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Cold War relics in Latvia

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Let’s travel back in time discovering Soviet Latvia! During two day trip we will discover most unique objects for the whole post soviet Baltic states – Irbene radio telescope station and Ligatne top leadership bunker. 

Trip will start at 8th largest radio telescope in the world, which is located in Ligatne. This was extremely secret, as it had a mission to track satellite telecommunications between USA and Europe.

Of course travelling back in time won’t be finished until everyone will experience a night at Ligatne resort, which was purposely built to cover the location of Soviet Latvia leadership bunker located under it!

SKU: Latvia Category:

Let’s go back to the past and visit Soviet Latvia! During a 2-day weekend tour, we will visit objects exclusive to whole Soviet Baltic states!

On the first day of the tour, we will see the 8th largest radio telescope in the world called “Zviozdočka” – Star by the Soviet Army. The 32 meter radius RT-32 radar, together with two smaller antennas, was installed in the forests of the village of Irbene near the coast of the Baltic Sea in Latvia. The station was used by the KGB to spy on satellite communications between the US and European states.

It was one of the last objects the Soviet army left while withdrawing after the collapse of the USSR. Moreover, the Soviet troops had even been given the task of returning and destroying the object, but the Latvian army prevented it. Now the whole complex has been transferred to Ventspils Radio Astronomy Center.

We will continue with the mysterious Ligatne Rehabilitation centre. The centre was set up in a hilly area, in the woods, far from any metropolitan area or industrial site. There were several apartment blocks for service staff in the town. The area itself was fenced and guarded and only those with special permits could pass through the control post. The centre was dedicated to high-ranking figures in Soviet Latvia.

But everything is much more interesting… For example, underground ventilation towers in the area. Maybe that could be explained by the basement. But the basement should be under the house, not a few dozen meters around the building. It is true that the centre concealed the largest underground bunker known to date in the Baltic States, which in the case of nuclear warfare is dedicated to the whole “cream” of Latvian Communist party. It was supposed to be the centre for leadership on a ruined and radioactive contaminated land.

For 30 years, most rehabilitation centre staff, and even patients, knew nothing about what was under their feet as this object was classified. And those who knew about him had agreements not to reveal secrets of the state to no one. All of this was during the Cold War, when they were ready for a nuclear strike. True, it is hard to imagine how, with enemy missiles approaching, the leaders of Soviet Latvia would have traveled 75 kilometers from Riga to a hiding place in Ligatne within minutes. Therefore, it is conceivable that the bunker could have served if the USSR had attacked first.

This site was prepared to survive several months after the nuclear war. It had air purifiers, oxygen supplies, a plumbing and sewerage system, a direct connection to the Kremlin, a Soviet-era diner and bedrooms. Attention is drawn to wall-mounted plans and maps showing what would happen if the hydroelectric dams in Latvia collapsed.

And then it becomes very clear why away from cities, why away from industrial sites, why in the woods, why in the hills, why only one way to that place and many other riddles…. Most importantly, we will not only visit this once secret sanatorium and the bunker underneath it, but we will also spend the night where the cream of Soviet Latvia once enjoyed nature and relaxation.

Trip overview

Trip overview

Route: Vilnius/Kaunas – Irbene radio telescope – Ligatne rehabilitation centre –  Kaunas/Vilnius

Date: Can be organised any weekend, starting from May 

Length: 2 Day – Weekend tour

Departure points:

  • Kaunas – Depending on the group needs
  • Vilnius – Depending on the group needs

Group size: Minimum 8 participants

Price: Starting from 135 EUR per person

Preliminary itinerary

Preliminary itinerary

Day 1:
08:00 Departure from Vilnius.
09:30 Departure from Kaunas. On the way short stops for breaks.
14:00 Reaching Irbene radio telescope base. In here everyone will have 1.5 hours guided tour in English showing all the sites.
16:00 Leaving Irbene and short stop at Ventspilis for lunch.
17:30 Departing to Ligatne.
21:00 Reaching Ligatne Rehabilitation centre and rest after long day.

Day 2:
09:00 Breakfast.
10:00 Going down to Ligatne underground bunker. In here 2 hours guided tour in English will show, how life style of Soviet Latvia leadership in case of war was planned.
12:30 Going out of the bunker. Free time for lunch and checking out of the centre.
13:30 Departure to Lithuania.
19:00 Reaching Vilnius.
20:30 Reaching Kaunas and end of tour.

What’s included

What’s included

What is included:

  • Transportation to all objects and back to departure points;
  • Entrance and guided tour at Irbene radio telescope base;
  • 1 night stay at Ligatne rehabilitation and breakfast;
  • Guided tour in English at underground Ligatne bunker;
  • Professional tour leader services and amazing memories!

What is not included:

  • Food during lunch time;
  • Snacks and drinks during the whole tour.


Original Soviet Gas Mask – 5 EUR

Everyone during our activities you buy souvenir gas mask from old military reserves, for special participants price! If you want to have more then one, please give as a message and we will bring them to the departure point.

Important information

Important information

  • Every person has to have a valid ID or passport as we will crossing Lithuanian-Latvian border;
  • Exact departure time, will be sent to all participants no later then 72 hours before the selected day.