"1984: Survival Drama" A Soviet Underground Bunker Experience
- Descend into an authentic Soviet bunker: Built to withstand a nuclear blast, this vast network of passageways and cave-like recesses sits in the middle of the woods, miles from any city, 16 feet underground. And you're going in for crimes against the state.
- Return to the Cold War: Inside, it's still 1984, and the propaganda machine is cranking at full speed. Through TV, audio, and other KGB techniques, you'll experience life as a Soviet citizen.
- Learn new skills: How to sing the USSR anthem. How to properly run through dark corridors while wearing a gas mask. How to be courteous and cooperative under interrogation (or else). Handy things like that.
About this Vilnius Tour
"Welcome to Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Give phone. Give camera. Give money. Wear drab coat. Stand in line. Quick! You are no one. Get used to it. Have nice day!"
It may not be the welcome you're used to in your travels, but this is no ordinary venue. It's a legit, once-secret underground bunker in the middle of the woods, manned by suitably burly KGB guards, and for the next few hours – or longer? – you're their comrade/prisoner.
It's all an act, but the bunker is very real. It was part of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev's directive that a series of secret, nuke-proof backup TV stations be installed across the USSR (which then included Lithuania), ready to broadcast crucial propaganda if a NATO strike took out the everyday stations. This 27,000-square-foot facility outside Vilnius was completed in 1984, and then abandoned seven years later. It was briefly considered for repurposing as a prison site in 1996, but was rejected.
Now, wearing your seedy assigned overcoats, you and your ragtag comrades are being marched down into this hellhole. It's badly lit, cold, and smells like fear. Tinny radio speakers blare out Soviet marches. The halls are labyrinthine, the rooms cave-like, the guards surly. Even the guard dogs woke up on the wrong side of their kennels.
Wrong or disrespectful answers to your interrogators' questions can lead to threats, shaming, and solitary confinement. Forced false confession-signings are a common occurrence. Cold War-era shows and news play on crappy TV's all over. And gas masks are fitted, since there's a decent chance you'll need it.
Worst of all, there's a creepy "doctor's room" that does not look at all healthy to visit.
But since it's all just a performance, your internment ends on a positive note. There's some jovial comradely singing and dancing, some possibly-tasty Soviet-style chow (it's an offense to the State not to accept and enjoy it), and you even get to leave with a period Soviet souvenir. Along with a certificate to prove that you're a comrade in good standing.
Assuming you've given up your decadent capitalist ways.
You'd think Lithuanians would be over communism by now. But for some crazy reason, there's a curiosity about all things Soviet there. Besides this Underground Museum of Socialism and its "Survival Drama," Vilnius has Soviet-style cafes serving borscht and other comradely cuisine, and even a Museum of Genocide Victims – in the former KGB prison where hundreds were tortured and killed. (Local school kids go there on field trips.) The older generation sees nothing good about the old days but younger Lithuanians seem hungry to experience one of their country's darkest eras.
Please make your way to the Vilnius Cathedral at Sventaragio g., Vilnius 01143 to meet our tour representative.
In need of retail therapy after your tour? Shopping is available 7 days a week, although early closing at 3:00pm on Sundays is generally observed. Look for traditional souvenirs.
Plan to walk for approximately 1 mile over varying surfaces and up steps and inclines. If you have limited mobility, this tour may be too challenging for you to enjoy and maintain the pace of the group. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Adventure, Cultural, Scenic
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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