Balaklava submarine pens tour. Experience of the Cold War.

Balaklava submarine pens.

Naval museum complex - the Museum of the Cold War.

Balaklava -one of the most interesting places in the Crimea (Ukraine) is situated about 15km to the south east from Sevastopol, on the Black Sea Coast.

This Beautiful and interesting little town is probably most famous for the Crimean War of 1854-1855, but now is evermore reminding a small seaside village in the south of France in its style with it's paved seafront boulevard and yachts moored in the harbor. This legendary town is more than 2500 years old and was in the past a "sub-colony" of Chersonesos. The 14th century fortress Jimbala ruins are seen over Balaklava.

Balaklava is unique  place because: 

    • It was the First Russian Black sea fleet base in the Crimea during the Russian-Turkish war of 1768 -1774 years.
    • The First steam railway in the Crimea was built by the British at Balaklava during the siege of Sevastopol of 1854-1855. The length of the road was almost 13km (8miles). It was laid with in two months. After the end of the War it was disassembled and sold to the Turks.
    • The world's First war photographs (360 pcs.) were made in Balaklava by the British Queen's court photographer, Roger Fenton and British Army photographer James Robertson.
    • The world's First nurse Florence Nightingale was in Balaklava on several occasions (in April 1855. June 1856).
    • The First underwater search works were carried out in Balaklava by Soviet EPRON expedition which had been established in 1923.
    • The First Sea Diving School in the former Soviet Union was also established in Balaklava in 1931.
    • The world's First interurban tram line, connecting Balaklava with Sevastopol, was laid in 1926. (destroyed during the Second World War, not restored).
    • The First wind power station in the former USSR was built in Balaklava on Karansky Heights in 1931. (at that time it was the biggest one in Europe).
    • And…finally, the First and the only one in the world underground plant submarine pens known in the Soviet Union as the “Object number 825 GTS” was built in Balaklava.

More information about submarines pens.

In the period after the Second World War, when the Cold War began, two super states - the USSR and the U.S.A. were building up their nuclear arsenal, to be protected in case of the nuclear war. Narrow, winding and only 200-400 m. width - the harbor is surrounded by cliffs. It is naturally protected not only from the storms, but also from strange eyes. The harbor is not seen from the open sea from any place-angle. Therefore this convenient and well-established during the Great Patriotic War, Balaklava bay was decided to become a secret base the Soviet Union submarines of the Black Sea Fleet.


Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Balaklava was one of the most secret towns in the USSR. It was even not printed on Soviet maps.

This top-secret project was assigned to the Leningrad Institute "Granit". The task was performed brilliantly, so that even it had the approval of Joseph Stalin himself. The underground complex was built within 4 years - from 1957 to 1961. During the construction works about 120 tons of the rock was removed. To ensure the secrecy the removal was made at night on the barge in the open sea.  The core of the complex was 608m long tunnel. 

In addition to its technical function, this underground plant was to be a well protected bomb shelter for submarines, and for 1,5 thousand people of the staff, together with the villagers. Specially designed walls in some places are 3 meters thick. They could resist nuclear bomb with the power up to 100 kiloton.

The gate to the underground corridor were made of expensive aluminum-titanium alloy. Each of them weighed 10 tons.


The base remained operational even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 until 1993 when the decommissioning process started and the warheads and low yield torpedoes’ were removed. Then in 1996 the last Russian Submarine left the Base. Since June 1, 2003 it has become the museum. 


 Come and experience this unforgettable place.

It gives you the real atmosphere of the Cold War period.