Joseph Stalin was by far the most secretive leader of the Soviet Union. He is known to have had numerous mansions hidden away all over the country. The bunker in Samara (named Kuybyshev in Soviet times) was an emergency shelter where Stalin was supposed to be evacuated to if Moscow got occupied by German troops. In the fall of 1941, the German army was already dangerously close to Moscow, that’s why the construction was very urgent. Stalin never ended up having to hide in this bunker; however, it was on standby throughout WWII.
The world’s deepest bunker at the time, Stalin’s bunker in Samara was designed in such a way that a person could stay there for 5 consecutive days without having to come up to the surface. It’s hard to believe, but when it was declassified and opened to the public 50 years later, in 1991, the air regeneration system and the power station were all in good working condition, and the bunker was still air-tight.
The state-of-the-art bunker is 37 meters below the surface. It was built in 1942, within just 9 months. One of the biggest mysteries surrounding it was the fact that with the 2900 workers and 800 engineers engaged in the non-stop process, construction went unnoticed by the locals. It is located under a building that is now home to the Academy of Arts and Culture, which used to be the Kuybyshev Party Committee.
The lowest floor of the multi-story structure contained Stalin’s room and a conference room that could fit as many as 115 people. Upper floors were allotted for utility services, warehouses, and guard rooms. Above them were three meters of concrete, a thick layer of sand and another one-meter concrete cushion, which could withstand a direct hit of the most powerful bomb that existed at that time.
Visiting the bunker is only possible as part of a tour group and by appointment. However, if you are lucky, there might be a spot available, last minute, in an already booked tour group.