We have covered haunted and abandoned places before here on blazepress, but perhaps none as creepy as those of the Soviet Union. Before it collapsed the Soviet Union had an area of 8.65 million square miles and within that vast area lived a population of 290 million people. Now fragments of its former might remain in the form of these mysterious and haunting places.
1. Pripyat in Ukraine, located near the Chernobyl Power Plant, it was left abandoned after the disaster in 1986.
2. Pripyat’s Hospital No. 126 is made up of 5 large buildings that are each six storeys high.
3. After the town was abandoned doctors left medical equipment such as hospital beds, operating tables and babies cribs. All of the equipment remains there today, left to rust.
4. The town used to be a highly populated area, with 35 playgrounds, 15 primary schools and five secondary schools as well as three indoor swimming pools.
5. As well as the primary schools, Pripyat also had several kindergartens. They are still full of toys and gas masks that were there to protect the children in the event of chemical attack or disaster.
6. This is Pripyat’s Luna Park, with its Ferris wheel and bumper cars. It was never completed, and was due to be opened as part of May Day celebrations in 1986.
7. A Russian tuberculosis hospital lies abandoned.
These photographs were taken by photographer Rebecca Litchfield who says that these hospitals are placed throughout the USSR.
8. Travelling to Russia to take these photographs was not an easy task.
“Not many explorers travel to Russia,” says lichfield. “Where the rules are very different, locations are heavily guarded and a strong military presence exists everywhere. There are serious consequences for getting caught.
9. But there were ways round this strong military presence.
“We managed to stay hidden for all of the trip, we maximised our stealthiness, ducking and diving into bushes and sneaking past sleeping security. But on day three our good fortune ran out as we visited a top secret radar installation. After walking through the forest, mosquitos attacking us from all directions, we saw the radar and made our way towards it, but just metres away suddenly we were joined by military and they weren’t happy..”
10. One of many Soviet-era cinemas that lie abandoned across Russia.
11. Poland is also full of many communist era abandoned buildings, such as this hospital.
12. This is Skrunda, a secret town located in Latvia. It housed a Soviet radar station that was supposed to monitor all of Western Europe.
13. Despite its location being secret, it became a residential area with over 60 houses, a gym and a theatre.
Lichfield points out in her book “Once Latvia had gained back its independence, the Soviets were given four years to dismantle the radars. The entire town was sold at auction for just 17,000 Lats (around £20,000) but as of 2013 nothing has yet been done with the site.”
15. Latvia has several abandoned radio telescopes, such as these two in Irbene. They now stand as unused Cold War relics from an era when listening in on the West was a top priority.
16. The entire area was once forbidden, and people needed to get special mission to visit Irbene and its surrounding towns.
“Irbene was so secretive in fact, that the public only found out about it when the site was officially revealed in 1993; long after the Soviets had left,” says Litchfield.
17. A swimming pool at the head of the Soviet Union's headquarters in Germany.
18. Although it was built by Germans it was took over by Russia on the 20th of April 1945, with fighting leaving some 120 dead.
19. In 1953 800 people were living here and as many as 30,000 soldiers and 75,000 civilians lived in the surrounding area.
The Russians left a lot behind including weapons, ammunition, bomb parts and chemical waste.
20. This mural on a wall within a Soviet pilot school still stares out, located in the area that once was the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany.
21. This is Milovice located in the Czech Republic which has been a military site since the early 1990s.
These buildings once housed hundreds of families, but now the buildings have been stripped so that nothing but their shells are left. Russian forces started to leave in the 1980's after the Velvet Revolution. They left so quickly they buried lived ammunition across the area, now making the town potentially very dangerous.
22. A monument to the Soviet Union in Mount Buzludzha, located in Bulgaria the monument is the largest of its kind.
The location for secret meetings by Bulgarian Socialists and where Bulgarian forces battled with Turkish forces. Located in the huge amphitheatre there is a mural that depicts Soviet and Bulgarian history.
23. The structure was left abandoned after 1989 and then later gifted to the state in 1991. Since then its valuable materials have all been stripped.
24. Once a tower that was 70 metres tall, topped with a huge star made of red glass, it was designed to be three times bigger than the star at the Kremlin. Now it just sits there to rust.
Photos by www.rebeccalitchfield.com