This post is about one of the most grandiose structures of the Cold war built in the middle of the XXth century – the underground complex for submarines repair in Balaklava, Ukraine. It consists of of the repair base itself and a central base for nuclear weapons storage. For more than forty years the complex had been ready for self-sufficient existance and could accomodate all the population of Balaklava. However when Ukraine separated from the USSR they gave up on the complex, it became simply unneeded. In the period from 1993 to 2003 it was being plundered, its stuctures – dismantled. In 2004 a part of complex turned into a museum but nobody had restored it for that.
Museum visitors can see a zone around the channel which goes through the mountain, some shops and the armoury where torpedoes and nuclear warheads were kept. Out of the exposition are the bigger part of the channel, mine and torpedo part, generating station with a fuel storage unit and a system of unfinished adits.
The nature itself made quiet Balaklava an ideal place to hide the war fleet. The narrow curved strait only 200-400 m wide protects the harbor not only from storms but from prying eyes – from the open sea side it is not visible from any angle. Its depth up to 17 m allows submarines to enter the harbor submerged to the very shelter.
Balaklava was used as an ideal harbor in ancient times as well – by Romans and Tauris, in the Middle Ages – by Genoese, Ottomans and Cossacks. Today it is a popular Ukrainian resort – it is often visited by presidents of Russia and Ukraine, besides, Balaklava often meets foreign ships.
Mountain Tavros, which has a secret object inside, is composed of solid marble-like limestone, the thickness of the rock over the underground premises reaches 126 meters. So the structure has the first anti-nuclear category.
The underground complex with total square of 15 000 m2 was approved in 1947 by Stalin himself. In 1953 its main part started to be built – hydraulic structure 825.
They were working 24/7 applying a drill and fire method.
Hydraulic structure 825 was finished in 1961. It could protect small nine submarines from a nuclear attack or seven submarines of an average class, their crews and the population of Balaklava.
In case of a nuclear conflict the plant could accomodate all working, managing staff and crews and provide them with food, drinking water for more than thirty days. Those who worked at the underground plant were provided with a canteen, shower rooms, recreation rooms.
Behind this wall is a storage area.
Here they assembled torpedoes.
In 1963 they finished Object 820 “Arsenal” – the underground repair base for storage, assembly and mounting of nuclear ammos on submarines.
The complex in relation to the highest peak of the mountain was 126 meters deep. It could withstand a direct hit of a nuclear charge with power up to 100 kilotons, that is 5-7 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.