One day over 15 years ago, the steel curtain came down over night, and the Americans found out that our arch-enemies were mostly just having a hard time scraping together enough rubles to buy a loaf of bread. But what about all those secrets from over the decades? Now that the curtain has fallen, an empire is again open to the world, for the most part.
Listening to this NPR story yesterday that mentioned once secret Soviet sites, I was inspired. There should be an entire tour for westerners anxious to see what was behind the curtain all those years. After a bit of looking, I found one of the most secretive sites is now a destination in the Ukraine:
Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Balaklava was one of the most secret towns in Russia. 10km south east of Sevastopol on the Black Sea Coast, this small town was the home to a Nuclear Submarine Base.
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Alexandr Ivanov was kind enough to contribute his article about a visit to the base – The Underground Den of Submarines to the BootsnAll community.
As he puts it: “For a long time, residents of Balaklava did not know exactly what was happening in the underground factory. Nowadays, it’s possible to wander the dark winding halls with a guide, if one pays 10 griven (2 US). The excursion to the navy complex-museum “Balaklava” clarifies the mysterious past of “Facility 825” -a top secret complex where the Soviet subs were hidden and repaired. “
If you’re heading there, accommodations are available at the Youth Hostel in town. The Black Sea also provides an excellent opportunity for scuba diving and Balaklava is known for its under water reef.