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A Cold War Secret: Ukraine's Balaklava Submarine Base

17. November 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

You might not know it to look at them, but in the hills of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, the seaside city of Balaklava holds a secret. The secret: an underground military facility, which served as a nuclear submarine base during the cold war and has since become a monument to 20th century history.

This fascinating piece of not just Russian, but world history, is one of Balaklava’s main attractions.


Nearly every resident of Balaklava worked at the base at one time, helping assemble and maintain the Soviet Union’s fleet of nuclear subs. The base was said to be capable of withstanding a direct atomic impact and thus served as a fallout shelter for the city’s entire population – more than 30,000 people.


Due to the base’s highly classified nature, family members who lived outside of the town were unable to visit the city’s residents without presenting identification and a reason for wanting to visit.


After the collapse of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the base was decommissioned – the warheads and other weapons were removed – and it was eventually converted into a museum. Today, tourists can visit for guided tours that take them through the base’s canal system and the base itself.


It's a place you won't want to miss on your first visit to meet your Ukrainian bride.