Kohtla-Järve Põlevkivimuuseum

Museum of Oil Shale

Useful Information

Location: Tuuslari tänav 22, Kohtla-Järve, 30322 Ida-Viru maakond.
(59.400803, 27.287864)
Open: All year Tue-Fri 12-18, Sat 10-16.
Last entry 30 minutes earlier.
Fee: Adults EUR 2, Children EUR 1, Students EUR 1, Seniors EUR 1, Disabled free.
Guided Tour EUR 15.
Classification: MineOil Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Kohtla-Järve Põlevkivimuuseum, Tuuslari tänav 22, Kohtla-Järve, 30322 Ida-Viru maakond, Tel: +372-332-1350. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1916 begin of underground mining of oil shale.
31-MAR-1966 museum founded.
1998 museum taken over from the state by the Kohtla-Järve municipality.
1999 reopened after relocation to the City Government building.
2006 museum closed for relocation.
MAY-2007 permanent exhibition opened in the Kukruse district of Kohtla-Järve.
2016 new premises renovated and noe exhibition created.
12-JUN-2019 new museum opened to the public.


Estonia has two kinds of oil shale, both sedimentary rocks from the Ordovician period. The first is graptolitic argillite, which is larger but has a relatively low content of organic matter and is thus not commercially exploited. The other is kukersite, which has been mined for more than a hundred years.


Kohtla-Järve Põlevkivimuuseum (Museum of Oil Shale) is dedicated to the history of the oil shale industry in Estonia. The museum has two buildings, the Põlevkivimuuseum (Museum of Oil Shale) and Valge Saal (White Hall), which are just a few meters apart. The first is the actual museum with a permanent exhibition and a large archive with 3,000 documents which is open for researchers. The White Hall was built specifically for exhibitions and events. There were so far handicraft and photo exhibitions, concerts, theater performances, presentations, training and receptions. There is also a section called Vene Muuseumi Virtuaalne filiaal (Virtual Branch of the Russian Museum) a collaborative project with a network of information and education centers. It includes digitized material which is available for online collaboration.

Põlevkivi (oil shale, literally: burning rock) was declared a strategic energy resource in Estonia. The oil shale industry in Estonia is one of the most developed in the world. Historically the mined oil shale was used for electricity generation, the two largest oil shale fired power stations in the world are in Estonia. The share of oil shale in Estonia's electricity generation has decreased but is still 54 % in 2020. Half of the mined oil shale is used to produce shale oil, a synthetic oil which is extracted by pyrolysis.

The oil shale is also the reason that Estonia is the second-largest emitter of CO2 per capita in the European Union. Over 90 per cent of Estonia’s CO2 emissions come from burning oil shale for electricity.