I know… I have been home for weeks, and I am still slowly posting about our trip, but it takes awhile to get back into it! Anyway, here’s an interesting little stop we made on our Dnieper River cruise. I wasn’t overly interested to begin with,  but once we were there I became very intrigued.

Work area beside the channel

Work area beside the channel

Built during the Cold War, between 1954 and 1963, it was a secret anti-nuclear complex that served as a factory for the Russian Black Sea submarine fleet. It was a place to make repairs and take shelter. Most of the people in the surrounding areas worked in the complex and were sworn to secrecy.  The area was strictly regulated so outsiders weren’t allowed in. Families needed special permission to visit close family members in the area.  And the workers were not allowed to discuss their jobs or their particular area with anyone. Our guide told us that many outsiders didn’t know until just a few years ago that their grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles were workers in the factory.  The level of secrecy was strictly enforced.

When you arrive at Balaclava Bay it is a beautiful resort town complete with castle ruins, beautiful homes and yachts. As you cross over

Balaclava Bay

Balaclava Bay

what looks like a small vehicle bridge that goes over what looks like a small creek, look to the right. There is a nondescript tunnel that you can see goes into the mountain.  This is the Bay entrance to the complex and the beginning of our tour. The Museum was opened in June 2003 and walks you through twelve different points of interest including areas for dry dock of the submarines, assembly and missile loading areas, huge nuclear blast doors, and a couple of areas which have been used the past few years for movie sets including of particular interest to Rick, a James Bond film.

thick blast doors

thick blast doors

I can’t imagine what people working day to day in their own assigned area thought as they were not allowed in any other section. They were divided by huge thick blast doors so they could neither see nor hear what went on elsewhere. It was a way of controlling any one person from knowing any more than his own job and a way to continue maintaining the safety and secrecy of the complex.
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I rather felt like a gopher surfacing, after walking under ground for more than an hour. And that was a

Derelict Passage

Derelict Passage

directional path laid out by the museum.  There were doors and small passageways throughout that were out of bounds.  The Museum staff were using some of them but others looked unlit, full of ‘junk’ and derelict. Wouldn’t want to be wandering off and getting lost in that facility!

I checked out a few sites on the internet and recommend http://balaklava.whoo.net/ for great pictures of the area and the complex.

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