Archive for June, 2012

I found this place almost by accident. Of course, I was well aware of the Kaunas Fortress, even before I traveled to Lithuania. But due to time management I was not planning to visit the Fortress, and definitely not the VI Fort. But in my second day in Kaunas my host drove me to the Ethnographic Museum (a hell of a place, by the way) and in our way back to the city I glanced at my GPS and… “holly shit man, there is a cache just there, just behind this roundabout”. So poor Tomas drove there, while he admited that he never been in this specific fort himself.


 

Well, actually there isn’t much to see there. First you will have to find the right access. It’s not the old main entrance. There is plenty of water in front of it and anyway, it’s sealed. You rather look for a gate as you see in the last picture of this blog entry.

Anyway, I could enter a couple of tunnels, look at brick walls and pretty much this was it.

Now, a bit of background information taken from Wikipedia:

Kaunas Fortress (Lithuanian: Kauno tvirtovė, Russian: Кοвенская крепость) is the remains of a fortress complex in Kaunas, Lithuania. It was constructed and renovated between 1882 and 1915 to protect the Russian Empire’s western borders, and was designated a “first-class” fortress in 1887. During World War I, the complex was the largest defensive structure in the entire state, occupying 65 km2 (25 sq mi).

The fortress was battle-tested in 1915 when Germany attacked the Russian Empire, and withstood eleven days of assault before capture. After World War I, the fortress’ military importance declined as advances in weaponry rendered it increasingly obsolete. It was used by various civil institutions and as a garrison.

During World War II, parts of the fortress complex were used by the governments of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union for detention, interrogation, and execution. About 50,000 people were executed there, including more than 30,000 victims of the Holocaust.[3] Some sections have since been restored; the Ninth Fort houses a museum and memorial devoted to the victims of wartime mass executions. The complex is the most complete remaining example of a Russian Empire fortress.

There is much more there so if you wanna check it, here is the link:  Kaunas Fortress

Not sure exactly where the gate is but follow these coordinates and you will find it somewhere around:

54° 54.070’N  23° 58.780’E

In late May 2012 I spent a few days in Odessa, being hosted by an old friend from my Prague’s years. Apparently this city is very popular amongst travelers but me, I couldn’t find nothing outstanding there. So I did what I usually do when a place sucks and/or the weather is lousy (in this case both occurred) : Urbex.


So I was told about this place by my local (well, not so local, as he is actually American) friend. He said it used to be a touristic resort from the Soviet times, most probably reserved to the top members of the Party. It is located very close to the sea and to the famous (at Russian / Ukrainian standards) beaches of Odessa. Still, for some reason, it was left alone and it is not a quiet ghost place. Just a few hundred meters there are new buildings raising, huge towers, in locations where it would be impossible to build anywhere else in Europe (and I am talking like, 20 meters from the sea).

Entering the area is plainly simple. It’s wide open and there is a regular road running all the way side by side with this property. However, I noticed a group of gipsy kids entering just ahead of me. I didn’t care about them but when they spotted me they came for my “coins” and they became really insistent. To be honest, for a a few seconds, I became afraid for my belongings, as, being just kids, they were a pack, and packs can be dangerous.

Well, they left me alone but my adrenaline level stayed high since then. I could hear the sounds of their community and I never dared to explore the area where they were settled. So I took a look at the other buildings. And I couldn’t forget the word I heard them saying… “sanatorium”. So perhaps this was a sanatorium after all? It could be. There is a casual fountain the the abandoned gardens, and benches.

Some of the buildings were “villa” kind, and they are now half destroyed as a mad giant attacked them with a powerful kick. Mysterious. If you happen to be nearby and interested in visiting, you can take the tram (I think number 3) from the center, towards the sea. Or you can walk, and it’s indeed a nice stroll, along the coast (not following the tram rails).

Better entering spot:  46° 26.410’N  30° 46.093’E

All right fellows, I admit: I know nothing about this place. My local friend, who actually lives really close to the spot told me it used to be a hotel, destroyed during the long siege of Sarajevo, in the early 90’s. I found it almost by accident, while trying to walk from his place to the toboggan circuit which was part of the Winter Olympics, before the Civilian War here, which is, by itself, a great place for urbex lovers.

Well, in the end I never made it to my objective, but I was happy enough to find these ruins. You can feel the drama here. It’s not like some random factory led to bankruptcy by hard economical conditions. No, in places like this, you can actually feel the pain, the suffering… you hear the shots, the fear of a direct impact. And there are some holes here which had to be caused by artillery direct impacts.

I have nothing else to add. Take a look at the pictures. And this is the location:  43° 50.684’N  18° 25.334’E