Exploration #71. Skrunda-1 is a special ghost town: during the period of activity it was a closed city and Soviet military base in Latvia. Skrunda-1 housed almost 5000 military, technicians and scientists (with related families) on duty at a radar station called in NATO slang “Hen House” (name deriving from the fact that it resembled a large chicken coop). It was one of the six radars built at the beginning of the Cold War in the peripheral areas of the then Soviet Union, capable of monitoring possible ballistic missile launches to Russia. The city was built in 1963 and had around 75 buildings spread over an area of more than 100 acres. The city was self-sufficient and inside there were schools, residences, a small hotel, a prison, places for leisure and bunkers. The Russians left Latvia in 1994 but Skrunda-1 remained operational for a few more years. The city was finally emptied of all its valuable material and then abandoned by the Russians in 1998. The Latvians demolished the radar towers on the occasion of the exit of the Soviets, but the rest of the city was left abandoned in the middle of the forest.
In my urbex adventures I explored several ghost towns, but Skrunda-1 was a different experience. First of all, the vastness: we are not talking about a village but a real town with main roads and secondary avenues. Then the buildings: multi-storey apartment buildings, all the same in classic Soviet style that follow one after the other. Walking in these avenues was like experiencing the post-apocalyptic film scene. Inside, everything was devastated, but some small memories of the inhabitants remain, the ones that most impressed me, some small posters of some Russian teenagers who spent their childhood in Skrunda-1.
This exploration dates back to 2014. From 2016 it became an almost official tourist attraction and local authorities asked for an entrance ticket. Since 2018, however, the city has been under army control and is used for training and therefore unfortunately it can no longer be visited.