Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Naval Museum, Balaclava, Ukraine

This model of a nuclear submarine is inside the Naval Museum, where its full-scale counterparts used to be housed in Soviet times. You can walk around inside the formerly super-secret facility, being careful not to slip into the cold, dark submarine bays.
This is a delightfully creepy reminder of the Cold War, and a great place to visit on a hot day because it is so cool and damp inside. The facility was so secret in the Soviet era that even the name Balaclava disappeared from maps, and there used to be checkpoints on all the roads near Balaclava and Sebastopol. Even most Soviet citizens were not allowed in.
Admission to the Museum is reasonable, around $2 or so, and well worth it. For a full description of the history of this place, consult the article on the Bootsnall.com Website.
Of course, Balaclava is better-known in the English-speaking world because it was the site of the Charge or the Light Brigade, an episode of the Crimean War memorialised by Tennyson, and because its name was given to the kind of knitted headcovering favoured by bank robbers and terrorists.
Today unfortunately there is no marker of the field where the Charge of the Light Brigade occurred, it is just an open field on a road outside Balaclava.


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