On the shore of Peter the Great Bay in the Primorye Region of Russia, you’ll find an incomplete structure known as the Submarine Shelter Pavlovskoe. It was formerly known as “secret object no. 6.” The concrete structure with its semi-circular arches symbolizes the periods during the Cold War when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were engaging in a nuclear arms race.

It was built 19 kilometers from Nahodka, one of the port towns in the area because it was meant to be a base for the Pacific Fleet’s submarines. It can be found within a facility that serves as home to the Ministry of Defense and the Pacific Fleet.

Pavlovskoe was designed as a shelter that would protect submarines belonging to the Pacific Fleet from the effects of a nuclear strike. Construction is said to have started in the 1960s, even though some sources state the date was not until 1977. Because of the secrecy surrounding the operation, it is impossible to confirm the start date with any degree of certainty.

The lack of funds available caused the pace of construction work to begin to slow in the 1980s, and the collapse of the Soviet Union brought the process to a complete halt. START I, the first of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, was a significant factor that led to the decision to halt construction.

START I was signed on the 31st of July, 1991, roughly four months before the fall of the Soviet Union. This effort’s desired result was the limitation and reduction of strategic offensive arms.


The Soviets were constrained to prevent any maritime vessels from entering the entrances of some of their underground structures. They were also required to cease construction of any additional underground structures. This impacted Pavlovskoe, and even though most of the construction work had already been completed, the shelter was still left unfinished.

A network of secondary tunnels connects the two primary tunnels that comprise the submarine shelter, which was constructed on three levels. The complex tunnel system carved into the solid rock of the cliff was a remarkable example of engineering ingenuity.

The major tunnels are so enormous that it’s hard to believe they exist. The first tunnel is at least 490 yards long and 21 yards wide, as indicated by the data collected by KFSS, a community of urban explorers located in the immediate area. The thickness of the concrete is close to 2 yards. It rises 11 and 13 yards above the surrounding water at its highest point. In the event of a nuclear accident, the submersibles were designed to navigate into this passage while it was half submerged in water.

The second tunnel emerges into the main hall, which serves as a gathering place for the complex’s primary working and living accommodations. The main hall spans 246 yards from end to end, is 9 yards broad, and stands around 12 meters tall. Stalactite-like icicles hang from the ceiling in places.

Because many of the tunnels have been flooded or closed off, it is difficult to determine the exact size of the shelter. At the very least, there are 8 entrances, and at the very least, there are 2 ventilation shafts; however, there may be more.

Since Pavlovskoe is located within the territory of Pavlovsk, which is an operational submarine base, the area is off-limits to anyone who would like to trespass there. As the radiation count is higher than average, it is clear that the territory is home to radiation sources; however, the reasons for this occurrence are unknown, at least to the general public.

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