Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union’

The earliest guess for the beginnings of the catacombs in the Ukraine is about the 1600’s. It could be earlier than that but it’s hard to date back as they were also widened later on. They became the giant labyrinth of today when in the early 1800’s the limestone was used from them to build much of the city.

The myriad of tunnels led to it being popular for hideouts, rebels and criminals could use them and during WWII they Soviets were forced out, but were able to leave Soviet-organised Ukranian’s hidden down there. They were able to listen in to the Nazi forces above and set up a situation where they managed to blow up German facilities. It wasn’t all good news as malaria and malnutrition affected those men and women.

The Facist German and Romanians chose random exits, sealing them off and and dropping poisonous gasses down them. When the war was over the criminals claimed the tunnels and created new ones of their own. In 1961 a group was formed, they wanted to map and document the geography and history of the place.

It is common for groups of explorers to go into the area, occasionally people do go missing and if they are in the area the explorers will rally to help. A number of children have been rescued this way but sadly it hasn’t always turned out positive. Old weapon caches and grenades are sometimes found, every five years or so a body is found and on rare occasions they have been naturally mummified there too. Many are old bodies but sometimes more recent accidents have turned up a corpse as well.

A sad example of this occurred 15th January 2005, the local teens were partying in the tunnels. A girl called Masha was separated and lost during the drunken celebrations. For 3 days she walked around in the pitch black and freezing conditions, where she then expired due to dehydration. It was two years later the police located her body and could retrieve it.

There is an official area that can be visited and perhaps given the warnings of lost people and random body finds, I’d recommend going there before being too bold.

Odessa kat 01.jpg
By Полищук Денис Анатольевич – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link



It is a site 12km north of the city of Šiauliai in Lithuania, it is a site of pilgrimage and the exact time at which the practise of leaving crosses began is unknown. The practise most likely came from around the two uprisings of the Polish and Lithuanian people against the Russian authorities. The Russian Empire took control in 1795, two uprisings from 1831 and 1863 left many perished rebels with their bodies unclaimed and never returned to their family. The crosses are symbols of the fallen and represent the endurance of the Lithuanian Catholocism.

During 1944 – 1990 people continued to travel up the hill, displaying an allegiance to their original identity. It was a venue of resistance and the occupied Soviet Union tried to remove crosses and even bulldozed it three times.

7th September 1993, Pope John Paul II visited, he declared it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice. As the hill remains under nobody’s jurisdiction people remain free to build crosses as they see fit.



Kryžių kalnas (Góra Krzyży)” by Pudelek (Marcin Szala) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This is a city in the area, which is part of the Exclusion Zone. It was the administrative centre of Chernobyl Raion since 1932. I’m going to go over the details only briefly but it’s certainly one for the pages as it’s another abandoned place of interest.

In 1986 the city was evacuated due to a disaster at it’s Nuclear Power Plant 14.5km to it’s north-northwest. The cuty was not the residence of the of the power plant workers but nearby Pryptiat was built for them. After the accident the Chernobyl Raion administration was moved to nearby Ivankiv Raion.

The city is mostly inhabited, but a small number of people reside there with homes that state “Owner of this house lives here”. Workers on watch and administrations personnel are the only things close to long term residents outside of that. The city housed 14000 residents before the evacuation; nearly Skavutych was the specifically built area for
those evacuated.

First mentioned in 1193 Chernobyl has lain in the hands of Lithuania (13th Century), Polen (1569) The Russian Empire (1793) and has had a long history of border changes  mostly due to the political climate of its geography. Since the 1880’s it has seen many changed and in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union it remained part of the
Ukraine, now an independent nation. As of 2012 a small number of people remain in the area refusing to leave their native city.

April 26th 1986 Reactor #4 exploded, it happened at 1.23am and nearby  residents in Pripyat were asleep. Two workers were instantly killed and 40 hours later the residents of Pripyat were told to evacuate. Many never returned, many of the residents had already suffered varying degrees of radiation poisoning.

(CRDP) Chernobyl Recovery and Development Project was launched in 2003 by the United Nations Development Program. The program was based on the report initiated in Feb 2002. CRDP work s in the four most affected areas.

Photo’s Link here