4 Moscow bunker museums (PHOTOS)

Podzemnaya Moskva
The most valuable things are underground: we talk about the bunker museums located in the capital and what you can see there.


Down into the USSR: This Cold War museum is located at a depth of 65 meters between Taganskaya metro station and Kotelnicheskaya Embankment. Its proximity to the Kremlin is no coincidence: In the event of a nuclear threat, the government had to be relocated there to continue governing the country. This is one of the largest special purpose facilities: its area is 7,000 sq. meters and it can accommodate up to 600 people.

The bunker was designed in 1947 and, in 1954, the life-support systems were ready and communications were being set up, while, two years later, the reserve command post of the headquarters of the long-range aviation began operating from there - until the mid-1980s, Soviet strategic nuclear bombers were commanded from there.

Today, they tell about the confrontation between the USSR and the U.S. during the Cold War and how the bunker was designed to protect against a nuclear strike. The exhibition includes a life-size replica of the RDS-1 atomic bomb, classified communications equipment and various artifacts related to the work of the underground facility. The museum offers interactive excursions; the bravest can play ‘Zarnitsa’ - a sports and military game popular in the Soviet times - and in laser tag in its tunnels.

“Underground Moscow”

The civilian anti-nuclear shelter of the Krasnopresnensky Mantulin Sugar Refinery, built in 1972, has recently turned into a museum. The exhibition tells about what is hidden in the depths of the capital - dungeons and shelters, ancient cellars and subway inhabitants.

A large section is devoted to civilian shelters - their structure, everyday life and equipment. You can, for example, flip through a 1972 issue of the ‘Pravda’ newspaper, find out how the special treatment of those who came from the contaminated zone was carried out and examine the chemical and biological protection suits. And turn the lever of the air purification system with your own hands. Almost all exhibits in the museum can be touched with your hands.


The inconspicuous building of ‘Bunker-703’ looks like a farm building or a garage. It was designed that way so that no one would guess that there was a special archive of the USSR Foreign Ministry inside. In the premises of the technological tunnel, built during the construction of the ‘Zamoskvoretskaya’ subway line, there used to be fireproof safes with important important secret documents. The close proximity to the subway played its role: the premises were flooded from time to time, until they were finally declared unsafe.  

Since 2018, a museum has been operating there, at a depth of 43 meters. There is no glamor, but rather a harsh steampunk atmosphere behind heavy security doors. The exposition includes models of defense structures, special equipment and materials about Soviet bunkers. Bonus - an incredible tunnel in one of the shelter blocks: you could make a apocalyptic sci-fi movie there right now!

Stalin's Bunker

The full name of this museum, located in Izmailovo, is the ‘Reserve Command Post of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army I.V. Stalin during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945’. It is located in the grandstand of the Izmailovo Stadium. The sports facility began to be built in the 1930s - a giant stadium with a capacity of at least 120,000 people was planned to be erected for the ‘Spartakiade’ of the Peoples of the USSR. But, due to World War II, the project was frozen and only resumed in the 1960s, but without the original scope. Only one grandstand and a seventy-meter tunnel remained from the first project, through which important guests were to ascend to the government box.

The bunker museum has been operating here since 1996: Stalin's office, a Georgian-style dining room and the meeting room of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Headquarters have been recreated in its premises. The exhibition is not so much historical as fantasy: Stalin himself had never been there and there were no plans to build a bunker as such in the tribune.

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