Nostalgic story about a girl who lived in Skrunda-1

This is a special story. For me as a photographer (I dare to call myself like that) and to all of those involved. Story about childhood, memories, time, home…

The little girl, let us call her Aļona, was sitting in the kitchen and eating soup made by her mother. The girl was three years old and lived with her parents in the town of Skrunda military radar. She was happy, loved and coddled by her parents. The town itself was nice ¬– clean, neat and cozy. With a kindergarten close to home, a shop and a cinema. A forest surrounded the town, and somewhere in the forest was her father’s place of work – radar or locator. She used to confuse these words, and for her as a little girl it was not so important.

The kitchen was her favorite place, the window gave a beautiful view of the town. By the window there was a kitchen pantry where the mother kept jam jars and other things. On one side she had drawn a cat, horse and other lovely pictures…

Times changed and Aļona with her parents had to leave the town… As a child, she was a little bit sad, but quickly grew accustomed to the new conditions and the new home.

The childhood town and the painted cat remained only as a shattered dim memory… Since then, 25 years have passed… The young woman was going through childhood pictures, recalling times gone by… Many things had changed… She opened her laptop and typed in the search engine “Skrunda-1”. That is how my friend Artūrs got her childhood photo. We went to the Skrunda-1. Although the information was scarce – WE FOUND IT!

You know – it is a very, very special feeling. Intimate even – if this word fits the context.

It is like a journey through time… Like a very special opportunity to touch someone’s memories… Like in the movie “The Battle of Chernobyl”, where the photographer Igor Kostin together with now adult girl returns to her Pripyat apartment and due to all the emotions cannot hold back his tears…

Thank you Arturs Milevics and Aļona (name is changed) for this experience!

Author: Roberts Vīcups
Translated by: Hieroglifs International

Trip to Skrunda 1 – Exploring the Soviet Ghost Town

Have you ever heard of Skrunda-1? Yes, it is the biggest ghost town of the Baltic States once harbouring around 5000 people. But what makes it special is that is it not just a regular ghost town, but for years it had a status of a top secret closed down area that held the most novel military installations Soviet Union had to offer. It is truly a desert for anyone interested in touching the past with their own fingers. So join us in this trip, but remember: one thing is to get in the town, another to get out of it!

Continue reading