This is a fascinating museum which contains one of the world’s biggest submarines. It is located in north-west Moscow. If you pick a warm day to visit, you can explore the museum and stroll along the shadowy walkways of the park, which has a playground and a café at the bottom. On the way to the museum, you will find an air assault hovercraft, the ground-effect craft ‘Orlyunok’, as well as a submarine. These former fighting units are located along the Khimki reservoir embankment (Russian: Khimkinskaya naberezhnaya or Химкинская набережная). The ground-effect craft is a real flying ship which can take off and land with any sea disturbance. Unlike hydroplanes, ground-effect crafts can fly at low altitudes not only above the water, but also above the ice, tundra, and wetlands. Using the virtual flight simulation unit in the museum, you can imagine yourself to be a passenger on these planes.
The main exhibit of the Russian Navy History Museum is the diesel-electric ocean submarine, B-396. The vessel is one of the biggest submarines in the world. Its length from stern to bow is 90 metres, which is almost the length of a football field. It is 8 metres wide and 14 metres high (the height of a 5-storey block of flats). According to the NATO classification, the boat bears the name «Tango klass» and the Russian cipher code is “Som” (Catfish). This second generation submarine (we are currently producing 4th generation) was launched in 1980 and used by the Russian Navy for 18 years, fulfilling combat missions in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, protecting the frontier in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.
On average it takes 10-15 minutes to look around the submarine although its display is rather small. Viewing the submarine starts with the bow, the torpedo room with 8-metre self-guided torpedoes (they are real but do not contain warheads). There were 24 torpedoes in total when the submarine was on duty. Between them are two-tiered beds for sleeping 14 people. At this point, you truly understand how cramped a submarine is. 70% of the equipment originally inside the submarine was removed so that it could be converted into a museum display; otherwise, guided tours would not be feasible.
The submarine has seven water-tight compartments in total. In the course of making it suitable for the museum, widened arched passages were made instead of the original manholes. These allow visitors to not have to stoop down while walking around. However, one of the manholes is still there, in case you want to get a feel for what it’s like to be a naval officer on one of these submarines.
From the torpedo room, visitors see the overhead personnel’s compartment with the captain and the officer cabins (two people per cabin). Next goes the central control room, the think tank of a submarine. Here, you can see the ceiling all around the boat, while in the central control room it is covered in wires. This small section illustrates the way the submarine used to look – wrapped in wires all around. You can see the captain’s, boatswain’s, navigator’s, soundmens’, and mechanic’s work places as well. A constant temperature of 31 degrees above zero was kept in all the compartments of the submarine. For this reason, all were dressed in cotton clothes. The roofs are never high, and all people admitted to the submarine corps had to be below 170 cm tall.
The display dedicated to the history of the Russian Navy is located in a free-standing two-storey building. Tickets are available in the same building. Right next to the building, there is a stall with numerous maritime souvenirs which are a rare thing in ordinary tourist shops. The display tells the story of well-known Russian naval commanders and the stages of formation of the navy. Outside, there are plaques dedicated to the mariners’ participation in Second World War.
Tours are available; these include details of the submarine history and its performance. However, these are a little on the long side for children under the age of about 8. Children under 6 are not admitted to any tours around the submarine’s upper deck.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com