How do you celebrate your birthday when it is -30 degrees outside? You go down into Stalin’s secret bunker and go for a ride on Moscow’s circle line.I decided to have a Russian weekend for my birthday in February. Seeing as it was in the middle of winter and -30 outside we decided to visit the Bunker 42 Cold War Museum and afterwards do a tour of the circle metro and all its fabulous stations.
My friend Judith and I got off at Tagansky metro station and waded through the snow to the bunker. We had to book in advance via the Bunker 42 website to make sure that we would be part of an English speaking tour. The entrance is so well disguised that I myself have passed by this building many times before and I never guessed that this was the entrance to an underground tunnel system. It looks like the entrance to a normal building from the outside.
As we started the tour we passed by an incredible 6 ton concrete door which slide open to reveal a small set of stairs which went down, and down, and down for 22 flights. (Those who did not wish to walk could take the small elevator down. We made sure that we were first in line to take back up as the elevator was tiny and only 4 people could squeeze in.)
The entry fee included a tour of the bunker’s expansive tunnels and they even did a mock drill of what would happen in case of an attack. We viewed an enlightening video about the tensions between the USSR and the USA, showing the development and testing of atom bombs. We also had the chance to survey some period weapons and communications equipment.