Boží Dar: An eerie reminder

The Czech Republic is now a Parliamentary Republic, but not too long ago it was a part of the Warsaw Pact. There are some remnants of that time still around today, albeit in a severely dilapidated state. One such place is Boží Dar or God’s Gift in Czech. It’s located 30 km northeast of the Czech capital Prague and was once the main base of operations for the Soviet Union’s Central Group of Forces in the Czech Republic.

I’ve always had a fascination with abandoned places and had been meaning to get to Boží Dar ever since we arrived and I Googled “abandoned places in Czech Republic” and it came up in a Vice magazine article. I must go there I told myself and with the current situation in the Ukraine, I thought there was no better time than now. A few years ago I was supposed to visit Pripyat in the Ukraine with my Polish friend. Yes kids that’s the place from Call of Duty, and yes mature adults with an appreciation of history, that’s the abandoned city next to the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant north of Kiev. We had the flights and tours booked and couldn’t wait to get there, Pripyat! So exciting! An urban explorers dream! But then they closed the zone…..tour cancelled, no refunds. Booooooooo! And now with the situation in the Ukraine as is, I doubt we’ll get a chance to visit it any time soon. So Boží Dar made an excellent alternative in the meantime.

It’s surprisingly easy to get to, and even easier to access as abandoned places go. From Prague, I took a City Elephant train to Lysá nad Labem and then caught one of those quaint little yellow trains to Milovice, the nearest town to Boží Dar.

According to Vice and the Daily Mail articles (I know, I know i’m not an avid reader either) the townsfolk of Milovice had no idea that the Soviets had built a whole town right next to them. There’s also rumours that nuclear weapons were held there during the Cold War, which is absolutely terrifying to think about, knowing that Prague is just down the road.

Getting into the place is pretty easy, you simply walk in off the road. That’s it. No scaling a high wall or squeezing through barb-wire fences. There was a gate sure….but it was open, a I later found that the place isn’t quite so abandoned anymore.

There’s a number of businesses operating on the site, including a catering company and what looks to be a builder’s materials company. That would explain the security that was there, including a man in a high vis jacket and another chap sitting in a security office. The man in the jacket walked after me but didn’t give chase or shout out and I eventually lost site of him. The chap in the office didn’t pay me any heed and kept on reading his paper.

A few other people were on the site at the same time I was there, including a couple whose friend was flying his light aircraft inches above their heads, several cyclists as well as families and a chap shooting some footage of his car in front of one of the buildings. If it was part of a package to sell it, I don’t think he’ll get many offers if he’s choosing Boží Dar as the place of sale.

It looks like I got to Boží Dar just in time as the demolition process seems to be well under way and there are in fact only a handful of buildings still standing. I was bothered to see someone had cut a piece out of one of the soviet newspapers on the wall in one of the buildings as I’m a firm believer in look but don’t touch when it comes to urban exploration. Get in, take your pictures, and get out without disturbing anything. But if they’re going to destroy the whole place then I guess it doesn’t really matter.

For those new to my blog, a bit of a disclaimer. I usually write a few words before adding the images for each post and more often than not, I don’t take the captioning of images too seriously so you’ve been notified. Now enjoy the pictures as perhaps they’ll be all that’s left in a few years.

 

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Walking towards Boží Dar from Milovice through an old pathway next to some abandoned buildings.
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There it is. My first glimpse of Boží Dar in the distance. I believe I said to myself “Whooooh! Can’t believe i’m here, sweeeeeet!”
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Damn! An impenetrable gate! How will I ever get inside? Guess I might as well go home.
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These motorcycle tyres looked pretty new so i’m guessing it’s being used as some sort of driving practice…Oooorrrr I stumbled across a meeting of the national motorcycle tyres association…..maybe.
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In Soviet Hobbiton, ring find you.
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The first accessible building I came across. Not much inside really, mostly gutted like the rest of the buildings. That’s gutted physically by vandals, not gutted emotionally as if the building has emotions….of course.
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Cosy.
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Don’t lick the walls, lots of thick heavy paint peeling everywhere in Boží Dar.
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Ooooh pirate HQ!
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This chap was buzzing his friends who were standing on one of the hangars before he landed and drove over for a chat. My first clue that this place is perhaps being claimed back.
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There were several hangar buildings on the site, all of them completed gutted with strangely enough even the floors ripped up.
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One of the smaller hangars.
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Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. That is definitely not written in Czech. Translations on a postcard please.
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I think the tearing up the floors is a new process as in some of the earlier photos I’ve seen the concrete floors were still in place. If we can’t have it nobody can I guess.
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This interesting building was off to the side of some of the hangars and had some strange equipment inside.
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I’m sure this is completely normal equipment for an airbase, would love to know what it is. There were several of these little compartments in a row with those handles outside.
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I really love the way nature doesn’t give a crap about our structures and just carries on growing up, through and around them.
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Oh hey, Soviet hay!! The main hangar building seems to have become a storage area for a local farmer….and tire lover.
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More Russian writing lets you know the history of this place, although there is a Czech flag painted beside it.
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Inside the hangar building, the ceiling has fallen through in several places.
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A tyre fetishist’s dream right there.
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Stairway to heaven, well it is called God’s Gift. I didn’t trust the structural integrity of this stairwell, never mind the rest of the building so I politely moved along.
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Didn’t venture any further into this building as it sounded like it was full of bees so yeah…..quickly renamed this place the Nope Building.
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Making my way towards the main town itself heading north away from the airbase.
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A security chap in a hi-vis jacket was watching me like a hawk and ever so slowly chasing me before I snuck off the road towards this place on the edge of town. A little further on there was a security cabin but the guy inside paid no attention to me. Probably used to people coming in to take photos.
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Mmmmm orange and green, that’s the colour I want in my kitchen.
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Loved these long corridors running the length of the buildings.
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Some rather dapper graffiti.
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This toilet has seen better days to say the least.
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Genuinely creepy as hell. Looks like it’s a fairly new edition and not part of the original wall.
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Another corridor leading to every room on the floor.
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Good man Frank, well done.
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They’ve clearly started demolishing the site as there’s far less buildings than there were in the photos from even last year.
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What a lovely shade of yellow. Did somebody say 70’s?
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“I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way”. Ok I gotta stop using movie quotes for captions.
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It really sucks that they’re knocking the place down as it’s a huge part of history and a reminder of how close we came to war.
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Making my way towards the last residential building that I explored as a storm starts to develop in the background.
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Ah least this one had balconies. Spared no expense.
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Not the prettiest of buildings but you can’t argue it’s efficiently put together, does exactly what it says on the tin.
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I believe this is a photo of the crew of Soyuz T-7 including Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space. That mission launched in 1982 so gives a bit of a clue as to the age of the wallpaper.
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Wallpaper James? Yes, wallpaper. The walls were once lined with Soviet newspapers including Pravda, the Communist regime mouthpiece that used to be printed in the millions.
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Classic Soviet design. It’s kinda beautiful in its simplicity.
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It seems that pretty much every room in this block had newspaper for wallpaper at one stage.
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Yes those are clothes hanging out to dry on that balcony. There’s a few buildings occupied right next to the abandoned ones, perhaps housing the workers of the companies now operating on the site.
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Something about the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
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Landscaped gardens, airy apartments, what more could you possibly want?
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Walking back to Milovice along a road to the north of the airbase. Plenty of cars drove by but nobody stopped to ask what I was up to.

 

 


10 thoughts on “Boží Dar: An eerie reminder

  1. Could you put a link to the blog itself on top of the email? It’s hard to read & see your pics in the narrow space provided by Verizon mail.
    and your blog is very interesting!
    Thanks,
    Marilyn

    1. Hi Marilyn, thank you for the kind words 🙂 I’m not sure if I can customise the email alert that goes out for new blog posts but I’ll look into it for you. Are you viewing it on mobile?

      1. Hi,
        No, I view it on my PC. It might be possible to customize it on WordPress, but I’m not sure. If not, I’ll just have to go directly to your blog using the address bar (if I am not too lazy 🙂
        Thanks for checking it out..
        Marilyn

  2. Hello,
    I realize this was a while ago, but I’ve been reading about this place while doing research for a story and I can’t seem to find out for sure if it’s still there or how much might still be standing. If it’s still around, I would love to get there on a research-trip, and I was wondering if you traveled there with any Czech people who might still be around and willing to take another trek to this place? 🙂
    If you can point me towards anyone, I would really appreciate it, but if you can’t; your pictures are awesome and have a good weekend! 🙂
    Best,
    Rain

    1. Hi Rain,

      Sorry only seeing this now 😕 I went by myself and at that time they were tearing down the old accommodation buildings so I doubt any of them are still there. The hangars and things should be though with any luck.

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