Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

SAM Base, Sevastopol, Ukraine

Posted: August 12, 2012 in Ukraine

Hey! Don’t be fooled by the title of this entry. To be honest, I don’t know if this site used to be a SAM base. But accordingly to my observation and experience, I am almost sure. The underground bunkers are just like the storage spaces I observed in other places of the same kind, namely in Czech Republic, and I could see two platforms which would be perfect for parking mobile SAM launchers and supporting equipment.

Then, of course, there is a number of assorted buildings and smaller bunkers, perfectly suitable for accommodation of garrison, command office and so on. Sadly most of the structures are strongly damaged and defaced by graffiti. Not specially exciting for me, as I am so familiar with these small Soviet made facilities, but for the newcomer it might be of some interest.

Still about the possibility of the place being a SAM base, it just makes sense. A place like Sevastopol should be protected by any air attack, and this place has the perfect location to cover, at least partially, the approach route to Sevastopol.

It’s not hard to find the way there. It will involved some driving in dirt roads, but a normal car should be able to make it. These are the coordinates: N44 31.731 E33 28.473

Now pay attention. If you wanna see something interesting, even if from a certain distance, keep driving until you reach  44° 31.363’N  33° 28.945’E. Preferably leave your car about 200 meters before. Approximately in those coordinates there is a gate. Do NOT even think about trespassing. These are military facilities still in use and you will be able to see some tactical missiles mobile launchers parked there. Awesome!

The gate! Do NOT trespass this one!

Military Hospital in Sevastopol

Posted: August 6, 2012 in Ukraine

Not much to say about this one, really. In the day of my arrival to Sevastopol my host brought me (and a co-hosted Russian traveler) for some sightseeing and urban exploration. After visiting the submarine facility in Balaklava we proceeded to this spot, which I had previously identified and located on Google Earth.

We brought the car just because… well, why not… but otherwise, if you visit Balaklava it’s easily walkable although it’s uphill. Just follow the road leading the the submarine base museum, and start walk up. This abandoned building will be on your right. Please consider that once in there I noticed a similar building just in front, but I had not the chance to explore that one. My fellows were not so excited about this place so I didn’t even mentioned the other one.

I know nothing about this building. I found it in another Urbex website (sorry, forgot which one) and there wasn’t much info there besides the reference of being a former Military Hospital. Which makes a lot of sense, considering the location and the layout of the building.

The structure it’s easily accessible, offering great views over Balaklava and surroundings. Access to the attic is possible. I wonder why the basement was blocked by a brick wall.

Coordinates:  44° 29.741’N  33° 35.382’E

Oh! Meanwhile I found my original reference, where you can watch further pictures of the place:

Object 221, Crimea, Ukraine

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Ukraine

I have to admit it: before coming to Sevastopol and staying with Nick I had never heard about this place. Even if I did my homework and pinpointed locations with potential for urbex.

The same day I arrived in Sevastopol Nick brought us (me and a Russian traveler) to visit Balaclava former submarine facility and a couple of other locations including Object 221. Actually Nick didn’t know the actual way to get here, but he follow the directions some friends had provided and we succeeded reaching the place. In a given moment we almost quit. The road was blocked and we had no clue we were going in the right direction. Then we saw three persons coming in our direction and they confirmed: all the way uphill and we would find what we want.

Meanwhile, it started to rain. Great. So it was a wet stroll, all the way up, about 2-3 km. But eventually we got there. The complex is all underground, not counting with some buildings by the entrance, close to the spot where we left the car. And, of course, the bunkers concealing the entry points to the underground maze.

A bit of background:  I heard/read two versions about the purpose of this place. Nick told me it was designed to host the Soviet government in case of a sudden Summer crisis, when all top notch Party members were spending vacations in Crimea. But I read in several written sources that Object 221 was supposed to be the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in case of war or serious crisis. But then, perhaps both possibilities are truth and can be combined.

An interesting detail: in order to keep the secrecy, fake windows were painted on the flat surface of the concrete bunkers. This way, a casual observer could easily being tricked into thinking those are just common buildings.

Apparently the base was never finished, and the works came to a halt in 1989. Shortly after, all the grounds and whatever was on them was sold by a ridiculous low price.

Some coordinates now:

1) As far as you can bring a common vehicle:  44° 31.240’N  33° 42.450’E

2) Entrance to the complex:  44° 31.071’N  33° 42.091’E

Status: no troubles whatsoever. Just get to the place and explore. Not specially dangerous. Although huge, it’s not like you can get lost inside never to be seen again. Of course, it wouldn’t be comfortable to find yourself in the middle of the tunnels without light, so that’s important: whatever you do, make sure you don’t run out of batteries, and, if a headlight gets damaged, be sure you have a backup light and so on.

Ok, this is not really URBEX, but it smells like it. And it’s so big, so important, that I really didn’t want it to miss my blog. People have been writing about this location in hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs and forums threads.

So, what is this about? Well, the whole area of Sevastopol, in Crimea, was not accessible to the normal Soviet (and then Ukrainian) citizen until 1993 (I think); in short, it was a militarized area, a huge base formed by dozens of facilities. And from the whole lot, Balaklava was the most well protected, the most secret. There, the Soviets built an underground base for submarines. It took five years to build and it became finally operational in 1961. It was designed to host up to seven class 613 or class 633 submarines.

With the collapse of Soviet Union the site was later abandoned, in 1995. For a while it became just a strange ruin, where people could enter and freely explore. A dangerous situation, with at least three deaths recorded due to accidents with explorers there.

Finally, in 2005, due to the efforts of the city of Sevastopol, a museum was open in this former military facility. Nowadays the visitor will have to pay a ticket and wait until a group is ready to start the tour, which is available in Russian and English. The cots of the ticket is approximately 7 Euros. Tours take about 90 min and include a walk of about 3 km underground. At least I was told so. So, as I said, this article is not really about Urbex! Geez! A tour! Yeah, I know. I would give everything for the privilege of visiting the place as it was, let’s say, in 2000. But well, not possible.

Good webpage with great pictures and further information about the base:

I guess for this one you really don’t need coordinates, but here they are anyway:  44° 30.122’N  33° 35.808’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