Leningradskaya – Antarctica - Atlas Obscura


This abandoned Antarctic research station is a Soviet ghost frozen in time. 


Perched on a rocky outcropping in the Victoria Land region of Antarctica is the abandoned Soviet research station Leningradskaya, and while it has not been in use for decades, it still sits there like a ghost from the USSR. 

Built in 1971, the Leningradskaya station was created by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition as a year-long research base that could facilitate their studies. The base stayed in operation for a full 20 years, allowing the Russian science teams to study everything from meteorology to magnetism to oceanology. During its tenure, the base, which sits atop a tall cliff, was assailed by extreme winds and storms that made base life a harrowing affair. Finally, in 1991, the station was evacuated after the Soviet Union fell and funding for the base was discontinued. 

In the time since the base was abandoned, the various huts have simply sat vacant, collecting ice. Most of the old huts were left just as they were with supplies and equipment intact, the idea being that one day, researchers might return and pick up where they left off. Most of the huts are squat square buildings that look a bit unremarkable and rusty, although one of the buildings does feature a minaret-like globe perched on the roof.

Over the years, the newly christened Russian Antarctic Expedition has discussed intentions to reopen the base, but nothing has ever materialized. Russia has sent icebreakers to the site which may signal some renewed interest in reopening the base, but as of yet, nothing has happened.

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December 15, 2015

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