Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991 and the end of the Cold War, skeletal relics from the era of mutally assured apocalyptic nuclear destruction lurk throughout the former USSR.
A few hours drive out of the Latvian capital Riga, obscured deep in a forest of silver birch, the secret Soviet military research facility of Skrunda-1 was a key component in the Evil Empire’s confrontation with the free world.
Known to Latvian locals simply as “Complex“, a series of early warning radar installations were constructed on the site from the 1950’s onwards. Aiming west, the last of these was the second tallest building in Latvia when it was demolished in 1995, a monumental 19 stories high.
As a closed city all Soviet military and scientific personnel and families were restricted from leaving the site, with further restrictions on those who could enter.
The amenities for 5000 inhabitants were on site, including a nursery, theatre, gym and even nightclub, alongside uniform apartment blocks, soldiers barracks and prison cells.
Following the sites total abandonment in 1998, all materials of value were stripped and removed to Russia ,the Latvian government has yet to find a viable way to regenerate the concrete shells of the 60 buildings that remain.
After unsuccessful auctioning to private investors, the property has passed from the Latvian military to the local Skrunda municipality who charge a €4 entry fee.