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Abandoned Ionospheric Research Station


Rusting Giant Antennas in the Middle of Ukrainian Forest

Continuing the theme of our "Creepy High Voltage Installations" article, this research station (though not completely abandoned) is just as big, full of rust and bizarre "post-apocalyptic" atmosphere.

During the 80s this place had the functioning antenna complex the size of a soccer field, plus the "Ural" super-computer presiding over it all... The Ionospheric Research Station is located near Zmiev, close to Kharkov and is still used from time to time by (no doubt desperate) scientists - the area was declassified recently (it used to be a top secret installation, hm... I wonder why). This marvel of Soviet technology seems to be no match for HAARP Research Station in Alaska, but looks can be deceiving - and in the meantime it serves as a good "stomping ground" for all sorts of explorers of creepy and abandoned places.

The High Frequency Transmitter and Antenna Array

The biggest antenna is capable of producing 25 MW impulse power (compare it to the HAARP station's 12.5 MW) and is 25 meters in diameter. The IS (incoherent scatter) radar is quite unique (there are only 9 in the world) and covers 100 meter x 100 meter area.

The trees and bushes are slowly reclaiming the territory:

Various gorgeous scientific equipment seems to be well-preserved since the Cold War days:

Ring... Ring...
"Comrade Petrov?... Point the main transmitter to these coordinates and incinerate the war-mongering imperialist spy satellite out of the sky!"

Next James Bond adventure should definitely feature a villain climbing one of these babies:

The steel lattice-work is quite impressive:

Images are courtesy Neal, from KharkovForum and Fata-Morgana from Sun-Skadi site.

The similar, but better-maintained facility is located in Irkutsk. Here is a link to an informative (but very slow) English-language site.

Something else is lurking inside the Russian forest, the remains of an open-air cinema (!), for example:

or these bizarre structures that we can't identify yet:
(the location of these may not be necessarily Russia, so we'd like to hear what they really are)

UPDATE: This is an old granite quarry near Krakow, Poland. See more atSilent Wall and here. Plus a Google map location (thanks Marcin Derecki).

Marcin writes:
"It's called "Liban's Quarry". The place was open till late 60's. Now it's closed.
At the time of Second World War near this place was a concenration camp. In 1992 Steven Spielberg was making the movie "Schindler's List" in this quarry. I live about 1 km from that place."


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Category: Technology,Science
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

the structures in the last photo look like observation towers, either for a prison or a factory. maybe they have been left to decay at the factory where they were made?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The towers at the last photo are looking like mobile observation towers. They could be used to watch for forrest fires.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More likely to be cement or lime kilns, that looks like a chalk pit face behind. They are charged from the top with chalk and coal, the cement or lime is drawn off the bottom. The slope in the foreground could be for trucks to tip chalk into crushers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'forest cinema' photo is of an abandoned outdoor theater, part of Moscow's All-Russia Exhibition Centre - see map: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=moscow&t=k&hl=en&ie=UTF8&om=0&ll=55.831306,37.617322&spn=0.002118,0.004699&z=18&iwloc=addr

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rusty towers in the last picture are from Krakow, Poland. It's an old granite quarry: http://www.silentwall.com/QuarryI.html

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you guys! I updated the post with new info.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that in the control panel picture, there are a couple of lighted buttons still on? That building cannot have been powered? right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only is the instrument panel powered on, the oscilloscope on top of it is also powered on, and there is a faint line to be seen on its screen, so it's actually measuring something as well. It seems this equipment is still in use.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the country isnt as wealthy as the us(but they also aren't in debt as much either)
so they are probably using it as an antenna to this day, other wise the complex would probably have been tore down and recycled for the metal

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was not aware of the Russian equivalent. Thank you.

The concept is excellent.. blast the mind of the guidance electronics in an incoming ICBM with an extremely high microwave field. HAARP is convienently situated geographically to do so with incoming missles from North Korea. I'd think the Soviets had positioned their devices with launches from the continental U.S. in mind.

The problem is focusing the antennas to yield the necessary energy levels [flux densities'] at the target. Our physics is just not up to it, and that is why the beautiful parabolas sit rusting. Megawatts effectively transmitted but then spread out as the energy travels to the target yields little more than a nuiance to the missles, as the rad hardening technologies have improved since these projects were begun.

The facilities though would still be a great gift, and highly functional, to a [poor] radio astronomer.


Anonymous Knut Holt said...

Maybe they try out some weapon based upon reflection of concentrated radio waves form the upper atmosphere down again to the earth surface.


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