©Andrius Aleksandravičius

Bunkers, bases, and other secret military objects

Lithuania is still rife with Cold War relics – shelters, bunkers, missile silos, and the like – attesting to the USSR’s headlong rush into an arms race with the US. Many of them have been restored and made public, while others remain hidden in forests and the urban underground. These once-classified locations are best explored by way of guided tours – air-raid siren blaring and gas mask firmly in place – allowing visitors to shut themselves inside a bunker, and even press the “nuclear button”.

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Cold War exhibition at a missile base

Šilinės st. 4, Plokščiai, Plungė district

The heavily wooded area of the Žemaitija National Park contains an extant Soviet thermonuclear missile base. Commissioned and built in secrecy during the 1960s, it was the first missile facility of its type in the USSR, and remained the only one...


in Lithuania. During the Cold War, the missiles stored in its silos were aimed at the major cities of Western Europe. The base had its own electric power and radio stations, control panel, technical unit, and even a nearby military town. Stationed troops finally left the base in 1978. The base, home to a fascinating Cold War exhibition, is now open to visitors.

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Vilnius “Automatika” bunker

Panerių st. 45C-52, Vilnius

During the Cold War, over 300 “civil defense shelters'' (bunkers) were built in the Lithuanian capital to safeguard it against radiological, chemical, and biological attacks, aerial bombardment, and other hazards. After the USSR’s implosion, most of the city’s...


bomb shelters were sold, retrofitted, demolished, or allowed to fall into ruin. One such bunker, however – then-property of the Lietuvos Automatika company in Naujamiestis District – has remained intact, encapsulating the authentic, intriguing atmosphere of a bygone era. Made of reinforced concrete and isolated from the outside, the bunker has an air filtration system, food preparation and medical facilities, and even a library – all of which can be explored by way of an escorted group or self-guided audio tour.

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The Nuclear Bunker Museum

Raudondvario rd. 164A, Kaunas

In Cold War years, the Soviets dug bunkers for the employees of nearly all major plants and factories. The bunker-hideout located near Lithuania’s second largest city Kaunas was built 6 m under the Aidas factory that produced strollers and other...


products. In case of danger, the 400 m² room could fit around 500 people. Today it is known as the Nuclear Bunker – a private civil defense and KGB equipment museum. Here visitors can inspect surveillance and spying equipment of the KGB and NKVD, and the largest gas mask collection in Europe, including such curiosities as children’s and even horse masks.

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An illicit, underground printing house

Spaustuvės st. 2, Domeikava, Kaunas district

During the Cold War, people had more reasons to dig bunkers under their homes than protection against nuclear threats. In 1979, Vytautas Andziulis and Juozas Bacevičius used an underground facility under a residential building to set up a secret hideout...


for the illicit printing of patriotic and religious materials. The well-concealed printing house – dubbed AB after the initials of their last names – worked for 10 years and was never discovered. Entering via a secret greenhouse trap door, visitors can inspect the extant printing equipment, copies of anti-Soviet agitprop, and underground publications.

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The Kopūstėliai Missile Base

Kopūstėliai village, Ukmergė district

Already in 1958-1988, the central area of Ukmergė’s forests was surrounded by a 2 m barbed wire fence and mine field, and surveilled from the air 24/7. This was the location of the Kopūstėliai Missile Base No. 32158, stocked with the Soviet army’s most powerful 8K63...


missiles. With a range of over 3,000 km, these were aimed at Germany, the UK, Norway, and other countries. Tours around the former base – allowing visitors to inspect such overgrown Cold War relics as bomb shelters, military hangars, missile launch pads, barracks, and more – are offered by the Miško Broliai (Forest Brothers) Club. Unaccompanied access to the area is prohibited.

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Entertainment inside a bunker Idėjų Parkas bunkeris

Vabalninko st. 73, Likpetriai village, Panevėžys district

In 1969, the Soviets built a backup military communications base in Žalioji Giria (Green Woods), located in northern Lithuania, which had a command centre, a canteen, and an underground bunker. This is one of only three such Cold War-era military...


bases in the Baltics. Set up 2 m underground, the 700 m² bunker is currently home to several “haunted houses”, military equipment and military-grade dosimeters, as well as a topside lookout tower and metal sculpture park.

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A Survival Drama inside a Soviet Bunker

Naujasodė village, Vilnius district

“25 km from Vilnius and 5 m underground – and you’re in the USSR. After receiving your Soviet citizenship and gaining admission to the play “1984: A Survival Drama inside a Soviet Bunker”, you’ll be transported back in time for a full three hours” – that’s how visitors...


wishing to experience the Cold War era are currently greeted at the secret, thick-walled bunker, commissioned back in 1983. Two years later, Kūrybos Namai (House of Creation) – originally intended as a backup, nuclear attack-proof TV station – was already making pilot radio and television broadcasts.

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Tours of authentic military bases

Around the country

*A communications battalion (help yourself to some cartridge case and bullet mementoes!); a nuclear missile base, a deserted military town, an underground nuclear warhead assembly combine – explore all of the above top-secret objects with Praeities Žvalgas. During...


the day-long tour alongside the traveller and military heritage expert Šarūnas Jasiukevičius, visitors will also receive a complimentary food ration from the Lithuanian Armed Forces reserves.

*The tour operator YouthLeisure.net proudly proclaims that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. A bit of bravery is an absolute must for those wishing to explore secret, authentic, unrenovated Soviet military objects in Lithuania – be that a missile base or a deserted aerodrome. If you prefer to discover these Cold War relics (or what’s left of them) on your own – why not use the YouthLeisure.net’s own app TripSolo!