One of the most interesting places I visited recently was in Balaklava in the Ukraine, which is situated 10km south east of 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 becoming reminiscent of a small seaside village in the south of France in its style with it’s paved seafront boulevard and yachts moored in the harbour.
But until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, was one of the most secret towns in the Russia, closed off from the outside world Balaklava was home to a Nuclear Submarine Base like no other. Straight out of a James Bond Movie, the Base was one kilometre inside the surrounding hillside, through a cannel system running from a Sea opening to the harbour on the other side. Inside was an underground nuclear base complete with dry dock and room inside for up to 10 Nuclear Submarines, nuclear & conversional weapons and staff. It is clamed that the base could take a direct hit from a nuclear weapon and still remain operational with its large two stage blast doors.
Almost the entire population of Balaklava at the time worked at the Base, even family members could not visit the town of Balaklava without good reason and identification. The base remained operational 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, and now you can go on Guided tours round the Cannel System, Base and small Museum, which is now housed in the old weapons stowage hangers deep inside the hillside. Further information on the Submarine Base with photos and guides are available on the Travel Ukraine [http://www.agencyoneinternational.com] site.