Secrets of the Soviet

Trip Start Oct 13, 2012
Trip End Nov 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Maria's House

Flag of Russia  , Central Russia,
Sunday, October 28, 2012

Over the next couple of days I continued on with my off the beaten path tour of Moscow by visiting two really great places dedicated to war and the military.

First up was a place that was on my list to visit in 2010 but I just ran out of time. It's the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. They don't call it WWII in Russia because they really only were at war with Hitler and didn't participate in any of the other conflicts happening around the world. Let me tell you what, this place is HUGE! And filled with great monuments, artwork, and relics of their battle with and victory over Nazi Germany. On display are cool things like Stalin's Briefing Room, countless pieces of Russian and Nazi war memorabilia, and these really cool dioramas depicting different phases of the conflict from invasion to victory.

The next day I visited a place that is really cool, and until 2 years ago was still kept Top Secret by the Russian government. It's called Bunker 42 and it's a huge underground bunker built directly underneath a Moscow suburb. It was originally built for Stalin as a safe place for him to go in the event of a nuclear attack, but later it was expanded to include a top secret command and control center for Russia's long range nuclear bomber fleet. 600 people lived and worked there around the clock for over 40 years!

It's located on a quiet street directly across from an elementary school and except for the guard gate you would never know anything out of the ordinary was there. The building itself is nothing but a shell designed to look like the surrounding apartment buildings and meant to conceal the huge concrete and steel nuclear bunker inside. When I arrived I met several other English speaking tourists who managed to find the place and were also there for the twice a week English tour. Our guide was really great and very knowledgeable. I asked him if he used to work here when it was still a secret command center, and he refused to answer me, so that means yes LOL. We entered the bunker through the main blast doors which were closed behind us, then we descended down an old stairway into the bunker. 18 stories underground!!! Totally cool! And the place is huge! But most of it is now completely empty and off limits to visitors. We did get to see the communications room, briefing room, and what's left of the actual command center which has now been turned into a museum of old Russian equipment including the actual command consoles that are used to launch nuclear missiles.

Of course you're all probably thinking exactly the same thing I was thinking "That would make a great bar and night club!" LOL And you're right, it would. And that's exactly what the new owners who purchased the bunker from the government did! They made part of it into a really awesome bar and nightclub!
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