Ukraine: Tarakanivsky Fort
Wow, Ukraine has some total gems hidden inside! This massive semi-ruined and abandoned fort – Tarakanivskiy Fort – was a total surprise and earned every possible superlative in terms of its architecture and sheer scale. The fort was built by Russia at the end of 19th century in 1873, as at the time the border between the Russian Empire and Poland ran just a few kilometers west from here. The fort was built to protect the railroad and create a forward military base to prevent any attacks. The massive structure was hidden underground in its entirety and cost around 500 million USD in today’s money to build and even used brand new for the times materials like cement for construction. During WWI in 1916, the attacking Austrian troops took over the fort in a serious battle and most of it was ruined. In 1920, the Red Army took several days to push Polish troops from the fort in another round of fierce fighting. And these are the ruins you can see today. Just to get to the fort one needs to go through a bizarre maze of dark underground passageways, eventually coming out to the rectangular multistory structure with 105 rooms – large halls, Egyptian style staircases, massive overhangs, and dozens of arcades! Everything is in ruins and you feel like Indiana Jones exploring all this. The local nickname for the fort is the City of Ghosts.