As a rule, capital cities are protected by the latest developments of the defense industry, and Moscow is no exception. There are dozens of abandoned military facilities around the city and many of them are quite fascinating. This article describes some of these objects.
Former S-25 Berkut missile system launching sites
There are two abandoned sites to the west and to the southwest of Moscow. They used to serve as bases for S-25 Berkut surface-to-air missile systems that were adopted by the Soviet Army in May, 1955. The main purpose of the systems was to guard the airspace above and around Moscow. The development of this air defense missile system (ADMS) was one of the most complex, ambitious and costly projects initiated in the USSR after WWII. As a matter of fact, It became the first fully operational ADMS of such magnitude.
The whole of Moscow’s air defense structure consisted of 56 missile systems making up two concentric circles around the city. Roads were built specifically to serve miltary transportation purposes. Several layers of concrete slabs were meant to endure large tonnage missile hauling units. The roads began to be used by civillians soon after completion, although they were officially declared civilian only in 1980s and paved with asphalt. However, to this very day they are commonly referred to as “betonkas” (colloquial name for concrete roads).
Today some of these facilities are repurposed for S-300 launching, while others are deserted. One of the abandoned sites is located to the west of Moscow.
The total number of defense systems on the outer circle was 34 (the remaining 22 were located along the inner circle). Some of the buildings on the site are still standing and one of the missiles has been preserved as a monument. The facility is surrounded by a beautiful fir forest with some military structures scattered here and there. The entry to the buildings is not restricted in any way but cautioning signs saying “No admittance” and “Danger” still can be found on the walls and doors inside. You can also take a look at two military units mounted on MAZ-543 8×8 artillery trucks. In other words, there is a lot to see.
Another deserted launching site is located farther to the south but also on the outer circle, between Route 130 (Kaluzhskoe highway) and Route M1 (Minskoe highway), near Vasilchinovo. Some buildings still remain generally intact there as well. The most interesting objects on the site are radomes — spherical constructions with mind-blowing acoustics. Any sound coming from the center of the sphere is reflected off the walls and comes back to the center strongly amplified.
Half-abandoned military training center in Nikolo-Uriupino
There is another facility to the west of Moscow, close to Nikolo-Uriupino that cannot be described as completely deserted, but is in fact barely used. Only a part of it is still functional with the entry restricted to military training school students only. For the most part, the training ground is abandoned with little or no security.
There is plenty to see on the premises. There are several monuments, but the main points of interest are military equipment mock-ups and trenches. You can find mock-up planes and armoured vehicles randomly distributed all over the wooded territory. Training trenches have been dug here and there, with mobile bridges and temporary firing points.
Unfinished homeland security service hospital
The building is particularly notable for having access to the roof from the center and right aisles; the view of the surroundings is stunning. Inside the building bare walls painted by local graffiti artists, gloomy hallways and howling winds create a post-apocalyptic atmosphere.
Visiting the left aisle might not be the best idea: nothing but the framework has been completed and its reliability is rather doubtful. The center and the right aisles are much better preserved, and there is no visible sign of deterioration. Apart from the roof and the interiors there is also an underground part. The pipework and the cable gallery are not in a good condition, and moving around the place is rather difficult, but it’s still worth a look.
Although it is possible to move freely around the site, it is better to exercise extreme caution like with any other abandoned object. The building looks quite sturdy but you should keep in mind that it has been deserted for nearly 25 years, no parts of the construction have proper waterproofing and water is gradually wearing out the ceilings.
Images by Dmitry Navyshny, reproduced with permission