Bunker-42 was once a top-secret, Soviet military complex. Stalin had commissioned it to be made after the United States created a nuclear bomb. 65 meters (or about 213 feet) underground, was the desired depth to protect Russia’s top officials from a nuclear attack.
It became operational in 1954. Fortunately, it was never needed for its true purpose and was instead used as the command center of strategic bombers for nearly 30 years in Moscow. Now, it is a museum dedicated to the Cold War. It is a truly unique experience!
Going Inside Bunker-42
Yep! That means you can actually go inside a top-secret, Soviet military bunker when you’re in Moscow. The photo above is the only indication of the bunker, it’s otherwise set under a very ordinary looking building, that gives no hints to what’s below.
Tour of Bunker-42
Call ahead to book your tour (the number is: +7 499 703-44-55), there are several English tours throughout the day. (And yes, the only way you are getting inside is with a tour.) We went to the 6:30 pm tour as it was slightly cheaper, and it was a smaller tour as well.
You will have to wait until exactly 15 minutes before your tour to be admitted inside, then you can pay for your tickets and use the restroom before descending 65 meters underground.
You guide will also be dressed in a Soviet KGB uniform. Our guide was wonderful! (Pictured above.) And really did a great job of explaining the signficance of this bunker as well as the Cold War.
There is an elevator, but you are encouraged to walk down the 18 flights of stairs to really get the experience. (Wear comfortable shoes!) Don’t worry…you can take the elevator back up!
And if you’re not up on your Cold War history, don’t worry! There’s a 20 minute video you’ll watch to get you up to speed.
A Nuclear Attack Simulation
You’re then lead into a room depicting the weaponry Russia had….oh, and then you get to take part in a simulated nuclear attack on the United States. No joke. Our guide did a wonderful job of depicting the seriousness of such an event and how horrifying it would be. (There’s also a disclaimer that given our current political affairs, this in no way meant as a slight to the US and is simply a simulation.)
After that eery event, you’ll see tunnels leading to the metro station, Taganskaya. (In my last travel post, it’s the pretty subway station with light blue and gold panels depicting World War II Red Army and Navy servicemen.) You can actually hear the metro as it runs above you…it’s rather eery too.
You’ll end your tour with a stop in a room that has tons of Cold War memorabilia (no photos allowed). Your guide will also answer any questions you have…and also explain how you can host a paintball or airsoft gun party in the bunker. How crazy is that? (My husband used to be a professional paintballer, so needless to say, we might have to come back to check out the paintball activities.)
*At some point in your tour, you’ll also experience a simulated air raid attack. It’s also very eery and surprising. I won’t ruin it, though, by telling you when it’s going to happen…
Oh yes, there’s also a restaurant inside Bunker-42. You’ll have the option to check it out after your tour. We just stayed for a drink, so I can’t attest to the food. It was not busy at all when were there at 7:30 on a Saturday night. It did start filling up after 8 pm, though. If you’re planning to eat there, many people suggest making a reservation. I do suggest at least going for a drink, though! It’s a unique setting.
I highly recommend coming to Bunker-42 on your trip to Moscow. We will be returning if any family or friends come to visit us here! And I’m curious, had you heard of Bunker-42 before this post? And would you be interested in experiencing it? Let me know in the comments!
*Click here for the Bunker-42 website.