Travel

The Cold War lives on deep under Moscow

Part of the 600m of secret inter- connecting tunnels 65m under Moscow.
Part of the 600m of secret inter- connecting tunnels 65m under Moscow. Contributed

DOOMSAYERS who get a kick out of reckoning the end of the world is nigh are no doubt keeping their underground vaults stocked, despite being disappointed in their predictions so far.

But no matter how well they prepare, it will be nothing compared with what Russia's leaders did back in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War.

They dug a monstrous 7000sqm bunker 65m under Moscow, with 600m of inter-connecting tunnels to various chambers, and stocked it with food, medical supplies, an air-recycling system, generators, water from a well even deeper below, and installed a vast telecommunications system.

It was designed to enable Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, Prime Minister Nikolai Bulganin and Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, their families and a thousand or so chosen military leaders and their staffs to exist there for up to three months, directing operations in the event of a nuclear attack from the West.

Today, the bunker is a popular tourist attraction, with the company that owns it working with entrepreneurial zeal to provide a peek at Cold War preparedness.

Muscovites can hire out anything down there from a restaurant to a banquet hall; a conference centre for 1000 people; get married; hold a corporate promotion, or watch movies in the cinema.

And in a private room originally planned for Khrushchev's predecessor, Joseph Stalin, whose idea the bunker was, hold that very special dinner party for 40 or 50 mates. Sorry... comrades.

Quarters originally planned for Stalin, now a lounge.
Quarters originally planned for Stalin, now a lounge.

Officially the bunker was designated the Tagansky Protected Command Point, and to build it without Western spy-planes spotting from the air what they were doing, the Russians built it not just 18-storeys below street level, but actually below Moscow's underground Taganskaya Metro railway station - that was publicly announced as being renovated at the time.

So each night hundreds of workers were slipped in on special last trains for the night to excavate or do technical installation work until dawn, and slip out again on trains that simply appeared to be the first for the day.

The bunker was maintained until 1995 when it was decommissioned and closed.

In 2006 a Russian company bought it to create a tourist attraction and museum, paying the equivalent of $20m for the cob-webbed collection of tunnels, rooms, old supplies, now-outdated communications, and piles of weapons.

Now tourists enter via a nondescript entrance next to a one-time school building, and can either take the high-speed lift or 288 steps down into the bunker. There they'll see much of the communications centre as it was in its heyday: radios, typewriters, radar screens, banks of telephones, air-raid sirens and rooms crammed with bunk beds.

Now called Bunker 42, guides dressed as KGB officers invite visitors to don KGB uniforms, too - and sling an AK47 or other decommissioned weapons over their shoulder for souvenir photos.

Entry tickets (about $35) need to be pre-purchased on http://www.bunker42.com.

A visitor is fitted out with replica survival gear.
A visitor is fitted out with replica survival gear.

Topics:  cold war moscow russia travel



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

My days on the mighty HMAS Tobruk

GREAT MEMORIES: John Hay served on the Tobruk during his time in the navy.

Days on the Tobruk remembered

'He's my house deposit': bulk bill IVF welcomed in Bundy

'I WORKED THREE JOBS': Krystal Templeton with her son Marty.

"This,” Krystal says holding a smiling Marty, " is my house deposit”

A magic time to wet a line

OFF YOU GO: Noel Kelly from the Monduran Anglers and Stocking Association releasing some of the 9000 fingerlings that were put into Lake Monduran this week.

Drop a line this weekend and school holidays

Local Partners

Rob's off to start a fresh new chapter

AFTER more than three decades delivering fruit and vegies to loyal customers across Bundaberg, Robert Ward is packing up his ute and retiring.


What's on: Saturday, December 3

Not sure what to do today? We've got you covered

Head to the sugar museum for a sweet taste of history

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the revamped Sugar Museum at Fairymead House is Mayor Jack Dempsey and Fairymead House Team Leader Hayley Vale.

Learn about the industry that made Bundy what it is

List of gigs happening around Bundy

KEY NOTE: Country singer Alex Peden. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail

There's a live show for everyone

Brad Pitt bids to keep custody battle private

Brad Pitt will go to court to keep his custody battle private

Sia has split from her husband

Sia has split from her husband Erik Anders Lang.

Amy Schumer thanks Barbie trolls for hateful comments

Amy Schumer is in the lead role for the new Barbie movie

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing for destroyed sex life

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing her former manager

Azealia Banks' battery case against Russell Crowe dropped

Russell Crowe will not be charged with battery

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!