Latvia / Estoinia road trip

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Tbolt

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First of all I'm not going to say sorry for the amount of pics in this report....I simply am without an xbox atm so I need something to do whilst I drink.

Back in 2019, ya know when everything was still good in the world (apart from cows)
Terance Trent D'Arby (some names have been changed to protect the innocent) and myself jumped on plane and headed to Riga.

Riga is one of my favorite cities and I've been here many times so was glad to be back but it was late so a few beers and curry and it was off to bed.
A little known fact about Riga is that it has one the best indian restaurants you find anywhere.
Following day before we picked up the car TTD and myself went for a wander in the local park.

The local park is bloody lovely and has these monuments to the soviet soldiers who died here









This beautiful building is the Cornerhouse, it was the HQ for the KGB in Latvia, it's now a museum and for a few euros you can have a tour of the cells and torture rooms 's built underneath . If you ever get chance to go here I strongly recomend it, it's a terrifying reminder of mans inhumanity to his fellow man and truly moving.







Now we jumped in the car and crossed into Estonia a couple of hours drive away

Parnu

Well Parnu was a real surprise
and not only because it actually stopped raining but also cus the strom clouds and the beach conspired to give us this







In case you wondered that is not a lake....it's the Baltic sea...in October

Rummu quarry

This was once a prison quarry and we waited for someone to turn up, open the gate and take some money off us but nobody did so we jumped over the wall and I'm glad we did cus it was abit poo





Hara Harbour and submarine base


It was supposed to be open ...but inevitably it wasn't so we went in any way

The former Hara submarine base is located in the Lahemaa National Park in Tallinn, Estonia.

Once Hara belonged to the Soviet Union. Soviet bases were specially built in the wilderness far from civilization.
The construction of the submarine base was completed in September 1953 by the Russian military. The existing Laheema National Park is located on the Umina Peninsula in Estonia, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Tallinn.

The base was built as a secret site for the demagnetization of submarines and was given the name Military Unit No. 53083. The Soviet Union kept this place secret and closed to the public.
During the Cold War, many employees worked at this facility, performing the complicated procedure of underwater demagnetization. There were very few bases in the Soviet Union which could carry out this work.
The demagnetization procedure was created to make submarines less susceptible to sea mines. Submarine hulls are magnetically loaded due to the Earth’s magnetic field. The base contained a special installation for demagnetizing boats which would then allow the vessels to seamlessly cross the Baltic Sea.
Base number 53083 worked until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. After the collapse, Estonia became an independent country. The Russian people who worked at the base quickly abandoned it, leaving behind only the concrete foundations. Most of the facility was dismantled, given its secret, military nature.
Since then, the site has been derelict and unusable. The buildings were destroyed, although some can still be entered. A plate outside informs visitors that the base is in a state of disrepair and they should enter at their own risk. So we did.








Viivikonna


This is supposed to be more or less abandoned but it's not really.​

There are a lot more residents than reports suggest

Viivikonna is probably Estonia’s most famous ghost town. Once a mining town of a few thousand people, its population has since dropped to some ninety permanent residents. It’s not really known how many people lived here at its peak, but it is certain that the current residents include a few families of pensioners who have lived here for decades and some stray cats.


Viivikonna was a mining town during Soviet times. After WWII, Soviet Union forced Nazi prisoners of war to work in construction in many parts of Estonia like they did elsewhere as well, and they built most of Viivikonna in the Stalinist style. The town was finished in 1955, but its downfall began soon afterwards in 1974 after the closing of the mine. People moved away in search of jobs and better opportunities.


Viivikonna lost its status as a municipality in 1993 when Estonia regained independence, and at the beginning of the 2000s, its running water and electricity were cut off, scaring away quite a few residents. The ones who stayed behind became creative with finding alternative water and electricity sources and got really into heavy metal for a while. By that I mean many of them stole construction metal from the abandoned buildings to sell as scrap.













Narva

Narva is a rough border town and the only reason we went here cus its basically Russia.
Russian language, food, currency (if you wish)

Cross the bridge and you are in Russia




Ämari Pilots’ Cemetery



Tucked into the scrubby woods near Estonia’s Ämari Air Base is a pilot’s graveyard where Soviet airmen are buried beneath the fins of the very aircraft they likely died in.
The graves in the Ämari cemetery hold the bodies of a number of pilots who flew under Estonia’s Soviet regime that was in power until 1991. While some of the graves are crude and simple affairs the likes of which could be found in just about any historic cemetery, the graves of the many of the military pilots are topped with actual tail fins from Russian aircraft. The effect almost looks as though a squadron of the ships are burrowing through the ground with their fins above the surface like sharks.
The aircraft parts stand in stark contrast to the wild greenery surrounding them. In fact the stark opposition and funereal atmosphere turn the site into a haunting memorial not just to the fighting men buried at the site, but for Estonia’s past as well.







Zeltini Missile Base

Zeltini (also spelt Zeltiņi or Zelteni) Missile Base sits deep in the forest of northeastern Latvia, close to the borders with Russia and Estonia. In fact, as is the norm with these former Soviet military bases, it’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere: the nearest sizeable town is Alūksne, some 25km to the east and Latvia’s capital, Riga, is 190km away in a southwesterly direction.
During the time of the Soviet occupation, the Baltic States (Latvia, along with Lithuania and Estonia) were packed with military installations, but Zeltini was a bit more serious when it came to Cold War shenanigans because it was one of a few in the region that was capable of handling ballistic missiles.
The base itself was established in 1962 and almost immediately went on high alert because not long after it was constructed, the Cuban Missile Crisis (16–28 October 1962) took place and vigilance on all sides hit an all-time high. At the height of the Cold War, over 300 military personnel lived on the compound, which was surrounded by barbed wire and an electrified fence. Within the confines of the base, and the reason for its existence, there was at least four, some sources say up to eight, nuclear missiles concealed in underground silos, primed and ready for launch at the push of a button, or maybe two buttons.

I have read that this masshoosive base that housed Nukes and hundreds of soldiers was only discovered after the soviets left in around 91 by a local walking his dog and until that point nobody knew it existed.





















One last look at riga from the taxi window and it was all over




Hope you enjoyed our little road trip of over 1000km, I know I did despite the bloody rain.

Thanks for looking.

Few more pics here if you are interested
 
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Ruggedscot

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Worked over at Riga airport back in 93, interesting place and loads of history. The old town is worth a visit. lots of abandoned buildings and ex soviet equipment back then laying about... Ill need to look out the old photos of some of the places and upload them, of abandoned equipment etc.
 

Tbolt

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Worked over at Riga airport back in 93, interesting place and loads of history. The old town is worth a visit. lots of abandoned buildings and ex soviet equipment back then laying about... Ill need to look out the old photos of some of the places and upload them, of abandoned equipment etc.
Yes mate do that.
Riga old town is just fantastic and it has a Depeche Mode bar...... What more could a chap want?
 

mctownsend

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Just a funny, whimsical observation: Look at the last but one photo - looks like a miniature Snoopy with an oversized dog collar! :)
 

Kilted Mac

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First of all I'm not going to say sorry for the amount of pics in this report....I simply am without an xbox atm so I need something to do whilst I drink.

Back in 2019, ya know when everything was still good in the world (apart from cows)
Terance Trent D'Arby (some names have been changed to protect the innocent) and myself jumped on plane and headed to Riga.

Riga is one of my favorite cities and I've been here many times so was glad to be back but it was late so a few beers and curry and it was off to bed.
A little known fact about Riga is that it has one the best indian restaurants you find anywhere.
Following day before we picked up the car TTD and myself went for a wander in the local park.

The local park is bloody lovely and has these monuments to the soviet soldiers who died here









This beautiful building is the Cornerhouse, it was the HQ for the KGB in Latvia, it's now a museum and for a few euros you can have a tour of the cells and torture rooms 's built underneath . If you ever get chance to go here I strongly recomend it, it's a terrifying reminder of mans inhumanity to his fellow man and truly moving.







Now we jumped in the car and crossed into Estonia a couple of hours drive away

Parnu

Well Parnu was a real surprise
and not only because it actually stopped raining but also cus the strom clouds and the beach conspired to give us this







In case you wondered that is not a lake....it's the Baltic sea...in October

Rummu quarry

This was once a prison quarry and we waited for someone to turn up, open the gate and take some money off us but nobody did so we jumped over the wall and I'm glad we did cus it was abit poo





Hara Harbour and submarine base


It was supposed to be open ...but inevitably it wasn't so we went in any way

The former Hara submarine base is located in the Lahemaa National Park in Tallinn, Estonia.

Once Hara belonged to the Soviet Union. Soviet bases were specially built in the wilderness far from civilization.
The construction of the submarine base was completed in September 1953 by the Russian military. The existing Laheema National Park is located on the Umina Peninsula in Estonia, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Tallinn.

The base was built as a secret site for the demagnetization of submarines and was given the name Military Unit No. 53083. The Soviet Union kept this place secret and closed to the public.
During the Cold War, many employees worked at this facility, performing the complicated procedure of underwater demagnetization. There were very few bases in the Soviet Union which could carry out this work.
The demagnetization procedure was created to make submarines less susceptible to sea mines. Submarine hulls are magnetically loaded due to the Earth’s magnetic field. The base contained a special installation for demagnetizing boats which would then allow the vessels to seamlessly cross the Baltic Sea.
Base number 53083 worked until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. After the collapse, Estonia became an independent country. The Russian people who worked at the base quickly abandoned it, leaving behind only the concrete foundations. Most of the facility was dismantled, given its secret, military nature.
Since then, the site has been derelict and unusable. The buildings were destroyed, although some can still be entered. A plate outside informs visitors that the base is in a state of disrepair and they should enter at their own risk. So we did.








Viivikonna


This is supposed to be more or less abandoned but it's not really.​

There are a lot more residents than reports suggest

Viivikonna is probably Estonia’s most famous ghost town. Once a mining town of a few thousand people, its population has since dropped to some ninety permanent residents. It’s not really known how many people lived here at its peak, but it is certain that the current residents include a few families of pensioners who have lived here for decades and some stray cats.


Viivikonna was a mining town during Soviet times. After WWII, Soviet Union forced Nazi prisoners of war to work in construction in many parts of Estonia like they did elsewhere as well, and they built most of Viivikonna in the Stalinist style. The town was finished in 1955, but its downfall began soon afterwards in 1974 after the closing of the mine. People moved away in search of jobs and better opportunities.


Viivikonna lost its status as a municipality in 1993 when Estonia regained independence, and at the beginning of the 2000s, its running water and electricity were cut off, scaring away quite a few residents. The ones who stayed behind became creative with finding alternative water and electricity sources and got really into heavy metal for a while. By that I mean many of them stole construction metal from the abandoned buildings to sell as scrap.













Narva

Narva is a rough border town and the only reason we went here cus its basically Russia.
Russian language, food, currency (if you wish)

Cross the bridge and you are in Russia




Ämari Pilots’ Cemetery



Tucked into the scrubby woods near Estonia’s Ämari Air Base is a pilot’s graveyard where Soviet airmen are buried beneath the fins of the very aircraft they likely died in.
The graves in the Ämari cemetery hold the bodies of a number of pilots who flew under Estonia’s Soviet regime that was in power until 1991. While some of the graves are crude and simple affairs the likes of which could be found in just about any historic cemetery, the graves of the many of the military pilots are topped with actual tail fins from Russian aircraft. The effect almost looks as though a squadron of the ships are burrowing through the ground with their fins above the surface like sharks.
The aircraft parts stand in stark contrast to the wild greenery surrounding them. In fact the stark opposition and funereal atmosphere turn the site into a haunting memorial not just to the fighting men buried at the site, but for Estonia’s past as well.







Zeltini Missile Base

Zeltini (also spelt Zeltiņi or Zelteni) Missile Base sits deep in the forest of northeastern Latvia, close to the borders with Russia and Estonia. In fact, as is the norm with these former Soviet military bases, it’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere: the nearest sizeable town is Alūksne, some 25km to the east and Latvia’s capital, Riga, is 190km away in a southwesterly direction.
During the time of the Soviet occupation, the Baltic States (Latvia, along with Lithuania and Estonia) were packed with military installations, but Zeltini was a bit more serious when it came to Cold War shenanigans because it was one of a few in the region that was capable of handling ballistic missiles.
The base itself was established in 1962 and almost immediately went on high alert because not long after it was constructed, the Cuban Missile Crisis (16–28 October 1962) took place and vigilance on all sides hit an all-time high. At the height of the Cold War, over 300 military personnel lived on the compound, which was surrounded by barbed wire and an electrified fence. Within the confines of the base, and the reason for its existence, there was at least four, some sources say up to eight, nuclear missiles concealed in underground silos, primed and ready for launch at the push of a button, or maybe two buttons.

I have read that this masshoosive base that housed Nukes and hundreds of soldiers was only discovered after the soviets left in around 91 by a local walking his dog and until that point nobody knew it existed.





















One last look at riga from the taxi window and it was all over




Hope you enjoyed our little road trip of over 1000km, I know I did despite the bloody rain.

Thanks for looking.

Few more pics here if you are interested
Some amazing and moody pictures there Mr T. I would say some of your very many best. Pity it pissed down but it did help with the mood and lighting shots. Hopefully when things eventually settle down such trips will be available once again, fingers crossed for all that.
 

Tbolt

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Some amazing and moody pictures there Mr T. I would say some of your very many best. Pity it pissed down but it did help with the mood and lighting shots. Hopefully when things eventually settle down such trips will be available once again, fingers crossed for all that.
Cheers KM. It was a good trip even with the weather tbh, hopefully I'm back in Chernobyl in sept fingers crossed.
 

Kilted Mac

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Phwaaar....Chenobyl...... remember to keep the nuts well covered.....! Should be good for some nice Autumn leaves and vegetation pictures then too. I will look forward to seeing them. Hope you manage to make the trip.
 

Tbolt

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Great collection!
Love the church tower in the cobbles...
Cheers, its one of my fave pics that one, taken on my phone of St Peters Church, Riga old town..... Ruined 15 seconds after I took the shot by a BMW.
 
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