1-ho Travnya St, 2-A, Korosten, Zhytomyr Oblast 11500.
All year Wed-Sun 10-13, 14-17.
Adults UAH 10.
Guided Tour: Adults UAH 20.
|World War II Bunker Secret Bunker
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|Museum "Rock" Korosten, 1-ho Travnya St, 2-A, Korosten, Zhytomyr Oblast 11500, Tel: +380-4142-4-20-61, Fax: +380-4142-4-10-48. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|begin of construction.
|a detachment of 200 Red Army soldiers defends the bunker against the Nazis for a week.
|military base of the Red Army.
|transferred to the civil defense system.
|begin of development as a museum.
|closed for repairs due to a bomb hit.
Музей “Скеля” Коростень (Museum "Rock" Korosten) is the name of a military museum located in the village Korosten. The main sight is a Soviet World War II bunker which was built into the granite hill and is thus named Скеля (Skelya, Rock). The bunker was built during the Stalin era, hence it is sometimes called бункер Сталіна (Stalin's bunker). This was one of the most secret complexes of this time, the documents about the site in Moscow archives are still under the label Цілком секретно (Top Secret). Those documents are 80 years old and still the Russian government refuses to hand over the documents, despite repeated appeals by the Korosten city officials. We named the category for Cold War bunkers Secret Bunkers, because there was so much secrecy, but this is actually a new level of secrecy.
On the other side, the site itself is now in Ukraine, which is an independent country, at least as long as Russia does not win the current war . The bunker was opened as a museum and the bunker itself, its infrastructure and machinery, and an exhibition of equipment from the same era are open for tourists. The bunker has a main tunnel which is 156 m long with several turns and twists. There are more than 30 rooms on both sides of this tunnel. The bunker is 40 m below the surface, covered by 2 m of concrete, 18 m of granite and 20 m of soil. As a result the bunker is able to withstand the direct hit of an atomic bomb. The museum is the middle of three levels, the others are not accessible, and probably the content of the sublevel makes Russian secrecy so important. As the other two levels are not accessible, there might be even a fourth
Korosten is today about 70 km south of the border to Belarus, and 320 km east of the border to Poland. But before World War II it was only 60 kilometers from Poland, because this western corner of Ukraine belonged to Poland at that time. And like all others, the Soviets built border fortifications, which were dubbed Лінії Сталіна (Stalin Line). The Korosten fortified district No. 5 defended 182 km of border and had 456 strongholds. The head of the construction was General Dmytro Karbyshev. He used the ancient Drevlianian tunnels, extended them massively and created a reserve command post. The construction was before the outbreak of World War II, between 1928 and 1937, and in strict secrecy. It was so secret, every engineer or worker knew only his small task, even they had no idea what they were building. We were reminded of the Monty Python translation of the deadly joke, just replace the British officer by a Russian one. Each room has a different size and form for unknown reasons.
The researchers of the museum actually work with German documents. During World War II the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, conquered the fortifications of the Stalin Line, and documented the fortifications with surveys and photographs. Quite interesting is the photo of a room with extremely luxurious amenities, oak floor, wood panelling on the wall and leather furniture. This room has a second exit to the level above, a sort of secret escape. The guess is that this was one of numerous fortifications which were built as a personal retreat for Stalin himself.
The site is of World War II origin, nevertheless it has the infrastructure of a Cold War bunker. This includes its own well, silver filters for the drinking water, diesel generators for autonomous power supply, a pressure control system with external and internal ventilation. This is the typical setting of an atomic bunker and extremely rare for World War II bunkers. The bunker had 68 rooms, workspaces, canteens, and restrooms, and was big enough for 2,000 people. The sewage system is a riddle, as it is unclear where the sewage actually goes, but it was constructed to prevent water inflow in case of floods or storms. The infrastructure was of extremely high quality and all the mechanisms are still in working order. There is an internal communication system which still works, and a landline to Moscow 14-16 m below ground, with a direct telephone connection and a panic button which still work.
The museum inside the bunker is also unique. There is the only museum of gas masks in Ukraine, exhibits from the time of the Chornobyl disaster, weapons, and personal belongings of soldiers. In the grounds, the former military base, there are several tanks. The exhibition is continually extended.
The museum is operated by the municipality and has a very low budget. A lot of work is done by volunteers. There are hidden passages, which are not yet explored, as this would require to open concrete walls. Due to the lack of funds it is not possible to hire experts, and to prevent destruction further exploration is currently postponed. It seems the Russian invasion has caused damages due to a bomb hit and the museum was closed. The bunker will obviously survive this war unharmed.