes Lauristin, Artur Vader, et al) and collections (records of revolutionary movement from the period 1903-1966, etc.).

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

All fonds have printed finding aids, which are available in the reading room of the Estonian National Archives at Madara Street 24, 15019 Tallinn Tel: +372 693 8668 Email: tallinn@ra.ee Fax: +372 661 6230

For more information, see here.

Much preliminary work can be done in the Virtual Reading Room. An online finding aid is available through Archival Information System (AIS).

Two guides have been published about fonds in the Estonian State Archive:

  • Liivi Uuet, Sirje Luide, Eesti Riigiarhiivi fondide teatmik. I osa, 1917-1944 (Eesti Riigiarhiiv, 1993)

  • Hille Oidema, Eesti Riigiarhiivi Filiaal (Parteiarhiiv). Fondide loend (Eesti Riigiarhiivi Filiaal, 1998).

Opening Times

National Archives reading room in Tartu

Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On days before public holidays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
From June 25th until September 1st, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

National Archives reading room in Tallinn

Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On days before public holidays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed last Friday of each month
From June 25th until September 1st, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

National Archives reading room in Rakvere

Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
On days before public holidays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

*National Arvchives reading room in Valga

Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
On days before public holidays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Research Services

At the Madara Street location there is a reading room with consultants. Languages spoken by staff: Estonian, Russian and English. Visitors can use card files and finding aids, and PCs for use of online-databases and digitized records. It is possible to review films, view photos, listen to audio documents and subscribe copies.

Reproduction Services

It is possible to order both paper and digital copies of the records you are interested in. For information on how to do this and the applicable fees, see:


Public Areas

Wireless internet is available in the Archive’s reading room in Tallinn. The password for the WiFi network can be obtained from the reading room staff. It is possible to buy publications of the Estonian National Archives. A break room and coffee machine are also available.


  • Entry added on October 13, 2014 by Meelis Maripuu based on the homepage of the Estonian National Archives and personal experiences.

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