Dining in a KGB Bunker

By | Category: Travel news
© Soviet Bunker

© Soviet Bunker

The more unusual and strange an attraction is it seems the more we are drawn to it. But would you go the trouble of visiting a KGB bunker in the Nemenčinė forest in Lithuania?

Especially if it meant dressing as an inmate?

On arrival at most attractions a person schooled in customer satisfaction and charm would greet you, explain the sights and assure you that you would have a wonderful time.

Here,  you are met by guard dogs whose civility may be lacking. As might be that of the guards.

Welcome to the world of John le Carre and Len Deighton.

It starts with having your belongings removed; your money goes as does your camera and phone. You put on a Soviet style (is it a genuine one?) coat that isn’t warm, isn’t thick and has seen better days. But whose?

The idea is to immerse yourself in the Soviet world that disappeared (at least I hope so) twenty years ago. Visitors will be taken to the maze, watch TV shows and the shops of 1984, be interrogated in a KGB office, learn the anthem of the USSR and get used to wearing a gas mask. For a real treat, you can dance to the music of those times and eat a Soviet-style dinner. I am not clear as to whether the meal is optional or part of the punishment meted out by the pseudo KGB. To top it off, when you leave you will receive a special certificate and an authentic present (a stomach disorder? from Soviet times.

This bunker doesn’t date from Stalinist days; its relatively modern as it was constructed from 1983-1985. Vilnius was the third city in the territory of the USSR where an alternative TV station was built, after Moscow and Tashkent. The lower floor of the bunker was 4 m below ground and the upper one under embankments at ground level that were built to shield it. The thickness of the walls of the bunker is about half a metre; the roof, 60 cm; and a 1 metre layer of soil was placed on the roof. The roof can support a weight of 2 kg/cm2, i.e. the roof is twice as thick as provided for in the standards to withstand the impact of a nuclear bomb. A stand-alone heating system, sewerage and artesian bores were constructed in the facility; they all still function today.

Since 1991, this facility, which is owned by LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television), has not been used. As a potential prison, when the bunkers were inspected, it turned out that the conditions are not suitable for prisoners.

But they are for visitors! Luckily we can escape after the tour. And the meal. Or can we?

For more information on this KGB bunker, click here.

For more about Lithuania, click here.


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