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The Duga

Marked on maps as a children’s summer camp, a secret Russian military base near Chernobyl was home to a massive structure known as The Duga. It was part of an ‘over the horizon’ early warning system and, when operational, broadcast a clicking sound that infuriated people worldwide and prompted the nickname: The Russian Woodpecker.

There are two parts to the structure, best viewed from the roof of the control buildings:



At ground level, the beast towers above you and lends itself to structure shots.





Interesting viewpoints can be have if you climb up one the many, rather rusty but still solid, inspection ladders.


Unfortunately, some idiot had climbed it during the night, had slipped and fallen, and decapitated himself on the way down. As result, CCTV had been installed and it was decided that we should stay at ground level in the unlikely event that the cameras were actually working.






The Duga was controlled from facilities situated both above and below ground. The underground section had been flooded and filled when the Russians left and has never been found. But the buildings above ground were still standing, so that is where we headed next.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. That structure reminds me of the barrier wall that features in the Divergent/Insurgent/Allegiant movies… I wonder if the film was based on the Duga? [Seems plausible, at least, since the similarities are striking].

    The structure itself is quite unusual, particularly the structures formed at the smaller scale, from the various pieces of steel. No idea why, but perhaps this pattern provides an effective jam of radio and/or RADAR signals, or perhaps the structure itself is a transmitter of some kind?

    And: judging by the state of the steelwork closer to ground level – how long before the whole lot comes crashing down?

    1. It was a radar transmitter; with a separate receiving station elsewhere in Ukraine. It’s in good condition for its age, although no doubt it will collapse at some point.

    2. From IMDB: The fence around Chicago is modeled after the Duga-3 antenna array. A Soviet era over-the-horizon radar transmitter located in Ukraine, within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

      Well spotted sir!

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