We decided to embark on a journey of discovery into Soviet Russia on our visit to this intricately detailed and fascinating build of a real-life ghost town in the virtual world.
The year was 1988. The Cold War was coming to an end. Skrunda-2 was home to more than 5,000 people. Unknown to the rest of the world, it had served as Soviet Russia’s primary defense against incoming nuclear warheads. This rather ordinary-looking town was built around two Dnepr radar systems, which were responsible for scanning the skies towards the west for potential incoming bombers and in particular, for nuclear missiles, which had been a threat ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
As the Soviet Union disintegrated into republics, many such towns were abandoned all over. These towns were too expensive to either rebuild or for any Government and hence were engraved into history as ghost towns. And so the fate of Skrunda-2 was sealed – as a deserted ghost town, a relic from the Soviet Era. The Russians removed all their installations and left behind almost 60 buildings including apartment blocks, schools, the officers’ club and a water tower.
The layout and design of this abandoned town located in modern-day Latvia has been brought to the virtual world of Second Life® by Titus Palmira with the help of Sofie Janic and Megan Prumier, who are well-known within SL for their incredible builds and landscapes. A quick tip while visiting this location would be to turn on the “Show Friends Only” option from the World tab in the header menu in Firestorm. This will help you achieve the feeling of being alone in an abandoned town.
The entire place has a mysterious, haunting atmosphere about it which is sure to send a chill down your spine. Nature, the weather and vandalism has certainly taken a toll on the buildings of this once-thriving town. The abandoned apartment blocks are a reminder of the vast number of people who called this place home at one time.
Skrunda-2 bears uncanny similarities to the town of Pripyat which was evacuated and became a ghost town after the Chernobyl Disaster in 1986. Viewers of the mini-series Chernobyl will recognize the Brutalist architecture of the Soviet Era and eerie visuals of playgrounds, swimming pools and basketball courts abandoned and left to the mercy of nature.
The whole town has been created with special attention to detail. Not a single building or structure feels out of place in Skrunda-2. The old water tower, the officers’ club and the apartment blocks are all representations of real life structures and are a fascinating build. The walls of many buildings within this ghost town have been vandalized by graffiti. Some structures have succumbed to the weather and are no more than crumbling ruins.
Skrunda-2 also includes the house of one of the town’s last stubborn residents who refused to move. The resident, an old lady, can be seen in her little wooden cabin sitting in an armchair smoking a pipe and reading a book.
A journey through this town is like a trip to the past. This is a chance to see Soviet architecture, an opportunity to explore the decrepit remains of a military town and an experience like no other. The attention to detail, the Soviet insignia all around and the Brutalist designs which were common during that period give us a fleeting glimpse of life in the USSR.
Skrunda-2 is a fascinating build and deserves to be on every to-do list within SL. Click HERE to visit this region inworld.