16 Irbene, A Secret Object Of The Soviet Past

Irbene, A Secret Object Of The Soviet Past

When you happen to find yourself in Riga and would like to feel really scared, don’t forget to visit Irbene.

Irbene is an abandoned town that used to be a military center with a developed infrastructure. The station of space surveillance Zvezdochka has not been there on the maps till 1993. The place was robbed and deprived of many things but visitors can still imagine what happened here 20 years ago.

The houses were occupied by officers and their families.

A post office was located at a similar building nearby.

The town used to have a school.

While walking inside the school, it is difficult to imagine than children were taught here 30 years ago.

These were barracks for soldiers.

Irbene had a medical post.

A kindergarten was available as well.

Every Soviet military town like this had a culture house where people spent their free time.

The barracks were surrounded by an apple garden and this is what has been left instead of it.

Irbene was built for the purpose of space surveillance and military men worked with 3 radar telescopes dislocated here. The same devices were also based in the Crimea and Ussuriisk.

There is an opinion that one of the telescopes was used to bug phone conversations of the State Department of the USA and submarine centers of Norway.

When Russian troops were to leave Latvia in 1994 they got an order to prepare the object for its transfer to another state. Soldiers spent several days on destroying the object, so that it was very difficult for Latvian scientists to restore it.

Today the telescope is controlled with the help of modern computers. However, the control is carried out partially as scientists failed to perform complete restoration.

With the help of the lifting screws the building could be elevated for 8 cm and acquire a vertical position.

Radar telescopes accepted signals while radiolocators both accepted and sent them. As signals are not transferred there is no radiation here. Today Latvia uses the telescope to examine the Sun, space garbage and to entertain tourists.

This is a technical center where people used to decipher signals transferred by the telescopes. It is said some of employees could speak 8 languages.

And some articles of the past: ‘Strategic objects of Russia are becoming open to public’

‘Object of the Russian Federation’. The telescope is one of the most interesting places in Latvia to visit. If in Moscow land is purchased very fast and at high cost, here the entire town has gone into oblivion. It is better to visit the place in summer as ice makes it unsafe to climb the object in winter.

Location: Irbene

via mikeseryakov

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16 Responses to “Irbene, A Secret Object Of The Soviet Past”

  1. 山下智久 says:

    i saw a Volkswagen Golf6 in the picture!

  2. Bastiaan says:

    Ah i’ve just been to Riga but i didn’t knew about this place :(

  3. Unknown says:

    No s**t. A Volkswagen ad.

    A great article thought.

  4. Mariel says:

    Why there are lot of abandoned places in Russia?

    • yagur says:

      Yes, why?
      And in USA too???

    • Reagan says:

      Soviet was a military state that gained its power from creating fear and intimidating others.
      Since they lost the cold war Russia has become a democracy and no longer needs (or has the power) to create fear in others.

    • OLUT says:

      This is in Latvia, not Russia.

      But to answer that question, when the SU fell, funding for many places was gone. Many towns were built around one thing, so when that one thing was no longer funded, people had to leave to find work.

  5. zx10R says:

    Irbene is not in Riga. More of that it’s 205km away. Not sure what author was trying to say with that as I see that he is local (by registration plate), but it’s facing Baltic sea near city Ventpils.
    This really is amazing place for those who dreams visiting Chernobyl.

  6. Osip says:

    When the dish is pointing up, where does the rainwater go?

  7. (r)evolutionist says:

    The Soviet Union was a leader in science and technology. Pity it was dumped for “bread and circuses” capitalism.

  8. USSR says:

    This space survailance station was one in the chain of several other similar stations monitoring military,government and civil satellite
    communications lines.Others were located near Moscow, Odessa, Lviv, Shkotovo and one even in Cuba.Sometimes it was funny to listen to international phone conversations taking place 1000s of km away…I wonder what happened to the station Lipovka near Lviv where I served from 1983-1985.The code name for big dish was “Deymos” by the way. In one of pics you can see in the distance the other dish code maned “Fobos”.

  9. You.Say.Such says:


  10. Pantokrator says:

    I am always amazed at the ease of access to so many abandoned locations in the former USSR. In the US we have so many lawyers, that most abandoned properties are illegal to enter or else you may get arrested (or sue someone if you get injured). I think it is so cool to see all of these facilities on this website. Are they all legal to enter?

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