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Secret Nuclear Bunker, Ligatne

ADDRESS

The bunker is constructed under the “Ligatne” Rehabilitation Centre. Address: The Rehabilitation Centre and the bunker are located in the village of Skaļupes, approximately 2 km east of Ligatne.

OPENING HOURS AND GUIDED TOURS

The Rehabilitation Centre organizes visits to the bunker as guided tours only. Contact the Rehabilitation Centre for visiting times (00371 64161915 or 00371 26467747. Mail: hotel@rehcentrs.apollo.lv). Tours can be arranged in English, Russian or German. Tour duration is 1-1.5 hours. It is possible to order a Soviet style meal in the bunker canteen in advance.

Plan of the bunker with 90 rooms connected with long corridors. A visit can only be arranged with guides.

The entrance to the Rehabilitation Centre, under which the secret nuclear bunker is constructed. The centre arranges visits to the bunker.

Two helicopter landing sites outside the building are “camouflaged” as swimming pools and one separate landing site is made as a basketball field.

Left: A statue of Lenin in the central meeting room. Left: the flag of the Soviet Union. Right: the sub-national flag of the Soviet Latvian Republic.

A radio studio.

It is possible to order a typical Soviet meal in the canteen (must be booked in advance).

There were upgraded level offices for the three highest commanders in the bunker. Each had a desk with 2 phones to the other commanders, contact to listening devices in other rooms, an ordinary phone and a direct line to the Kremlin in Moscow. The KGB also had three special rooms in the building with a direct line to Moscow from where all instructions were expected. In the communications room, the philosophy is written in Russian on the wall: “Without communication there is no order. Without order there is no victory”. Which should be understood as: “Without communication with Moscow there are no orders from Moscow. Without orders from Moscow no orders will be delivered from the centre to the key Latvian administrative units and all main towns”.

THE TOP-SECRET “PENSION”

75 kilometers east of Riga, a huge nuclear bunker was built under the “Ligatne” Rehabilitation Centre. The bunker was the shelter and command centre for the Latvian communist political and administrative leadership in the event of chemical or nuclear war. 250 people could survive in isolation in the bunker for 3 months. The nickname of the top-secret bunker among the communist nomenclature of the Soviet period was the “Pansionat” (Pension house).

THE ORIGINAL INTERIOR AND EQUIPMENT ARE PRESERVED

The bunker was planned in 1968 by the Latvian Central Soviet Committee but first became operational in 1982. The bunker is 2,000 sq. m. in size and is built 9 meters underground, of which 5 meters are made of steel and concrete plates and gamma ray protection from lead plate.

Nearly all necessary survival and communication equipment is preserved, such as:

  • Advanced equipment to communicate with all important sites in Latvia, and especially the Kremlin in Moscow, from where instructions were expected.
  • All necessary technical installations: its own electricity station, oxygen and air conditioning and purification systems, water supply and sewage equipment as well as fuel (diesel) reservoirs and bored artesian well, taking water from 150 meters deep.
  • All kinds of Soviet furniture, interiors, symbols and memorials.
  • Materials such as unique maps, communist books, vinyl plates with speeches of Soviet leaders etc.

PLANNING GAPS

Although the bunker seems to be well constructed, there are several planning gaps. What was to be done with dead bodies? There was no refrigeration or way of burying or destroying the bodies? And the “roof” would have had to be at least 15 meters thick to withstand a nearby nuclear blast. A neighboring missile base to hinder such an attack was never built.