Abandoned Soviet Army Town in Latvia
You will discover Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center, located in the village of Irbene – a former Soviet army town in Ventspils county, 200 km from Riga. Today Irbene is a ghost town, established to serve a secret Soviet radar “Звезда” (“Star” in Russian), built for military officers and their families.
The chief researcher at the Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center, Juris Zagars, jokes: “It is possible to film a horror movie here called Frankenstein and the KGB, and nobody would need to spend anything on creating the movie set.”
After the withdrawal of the Soviet Army in 1993 the town became abandoned.
Currently the 32-meter wide radio telescope is located here and it’s being used for scientific purposes. It is the largest such telescope in Northern Europe and the eighth largest in the world.
The guided tour in Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center will not only take you around the territory of the complex, but also inside the laboratory, as well as view a special exhibition.
During this excursion you will also explore nearby places of interest. One of them is the Ovisi lighthouse, built in 1905. It is the oldest surviving navigational structure in Latvia. You will also discover Mikelbaka, the tallest lighthouse in the Baltics, rising to 62 meters.
We recommend to combine this tour with excursion to Ventspils city – one of Latvia’s oldest ports, founded 700 years ago. Today Ventspils will allure you with beautiful, white sand sea side, well established and modern city infrastructure and charming Old Town.
Take a walk through The South Pier promenade that guides you to the lighthouse… Watch a sunset or waves in the sea climbing on a 19 m high viewing platform next to the lighthouse… And enjoy fantastic city views from a sea side – the boat trip may be included in agenda (minding the seasonality).
Besides Ventspils offers saturated cultural and entertainment events agenda – your trip to Ventspils might be enriched with music, arts, festivals and fairs.