As a fan of abandoned buildings and apocalyptic environments, Ukraine is paradise. There’s an endless amount of places to explore.
I use Google Maps and Wikimapia to scout out locations, and there’s a spot just outside of Kyiv that’s been on my radar. On the weekend I have a bit more time to check things out, this time I was by myself. I was actually just intending to go on a walk and get some fresh air in the woods, but I ended up closer to this place than I initially realized.
I was under the impression there’s a chance this place is guarded, too many interesting places are, so I kept my eyes peeled for guards.
I followed the fence further along, and near the tower, found a nice big hole to pass through. That’d be a great place to scope out the area and look for security guards.
The adventure was unexpected, so I left my flashlight at home, but my iPhone was enough. Sometimes old towers have a row of stairs knocked out, to try and prevent people from climbing up, but that’s really just encouragement. Thankfully these were pretty easy, if shaky.
I swapped to my wide-angle lens and scoped the place out.
It was possible to climb further to the top, but that would’ve made me too visible. At this point, I hadn’t seen anyone yet.
Feel pretty good about being able to make it to the building with the camera mural on it, I carefully climbed back down and made my way in. You never know when there could be someone or something inside unexpected.
I made my way behind the stage, there were some stairs down to the basement.
I ended up not being able to make my out from down there, so had to backtrack.
Part of the theater building hallway was blocked off, so I had to go back out to make it to the other part.
I could get a better view of the rest of the buildings along the main walkway. Someone had built what looked like a barricade in front of the other entrance of the theater building. I guessed it might’ve been for paintball or Airsoft.
This must’ve been a serious game of Airsoft!
Or… maybe it was something more than that. This place is pretty isolated in the middle of the woods. With the war going on in eastern Ukriane, perhaps it was used for military training?
The next room surprised me. There’s no way those holes were from paintball or Airsoft, they must’ve been from real guns.
That spooked me. I was solo exploring this time, and although my Russian is ok, most people can tell after a few sentences I’m not a native speaker. If I ran into a military guard here, they might have some questions. It seemed unlikely, but I was prepared to be as friendly and honest as possible.
On the backside of this building, I could see a newer building a couple hundred meters away. There was a real possibility I was visible, so I went in the opposite direction, cautiously.
I snapped another shot of the other entrance of the theater building before noticing some stairs, so I went up to the second floor.
The blue wall caught my attention. It reminded me of one of my visits to the war zone in eastern Ukraine.
During the Euromaidan revolution, many people disappeared. I’d be curious to know when these bullet holes appeared, but there isn’t much info about this place on the internet.
The second floor of this building had what looks like a kitchen. This is pretty standard for Soviet camps. I’ve been to many across the country, and they all have a pretty similar layout. It could’ve been a sanatarium, or a Pioneer Camp.
I was surprised to see so much metal still in place. Scrap metal is usually quickly stolen, along with anything else of possible value. It could be that not many people know about this place, or perhaps it’s guarded and I haven’t been caught yet.
The massive hole at head-hight here caught my attention. Or I could be over-extrapolating 🙂
I can’t think of anything weaker than real bullets that would’ve shot their way through some thick pieces of wood that were barricaded against the window.
This graffiti (?) was on the same floor.
More target practice. The blue box caught my attention.
And, it confirmed my suspicions about real guns.
I made my way down to find the next building to explore.
Hm, some sign of recent activity. If you don’t speak Ukrainian, I bet you’re curious by now 🙂
Hey, some english! Actually, I’ve been leaving some details out. I knew a little something about this place, but not about the bullet holes.
On Wikimapia (link to this camp) it’s called “Radooga Camp”. I know the guy that started Radooga, and he said yes, around 2004-2005 this camp was still in use. I know Americans come to help with these summer camps, so I bet this paper could be 14 years old. It seems unlikely, but certainly possible.
The rooms didn’t have much, just some old mattresses and furniture. Every building had a leaky roof, and some building were quite moldy. I tried to minimize my time in those areas
In another building I found more evidence of some kind of game, probably Airsoft. In fact, someone mentioned it in the Wikimapia comments.
As I walked around more, I started to feel more comfortable that there might not be anyone in this part of the camp.
Until I saw the guardhouse. Often times, if a place is guraded, there will be a guard that sits inside a little building and watches TV all day (if there’s electricity), maybe stepping outside for smoke breaks. I was more careful on this part.
I noticed an awesome piece of Soviet artwork, I risked taking a closer look.
I stepped around to the other side, and found myself in the middle of an outdoor theater.
It was getting darker, so my exposures were a bit longer to make everything visible, but I now see I ended up with a few blurry photos.
This must’ve been the main gathering area of the camp, with a flagpole. I bet hundreds of Soviet kids stood here every summer day for a few decades. I’m sure many people have been here and would remember this place.
On the backside of a lodging building, there had been some more recent activity. There were green plants in those cut-off bottles on the second floor balcony, I didn’t go up that part to explore more.
Here’s a closer look at the barricades by the first building.
I was about to wrap up my adventure and head back to the car, so I double-checked Wikimapia to see if I was missing anything. I saw there was something labelled as бассейн, which means pool, so I went the other way around the theater building to take a closer look.
On the backside of the building, some bricks had names and years, I thought it was interesting. The earliest year was 1979, but it’s impossible to know when that was written there.
I took a quick peek at the pool and headed back to the car. My phone battery was at 2%, and I didn’t want to disappear without a trace.
I got in and drove around to the front entrance of the camp. If there were guard dogs, I’d be protected in the car. Maybe I’m too cautious, but I’ve come across packs of dogs on the outskirts of Kyiv before.
No sign of guards at the front. Awesome! And another cool piece of artwork.
This road kept going, but it was blocked. I could’ve gotten out and walked, but I think I had seen enough at that point.
I noticed these locks and a pulled over to take a look. There was probably a nice little lake for the campers to fish in.
Here it is on google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/atbBPKH6qE52
And the Wikimapia link if you missed it earlier.