“TheCeļotājs” –
"Karosta" Former Soviet Union Naval Base
 
History of Karosta Soviet Union Naval Base
 
Karosta “War Port” is a neighborhood in the north of Liepāja in western Latvia by the Baltic sea.
 
Karosta was constructed in 1890-1906 as a naval base for the Russian Tsar Alexander III and Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia. Later it served as a base for the Soviet Baltic Fleet. Now it is a very popular place for tourists and artists, since there are unique sights and interesting places, such as the scenic seascapes with partially blasted fortifications on the Baltic shore.
 
The base is of tactical importance due to its central location in the Baltic Sea and the fact that it does not ice over in winter. Built on the bare coast it consists of a large man-made harbor including a large breakwater and inland submarine warren.
 
Karosta is a small self contained town north of Liepāja. It has its own water supply tower and electric power supply and it was originally constructed as a naval port for the Tsar’s of Russia during Emperor Tsar Alexander III and Emperor Tsar Nicholas II Reign being over 100 years ago. 
 
Later, after World War II and the absorption of Latvia into the Soviet Union, Karosta became the major Soviet Union Naval base in the Baltic region. Liepāja in general was a closed city during Soviet Union
times, especially Karosta. Even Latvians needed special permission to enter. At its peak, there were as many as 30,000 Soviet Union Military personnel in Karosta. Once Latvia gained its independence in 1991, the Soviet Union military personnel and their families were forced to leave. The last of the Soviet Union military forces were gone by May 1994.
 
Due to the fact that Karosta Naval Port and Base was a closed and secret Soviet Union Naval Base there is very little information on it. Other then what is past on from visiting there today. During the Soviet Union period Karosta military personnel, both conscript and officers brought there wife’s and families to Karosta to live bringing the need for more housing. Simple precast concrete block row apartment buildings were rapidly built. These Soviet era block apartment buildings are present today. Some have been renovated while others are in poor shape with others are abandoned or now being demolished to make room for other buildings or business. The Russian Tsar’s era red brick buildings are now in disarray abandoned and many are boarded up to keep people out of them. Once the Soviet Union military
left, the buildings be came pray to scavengers who stripped everything of value or could be either sold or used was removed leaving nothing but a shell. Windows, window frames were removed. Doors and their frames were removed. Plumbing and their fixtures were even removed. Even the electrical wiring, switches and their fixtures have been stripped from the buildings. The buildings were completely stripped. What couldn’t be removed was destroyed. Even some of the buildings and areas around the buildings became trash dumps. 
 
Karosta has fallen into neglect. The red-brick military barracks, warehouses, and administrative buildings are decaying. It's pretty interesting to see. There is also sea fortresses built during Tsar’s times and they have fallen into the sea over time. Karosta Guardhouse “Naval Prison” has now been converted into a museum “open May – September” and it is possible to spend the night in the guardhouse processed as a prisoner.

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Revised: 12-27-2012 - 20:00:00