Experiencing a Cold War Soviet Bunker


Telephone equipment in bunker


Have you ever felt as if you were living in a Cold War era spy novel? We visited the perfect location for one last month during our exploration of Latvia. This location was filled with telephone and communications equipment from the 1980s.






Spa built over the underground bunker
Deep in a bunker below this building in central Latvia, we had the chance to visit the actual headquarters of the Soviet leaders during the height of the Cold War. This 2000 square foot bunker was built in case of nuclear war as a place where the USSR Latvian leaders would gather during an attack. This would enable the Soviet government of Latvia to keep functioning even if the US sent a nuclear missile in the direction of their country.


Map room in the bunker



Besides the communication rooms, the bunker held everything that was needed to exist for 40 days which included beds, kitchen and dining areas, map rooms, and meeting rooms. The bunker was maintained around the clock by minimal staff monitoring phones and news feeds in preparation of an attack.




Kitchen work area

Dining area

It was never actually used for the purpose it was built since we never started a nuclear war with Russia. Nothing was ever changed in the bunker when it was abandoned in 1990. The veil of secrecy surrounding this place was finally lifted in 2003 when it was opened to the public.

We could read some of the Russian signs

To hide the existence of this bunker, they built it 9 meters below a spa hotel for VIPs of the government. This secret site was located in the middle of a woods far away from any prying eyes. Today the site is a "Pansionats" (nursing home for elderly). Visitors can tour the underground bunker only once a day in mid-afternoon.


The extraordinary thing is that we saw the same dull green paint in an old building when we first moved to St. Petersburg. Also, the linoleum floor in the Lenin room reminds us of some we saw in a friend's apartment during our time living in Russia. It all was too familiar!

Every bunker needs a Lenin statue





Of course, Lenin was very important to the Soviets at this time, so the bunker had a tribute to him in a meeting room. I can assure you that this isn't something you'll see anywhere else in Latvia today.





We even had the chance to try on a gas mask if we so desired. The one brave soul who volunteered said it was very uncomfortable and smelly. No thanks.

Gas mask anyone?





The gift area upstairs had gas masks for sale for 5 euros. I think the guide told us that they had 20,000 to get rid of still today. We can pick you up one if you so desire. 

Comments

  1. Connie, I'm wondering how Latvia is fighting Covid. Is everyone wearing masks? How has the country coped with this? I continue to enjoy you're posts. Hope you're doing well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Latvia handled Covid very well - so far. They've only had about 1300 cases in the entire country with 33 deaths. The schools, churches and activities were cancelled for a couple months. I think most people continued to go to work. Masks were required on public transportation until the end of July. It's back to normal again right now.

      Delete
  2. Connie, I'm wondering how Latvia is fighting Covid. Is everyone wearing masks? How has the country coped with this? I continue to enjoy you're posts. Hope you're doing well.
    - Deby

    ReplyDelete

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