Stalin's Bunker Moscow
If you enjoy mystic stories and the Soviet Russian history, there is a museum in Moscow that is not to be missed. It is tightly connected with the name of Joseph Stalin – one of the most controversial and disputed figures of the 20th century.
The place we are talking about is known today as Stalin’s Bunker. Constructed before the WWII, back then it had a longer official title: the Emergency Command Post of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army Joseph Stalin during 1941-1945. This whole place was kept under strict secrecy for many years, and no wonder – its construction was part of the State Defence Program of the USSR.
And to avoid any confusion upfront, we must mention that it is not the only Moscow bunker. There are two bunkers in Moscow. Another one is Bunker 42 (also known as the Cold War Museum Moscow), put up some 20 years later.
Stalin Bunker – Secret Military Object
Stalin Bunker was built in the 1930s along with other underground complexes – the Moscow Metro and secret tunnels of various purposes. The military object is connected with the city centre (the Kremlin – Stalin’s official residence of that time) by a special passage running 17 km underground.
As a military object for the personal usage of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief it required unprecedented in the Soviet Union measures of secrecy.
A stadium was chosen as a shelter (cover) for the secret space beneath it. The gigantic stadium was started together with the Bunker. While the construction of the sports complex with 120 000 seats got a lot of media attraction of that time, nothing, obviously, was mentioned about the military object underneath. By 1939, when the underground part of the project was completed, the creation of the All-union Sports Complex was terminated. The sports arena proved smaller (for only abut 20 000 people), and design projects for other sports structures planned remained on paper.
The Bunker was not widely used before 1941, not until the outbreak of the Second World War on the territory of the Country of the Soviets. Then it was visited several times by Stalin. It is not known exactly who accompanied him there. But according to some historians, he came here for short stays on tragic days in October and November in 1941 when fascists were on the approaches to Moscow. The counteroffensive of the Red Army began on December 5, 1941 and the role of the place diminished. Stalin has never attended it since then.
Stalin’s Bunker Nowadays
The early 1990s gave this place a second wind. A group of enthusiastic people fond of history converted the Emergency Command Post of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief into a museum. While historians collected materials, interviewed various specialists and studied documents to do with this military complex, businessmen donated funds for the restoration. Nowadays it is a place representing the events of the 30s of the past century.
Stalin Bunker Moscow is an official branch of the Central Museum of Armed Forces. It impresses by spacious interior, solid walls built of natural stone. One can never forget the conference room, a large domed hall where Stalin could receive 115 people at one point of time, and his private office with his table, armchair and even the sofa. In one of the rooms you can see Stalin's jacket and pipe, and many other personal items. The dining room executed in Georgian style is something that impresses too.
The construction of this military object has no analogues both in time schedule and scope of work. When you are there it feels as if time has stopped, and nothing has changed since the 1930s.
Though the exposition itself isn’t very large, it is the story behind it and Stalin’s personal items that make it an absolutely unique museum Moscow – the only one dedicated entirely to “Uncle Joe”.
Nowadays, a lot of people visit the museum with different feelings. Some want to explore the undergrounds and recall the wartime, others come to learn more about Stalin’s complex personality. And probably the best thing about this historic Moscow museum is that it allows everyone to form their own opinion on that controversial period of the Soviet Union.
Visiting Stalin Bunker in Moscow
A visit to Stalin Bunker in Moscow is possible with a pre-booked guided Stalin Bunker tour. Please book the tour as far in advance as possible.
An experienced and erudite Moscow tour guide will help bring this place alive restoring the events of that time and sharing unknown facts about “Father of all Nations”.
- Since the bunker is not deep, it can be visited even by those suffering from claustrophobia.
Stalin Bunker Opening Hours and Visiting Tips
The Museum is open daily, except weekends. Opening hours and excursions – by appointment.
The tour lasts about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Photo/video are allowed.
- It is reasonable to take more time if you want to visit this place. The Bunker is located in a famous area Izmailovo, historically associated with the Romanovs. In 10 minutes walk you can find first a vast souvenir and crafts market Vernisage that works also as a flee market at the weekends. Walking further you get into a marvellous old park where in the 18th century there was summer residence of Tzar Alexis, whose son later became known to the world as Peter the Great. This green corner of old Moscow may be a nice recreation point on a hot summer day. All these places are absolutely safe for visits, there are usually a lot of people there since early morning till late evening. You can find numerous summer cafes and small restaurants there.
How to Get There
The Stalin Bunker is still well hidden, with no external signage. Stalin Bunker address & directions guide is going to help on the day of the tour.
Use the Partizanskaya Metro station, past the fantasy-market Izmailovo Kremlin and look for a side lane East marked “ФОП ИЗМАЙЛОВО”. At the end is a closed gate. At the pedestrian entry at the side of the gate, explain that you’re going to “Bunker Stalina” and you will be let through. Then head down the ramp to the right. At this point you’ll see the guardian tanks. The bunker entrance is through the blue steel doors opposite the tanks. Enjoy your tour!
About the author
Diana Zalenskaya, a travel professional and destination expert for Moscow, Russia.