No photos!

One thing is clear: Soviet military sites was not a free space to roam around let alone take photos. Especially Soviet missile bases was the top secret area and people with even the slightest stains in the history like tendency for fist fights or drinking or any kind of other excessive or non-exemplary behaviour were never selected. This was the most serious post you could ever get – to deal with the nuclear missiles. Of course no talking around was tolerated either, and you could get KGB knocking on your door the very next day. The secrecy in these sites was so overwhelming that during drills no lights were used. The military turned off even the blackout lights. These ones are equipped with special lenses that are designed to reduce the light beams to the minimum so that no one can spot your movements at night. So the security measures did not leave room for compromises.

Having said that it is really surprising to see this photo taken at Zeltiņi. What you can see here is MAZ-543 missile carrying vehicle that were widely used for short- and medium-range (exactly what you could find in Zeltini) ballistic missiles back in the Soviet times. Photo cameras were strictly forbidden in the area of the base. The possession of such a photo would translate into big trouble for the owner and leaving the unit would be the mildest of the consequences.

Zeltini Latvija

However according to sources, this photo was taken in 1984 and it was the time when even the soldiers serving in the most secret units were gradually giving way to a more careless behaviour. They sometimes secretly took photos and later brought them home where they got developed. Later these memories proudly decorated many photo albums of the former servicemen.

By the way, the hero you can see in this shot is MAZ-543 or later MAZ 7310 also known as the “Hurricane”. Production of these missile carrying vehicles started in 1960s after being “promoted” from having to carry around tanks – this is what its “father”, MAZ-537, was in charge of.  Later with entering the civilian life its range of applications virtually exploded. It became an airport firefighting truck, crane, drilling rig, pipeline carrier and even a regular dump truck. It has proven to be such a good breed of “horse” that it is also the choice of the North Korean leader when it comes to parading his own missiles.

Zeltiņi – the most impressive Soviet military object in Latvia

Zeltiņi – missile base is one of the most impressive Soviet military objects in Latvia, located in Northern Vidzeme. This is one of few remaining places where you can ‘’meet’’ Lenin. There you can see military buildings, missile silos and underground bunkers. Let us discover the past together. Apply: trips@hieroglifs.com

 

 

Abandoned Soviet missile base – Zeltini

Let us pass this wonderful sunny weather in an interesting way in Zeltini – Soviet nuclear missile base. Please see the event description both in English and Latvian. Choose your best date and apply.
Fill the application from in English: application form (EN) for Latvian: application form (LV) and let us explore the history.
Those who have been, feel free to leave your feedback in Trip advisor.

 

Zeltiņi – Soviet missile base

Clip on your red badges and pack your hate against the capitalism because we are going back in time again.

Trip includes transfer Riga – Zeltiņi – Riga, guided tour and interactive activity.

Date: 02/07/2016 – around 9:30 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: 25 EUR per person
Children: Up to 16 years of age – 15 EUR

Date: 05/08/2016 – around 9:30 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: 25 EUR per person
Children: Up to 16 years of age – 15 EUR

Date: 06/08/2016 – around 9:30 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: 25 EUR per person
Children: Up to 16 years of age – 15 EUR

Tour is in English and Latvian.

Feel free to apply by email: trips@hieroglifs.com or send PM on Facebook to the organizers.

Zeltini, the Soviet military missile base

During Soviet times, a Soviet military missile base was built in a small Latvian town, Zeltiņi. From 1961, medium-range missiles (up to 3,500 km) were stored in hangars there. Military missile base Zeltiņi was perfectly disguised from unexpected guests; people say that even some houses were destroyed before building of the base, as they were too close to the secret zone.
Locals recall that not only missile installations were there, but as also several missile silos, which were blown up or sunk in the swamp when soldiers left the base.

As any abandoned place, Zeltiņi has a lot of legends. Some people say that mushrooms here can grow up to one meter in height. Others say berries are not edible as they have absorbed large doses of the propellant. Supposedly, one missile was launched from this base, but it did not reach the target.

Today, the most famous monument is 3-metres high Lenin’s head made from granite, which was removed from Lenin’s monument in Alūksne at the beginning of the 90s.  This head is now facing the secret entrance of the place where radio operators were once working: a small bunker under an artificial hill.

Zeltini_lenin

Zeltiņi territory is approx. 19 ha large. Back in the day the base was surrounded not only by barbed wire, but also electrified one. Strategic Missile Forces Base was divided into perimeters, and 300-350 soldiers lived and served there, but only few people had the permission to enter the missiles storage site.

30th military regiment was located there, consisting of 3 divisions: one in Zeltiņi, another in Strautiņi and the third in Gulbene. First 2 divisions were in charge of the missile launchpads, and the last one had the missile silos. Every division had 4 medium-range ballistic missiles.

According to Vladimir Protsenko (major who served at this base since its foundation until its dismantling): “Initially it was planned to store 48 missiles there, but it never happened. It was decided that it is impossible to launch more than one missile from the same place, as NATO would immediately identify the location it was launched from and “answer” to it. Eventually, only 8 missiles were left.  After the launch, soldiers had to escape from the place and go to the auxiliary positions, not closer than 50 km from the main base. We signed the non-disclosure documents. It does not matter that the USSR does not exist anymore, documents have no expiration date…. Following the order all personnel responsible for launching, arrived to the start positions. Nuclear weapons were located separately. Trainings were held, as a rule, at night: even blackout lights were turned off, and any movements were limited to the maximum.”

Today, the former missile base Zeltiņi is one of the most interesting tourist place in Latvia. Both Latvians and curious foreign tourists like to visit this place, willing to dive into military atmosphere.

Reference:
http://vesti.lv/society/theme/report/76478-otsel-grozili-my-evrope.html

Zeltini – abandoned Soviet nuclear missile base

On the 2nd of July – let us pass and interesting time together in Zeltiņi.

The base at Zeltiņi offers all kind of military buildings, underground bunkers, missile silos, launch pads, etc. You can also meet Lenin here. Well, not exactly with full set of body parts – this time it is only the 3 m high head that is one of the rare monuments dedicated to the great communist leader still remaining after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Feel free to apply by writing and e-mail to trips@hieroglifs.com or online.

Let us meet soon!