Naval Museum Complex Balaklava
Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Naval Museum Complex Balaklava was a top-secret military facility during the Cold War, located in Balaklava Bay, Crimea. Originally called Object 825 GTS, the underground submarine base was used by the USSR as a maintenance or repair site for the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. Currently, the submarine base serves as a museum about the Crimean War.
The History of Object 825 GTS
Sometime after the Second World War, the USSR and the US, both boasting powerful nuclear weapons, threatened each other with pre-emptive strikes and retaliatory strikes. This launched the project to create a place where the USSR could house submarines for a retaliatory nuclear strike.
They pinpointed Balaklava as the best location for the secret project because the area could not be seen from the open sea. Balaklava has already been utilized as an active military port for centuries, and in the 1950s, the place became the home of Object 825 GTS. The intended purpose of the military facility was to house, repair and maintain Project 613 and 633 submarines. However, the place was designed to accommodate up to 14 submarines if the need arises.
The construction of the underground base lasted eight years, from 1953 to 1961. About 120 thousand tons of rocks were removed from the Tavros Mountain to complete the construction. To ensure that the operation remained top-secret, they transported the materials at night.
The military base was believed to be virtually indestructible as it was built to withstand a direct hit by a nuclear bomb of up to 100 kilotons. To compare, it can withstand a bomb that is five times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
In case of a nuclear attack, the 1,500 military personnel at the base, as well as the residents of Balaklava, had enough supply of food, water, electricity, and ventilation for 30 days.
The Fate of Object 824 GTS after the Fall of the USSR
In 1993, the decommissioning process began, and the removal of the submarines from the base lasted until 1996. Forgotten and unguarded, the base was frequently plundered, with most of the metal structured scavenged.
Sharing Its History
In 2000, the Russian Federation gifted the abandoned base to the Ukrainian Navy. It was left in a state of decline until 2003 when The Sevastopol “Marine Commission” proposed the construction of a museum.
The base has been renamed Naval Museum Complex Balaklava and was opened to the public on June 1, 2003. The museum has themed exhibition halls, a submarine standing by the underground pier, a tourist center, a cinema room, and an underground memorial dedicated to fallen submariners.
How to Visit the Naval Base
The museum sits at No.22 Tavricheskaya Naberezhnaya Street, Balaklava district, Sevastopol, Crimea. There are numerous local and online bookings for those who wish to live their 007 fantasy or simply enjoy the unique museum experience.
The Future of Naval Museum Complex
There are rumors that Russia is considering the restoration of the submarine base. However, only they can know what the future holds for this abandoned military base.
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