Bunker 42, one of many dotted around Russia

Bunker 42, one of many dotted around Russia

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.
Entrance to the Secret bunker of Stalin!

Entrance to the Secret bunker of Stalin!

Map of the bunker system

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.

We had to walk down 18 flight of stairs to get into the bunker

We had to walk down 18 flight of stairs to get into the bunker

It is located an ear-popping 60 meters below the streets of Moscow. The 7000 square meters complex was completed in the 1960s and originally designed to house officials from the Ministry of Defence in the event of a nuclear attack, but has since been converted into a fascinating museum to showcase one of the most intriguing eras of modern times.
Judith, about to launch a nuclear attack!!

Judith, about to launch a nuclear attack!!

Me inside the small lift

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 communications equipment set on display

The communications equipment set on display

Love the propaganda posters that are up everywhere

Love the propaganda posters that are up everywhere

Me playing around with some of the communications equipment

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.

Visiting this bunker was one of my dads highlights during their visit and we had him try everything out

Visiting this bunker was one of my dads highlights during their visit and we had him try everything out

My dad playing around with the period weapons on display

My dad playing around with the period weapons on display

We even had my dad try on one of the old Russian gas masks

We even had my dad try on one of the old Russian gas masks

Down in the tunnels during a mock drill of what would happen in case of an attack.

Down in the tunnels during a mock drill of what would happen in case of an attack.

“Underground Command Post Tagansky” was built in 1951 during the height of the Cold War and is located in the center of Moscow.
Down in the bunker they have a space where you can sit and rest and even have a ciggaret

Down in the bunker they have a space where you can sit and rest and even have a ciggaret

This super-secret bunker served as the command post, the main artery for communication for the Soviet Union in the event of a nuclear war.  It was built to withstand direct hits and to insure that normal telecommunications in the worst case scenario could continue.
Some of the tunnels have colourful light fixtures

Some of the tunnels have colourful light fixtures

The walk through the tunnels is simply breath-taking and you can get lost in your imagination of what it must have been like 50 years ago.  For those fans of Soviet history and the Cold War, this is a must see.
An empty section of the bunker

An empty section of the bunker