Places with a Soviet Flavor in Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is one of the two ‘big cities’ in Russia which you’ll likely be touching during your visit to this great Country, and probably among the most tourist-friendly in this part of the world. There are tons of sights to see for anyone with an interest in art, architecture, history, fashion, shopping, dining, nightlife, etc. The city is very large, with a population of about 5 millions, and touring just the most famous places – like the Winter Palace, St. Isaac and the central area along the Nevsky Prospekt, as well as the Peter and Paul Fortress – will take already at least a few days.

What people from abroad – unlike Russians – are sometimes less aware of is that the Revolution in 1917 started and evolved in Saint Petersburg, which at that time was still the capital city of the Russian Empire, where the Tzar and the government resided. Here Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked in the tumultuous moments preceding and after the abdication of Nicholas II, the last of the Tzars, and here the communist-led organization of the ‘Soviet’ imposed its rule, before the governmental body moved its headquarters to Moscow, the ancient capital of Russia, soon in 1918. The prominent role the city had in the Revolution was acknowledged changing its name to Leningrad, the ‘City of Lenin’, which would stay until 1991.

So, besides the countless sites of great historical and artistic value connected with the city’s founder Peter the Great and the Tzars who succeeded to him, there are in Saint Petersburg countless places recalling the Communist Revolution and the Soviet period.

Furthermore, as this city used to be a frontline destination for people traveling for cultural interest from both within the USSR and abroad much before the end of Communism, many interesting museums were established here. Some of them still retain a typical Soviet flavor, in the choice of artifacts, exhibition style and in the management policies – you will be left unscrupulously in a queue in a freezing -20°C winter evening outside of a museum, waiting just for more hangers to be available in the cloakroom, if the rules say so!

This post is about some places in todays Saint Petersburg connected with the Revolution and the Communist era, and some museums still retaining their Soviet style. All photographs, both the good and the bad, are from mine and were taken in early 2017.


Here is a map of the sites described below. The city is huge, and the coverage of the subway system is by far less developed than that of Moscow, with stops quite afar from each other – so expect to walk really much in Saint Petersburg! You may also elect to take a taxi when needed, for you pay the distance, not the time, and it is much less expensive than in other big cities in Europe.

All attractions in this post – except perhaps the House of Soviets – are fairly central, so even when you need to walk for reaching them, you will never need to be in an unpleasant or dangerous area of the town.

Kirov’s Apartment Museum

This museum, located ten minutes north of the Peter and Paul fortress, is rather deceptive – it is located on the two top floors of a formerly luxurious apartments building from the late 19th or early 20th century, where all other apartments are privately owned today. You will need to go through the foyer of the building, where the stately and elegant appearance of the façade is soon lost to the incredibly shabby, purely Soviet style of the inside, with a small and poorly looking elevator to ease you climbing to the top of the building.

Before the Revolution these apartments, exceptionally large and modern for the time, were property of wealthy businessmen and professionals. Soon after the Revolution, when property was abolished and housing was reassigned, the second floor from the top was given to Sergey Kirov, a top ranking communist leader successfully enforcing Soviet power in Azerbaijan, a great supporter and a close friend of Stalin during his struggle for power after the death of Lenin in 1924, and later to become the leader of the Communist Party in Leningrad and supervisor of industrial production – a prominent figure in his times. Stalin ended up ordering him killed in the early Thirties – although not officially – coincidentally marking the beginning of the harshest period of communist dictatorship in Russia.

The apartment of Kirov has been preserved very well to this day. You can see a studio and living room, with hunting trophies including a polar bear, bookcases and photographs of Stalin and Lenin. The aura of the early years of Stalin has been integrally preserved, and the apartment looks like comrade Kirov had just gone out for a Party meeting! Stalin himself reportedly visited Kirov here more than once.

Other rooms in the living quarters include a dining room, a small living room, a library and a nice bedroom for children. A kitchen – with a General Electric refrigerator! -, a junk room and bathroom complete the main part of the private apartment. Two very large rooms include Kirov’s study and a sort of waiting room today turned into an exhibit of soviet-themed paintings and sculptures, mainly about Kirov. You can easily imagine Kirov receiving delegates from the factories around the smoky Leningrad of the late Twenties in this room, with the portraits of Marx, Lenin and Stalin always carefully listening to the talk!

On the top floor, the museum offers a two-rooms reconstruction of a school, a meeting room of a youth organization, a shared apartment and a children bedroom from the years of Kirov, from the late Twenties to the early Thirties. Many interesting everyday items, as well as communist-themed flags, banners, memorabilia, some paintings and sculptures and much more can be found here.

All in all, this is one of the most evocative exhibitions on communist personalities I’ve ever seen! Visiting in a freezing winter evening also helped to relive the old Soviet atmosphere. Visit is recommended for everybody with an interest in Soviet history, and for those with a thing for living architecture, for this is a good occasion to get an insight on the standard of life of the wealthy class immediately before and after the Revolution in this region. You can take a self-guided tour, and you are given a detailed booklet in English to help yourself along the visit. Visiting may take from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on your level of interest.

Arctic and Antarctic Museum

This nice little museum is interesting both for the pretty unusual subject – polar explorations carried out by Russian and then Soviet expeditions – and for the setting and style of the exhibition. It is hosted in a former church building in a neoclassical style from the 19th century.

The exhibition maybe pretty outdated for modern standards, but it may appeal to you if you are interested in the topic more than in cheesy presentations, and if you want to experience how a Soviet-style museum looks like! The small setting is cluttered with dioramas with stuffed animals, including a polar bear, dim lighted showcases with artifacts and memorabilia from expeditions, plus ship models and some larger artifacts, like tents, polar shelters and instruments for taking measurements.

There are also very interesting frescoes and large paintings, both on the walls and ceiling, all about moments in the history of Soviet polar expeditions. Models, photographs and much more complete the exhibition.

The ground floor is about arctic exploration, which was started in the early history of Russia thanks to the proximity of the Country with the arctic region. The top floor is on antarctic missions, and here the accent is more on international collaboration and permanent missions. Some very nice paintings, rather rare to find elsewhere, can be found here.

All in all, an unusual museum with much to tell on a very specific and not often well-covered chapter of explorations. The place is very popular among Russians, and the exhibition is totally in Russian. There are audio-guides, but I wasn’t offered one during my visit, so maybe there is no chance to get explanations in English – but I’m not sure about this. Of course, you may decide to go with a local guide on a private tour, able to translate the explanations for you. Visiting alone if you are interested in the topic and you have a basic knowledge of the matter may take about 1 hour – even without a guide and with no knowledge of Russian… this is the time needed for looking at the many photographs, paintings and artifacts!

Krassin Icebreaker

This ship, preserved in perfect conditions on the river Neva, has an incredible story. The hull was manufactured under Nicholas II in Britain, but the ship took service under the communist rule. She used to be a steam power ship at that time. She was involved in explorations and arctic missions, including the rescue of the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile, who went down with his airship over the Arctic after reaching the North Pole by air in the late Twenties. Krassin was deployed after the most famous polar explorer from Norway, Roald Amundsen, was lost while on an ill-fated rescue mission by plane.

Later on, the ship was sent to the US during WWII, where she was modified to receive structural reinforcements and defensive weapons in Bremerton, WA. She worked as an escort ship traveling back to Europe via Panama during the Battle of the Atlantic against Nazi Germany, and spent the rest of the war patrolling the northern shores of the USSR, reportedly grounding some German aircraft.

After the war, being part of the arctic fleet and having had a history so glorious, it was refurbished and upgraded with more modern equipment and propulsion system in Germany. It was then constantly improved while in service as a scientific platform, until a few years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when it was permanently moored where you find her today.

The restoration work was carried out very well, and the vessel looks like it could sail away at any time! You can visit on guided tours in small groups. The visit includes the living quarters of the captain and crew and of the scientific staff – rather much above the military standard! – a room with technical stuff and the commanding deck. You are offered also a quick intro video in Russian.

I don’t know whether they’re offering tours except in Russian, but there are some explanations in English along the visit. Visiting in winter may add to your photos from the outside if the Neva is covered with ice, but the tour is shorter – about 40 min -, for you can’t see the power plant, as heating is probably absent in that part of the ship.

Absolutely recommended for everybody with an interest in ships, polar explorations, engineering and scientific expeditions! This is good for the kids as well. Be warned, the distance from the closest metro station is about 1 mile, but you may choose to walk along the bank of the river, with a nice view of the Winter Palace and the central district, with many photo opportunities. Rather close to the Krassin there is also the WWII submarine C-189, which I had not the time to visit. This is another entity from the icebreaker, with a separate ticket.

Museum of Artillery

This huge State-owned museum hosts a world-class collection of Russian and Soviet weapons from the middle ages to our days. The building is that of a former large artillery depot from the mid-19th century, in the immediate vicinity of the Peter and Paul Fortress, from which it can be reached in a few minutes. The museum is really a temple of Russian nationalism, and it’s very popular among Russians, whose military battles and victories are celebrated also with banners, uniforms, paintings, and several memorabilia.

There are two main branches inside the U-shaped building, placed in the two wings. In the first there is a collection of ancient swords and armors from the middle ages to roughly the early 18th century and Peter the Great. Next come many cannons and rifles from the 19th century, and more modern weapons, including what appear to be naval cannons from the years of WWI. The collection is really immense, and I had not purchased a photo permit – I had not enough cash! – so unfortunately the quality of the pictures is not very good.

The second branch covers from WWII to the Cold War. In this section there are cannons, howitzers, armored vehicles, and, much incredibly, full-scale tactical and early strategic missiles – which seem really big in the small rooms of a museum! There are also pieces of communication equipment and engineering tools, for the museum is namely also dedicated to the Engineering and Signal Corps.

Two small but interesting separate rooms are dedicated to the guard of Peter the Great and to Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man behind the world-famous attack rifle, who really existed and passed away in 2013 aged 94. Some technical drawings and some exemplars of the rifle – including some special designs – are showcased in this room, together with portraits of the man in various ages, in Soviet and later Russian colors. Unique and extremely interesting.

A good third of the museum’s collections are on the outside, in the front courtyard and to both sides of the building. Most of the items preserved on the outside are too big for being stored inside the building, meaning they are really big! You can find cannons, armored vehicles, SAMs, strategic missiles and their transportation and launch vehicles, special vehicles for snow removal, and much more – all stuff you might spot in the historic video recordings of the countless parades on the Red Square, deep in the years of the Cold War!

To the northern side of the building a battery of older cannons, possibly from the war against Napoleon, is preserved, whereas on the southern side a strategic missile of incomparable size is sitting in his canister on the launching vehicle.

Especially for war historians and military technology enthusiast this museum alone is a good reason for coming to Saint Petersburg! As I wrote, the atmosphere is nostalgic, so go prepared to a very old-style, traditional Soviet exhibition. There is not a word in the whole museum except in Russian. Payment is not possible except cash. I was asked about American citizenship at the cloakroom – not unexpected in the hostile Russia of the closing days of the Obama administration – but did not undergo any special treatment. Great for the kids, visiting the outside may be tough in winter, but surely worth the effort. A visit may easily take 1.5 to 2 hours for an interested person or an expert of the matter.

Museum of the Political History of Russia

Again in the vicinity of the Peter and Paul Fortress, this modern museum is mainly dedicated to a detailed description of the causes and to the timeline of the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, and to the history of the Soviet system.

The main exhibition about the characteristics of the soviet system soon after its inception is rather short in size, but with many details and artifacts, as well as explanatory panels and reconstructions of rooms from various ages of the Soviet era – including shared houses.

Besides the main exhibition there is a constellation of some smaller exhibitions. It is not always easy to put things in the right chronological order, but surely among the most interesting there is one about the timeline of the Revolution of 1917 – extremely complicated – and the ensuing civil war.

The building, once belonging to a famous dancer who fled the country following the early-1917 turmoil, is most notably where Lenin resided from the abdication of the Tzar to the summer of 1917, before the fateful Red October and the Bolsheviks conquering power. The study where Lenin worked and the very balcony from where he addressed the crowds of the Bolsheviks are preserved, and you can see them both for real and in a painting from Soviet times – really impressive!

Another part of the exhibition is about Stalin’s purges and the use he made of the gulag’s system for ‘re-education’. The museum is not nostalgic with respect to soviet times, but rather objective and duly critical concerning Soviet dictatorship. It is well designed to western standards, with many explanations in English, but more popular among Russians. Due to the historical significance of the building in the 1917 revolution, visiting is surely recommended for people with an interest in that part of Russian history. Visiting may take about 1.5-2 hours for an average interested person.

Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology

The museum is located right inside the Peter and Paul Fortress, but due to its peripheral position it is often overlooked by mainstream visitors. The location, apparently clashing with the historical significance of the surroundings, is instead appropriate, for the State institute responsible for studying and experimenting with rocketry was placed  in the very part of the fortress where the museum is in the years preceding WWII.

The museum is rather small. In an introductory part, scientists from all over the world and from all ages contributing to the history of rocketry are mentioned. In a second part the early designs from the institute are presented, including some real items from the time, like rocket models and engines.

In a final part, more modern big rocket engines from the Vostok and Soyuz missions and a reentry capsule are presented, together with some other artifacts. These include some space-themed Christmas decorations – note the sunny smile of the small Soviet astronauts in the pictures…

Visiting won’t take much time, about 0.5 hours, and is surely recommended especially for the kids if you are already in the fortress.

Cruiser Aurora and Finlandia Station

The very famous Aurora cruiser, marginally involved in the initial phase of the 1917 revolution, is preserved on the bank of the Neva, not far north from the Peter and Paul Fortress. I missed the last entry, so I could see it only from the outside. The ship is very well preserved and constitutes a very good photographic subject.

About 15 minutes walking to the north of the ship you can find the Finlandia railway station, where Lenin arrived in town ready to put his efforts in the 1917 revolution. The station is still in business, and the building has been modernized since the Twenties. The square ahead of it is where one of the surviving statues of Lenin can be found in Saint Petersburg.

On the southern side of the square there is a branch of the Academy of the Russian Army.

Smolny Institute

This area to the east of the city center has its focus in the majestic building of the Smolny Cathedral. What is possibly less known is that the building to the south of the cathedral, hosting the Smolny educational institute until 1917, was chosen for the headquarters of the Bolsheviks soon before the October Revolution. From here Lenin directed the moves against the other revolutionary factions, and the government of the First Soviet was established in this palace in the closing months of 1917 and early 1918, marking the beginning of the Soviet era, before leaving for Moscow.

Today the building still retains an institutional role and cannot be approached freely. In a small building to the opposite of the perspective leading to the façade of the palace you can find plaques and friezes with quotes from Lenin. The British Consulate is located nearby.

A huge area moving from Smolny to the west and the city center is occupied by enormous palaces built mainly in a Soviet brutalist style, now largely unused – up for sale or rent. I don’t know much details about their former function, but this was probably connected with Soviet government or administrative functions. The area features a rather grim aura, with few people around and oversized spaces.

House of Soviets

The area along Moskovsky Prospekt was developed under Stalin’s rule in a style which is more typical to Moscow than Saint Petersburg. Among the highlights, the huge Moscow Square is where the stately building of the House of Soviets was built in the late Thirties. Due to the Nazi attack in 1941 and the siege of Leningrad, the building was converted to a military headquarters of the Red Army. After the war it was handed over to scientific institutions, and now it is a multi-functional executive building.

The frieze with the triumphs of Socialism culminating in the gigantic hammer and sickle emblem on top really recall the Soviet times. Right at the center of the square, very popular among the locals as a gathering place and a hub for public transport services, a very big statue of Lenin still dominates the scene.

The place is very convenient to reach, thanks to a metro station in Moscow Square. The monument commemorating the heroes of the siege is located about 5 minutes south of the square.

Aircraft Carriers of the West Coast

Among the countless interesting places and sights the States of the West Coast have to offer, even aircraft carriers need to be mentioned. There are three ‘capital sites’ that will surely appeal to war veterans, pilots, seamen, historians, technicians, children and everybody with an interest for ‘CVs’ – an acronym for ‘carrier vessels’. Two are super-museums in California, where the USS Hornet and USS Midway are permanently preserved and open to the public, and a third is the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, which is an active installation of the US Navy in the premises of the Naval Base Kitsap, where maintenance work is carried out on the current CV-fleet, and where part of the reserve fleet – including most notably some aircraft carriers – is moored.

Here you can find some photos of these sites from visits of mine in 2012 and 2014.

USS Hornet (CV-12) – Alameda, CA

This ship is an Essex-class carrier commissioned in late 1943. Since then, she saw extensive action throughout WWII in the Pacific theatre, being involved in frontline operations leading to the defeat of Japan. As a matter of fact, aircraft from this ship totalled a number of downed aircraft ranking second in the general list of aircraft carriers of the world, behind USS Essex – which enjoyed a full year of service more than Hornet during the war with Japan.

The original appearance of the ship was much different from today’s, first and foremost due to the straight-deck construction of the Essex-class – just like all other carriers until the Fifties. For Hornet the current shape of the deck is the result of SCB-125 modification in 1956, introducing an angled landing deck. This feature, which came along with other major changes to the overall structure also resulting in a significant weight increase, allowed independent take-off and landing operations. Differently from other ships of the class, Hornet wasn’t upgraded in the late-fifties with steam-powered catapults, retaining hydraulically powered ones instead, thus being incapable of launching heavier aircraft like the Phantom, Intruder, Vigilante, or even the Hawkeye. It was then assigned to a support role as an ASW carrier, equipped with Tracker aircraft and helicopters for anti-submarine missions.

In the late Sixties Hornet was involved in the race to the Moon, serving as a rescue platform for the first moonwalkers returning from the succesful Apollo 11 mission, and subsequently in the same role for the astronauts of Apollo 12.

Similarly to all other Essex-class vessels – with the exception of the venerable USS Lexington, operated as a training ship until late 1991! – it saw limited action in the Vietnam War, when much larger and more suited carriers had become available for war operations, and it was retired in the early Seventies.

During your visit you are basically free to move all around the many well-preserved areas under the flight deck.

There you can see the striking proportions of this relatively ‘small’ carrier. The mechanism of the central elevator can be seen to the bow of the ship. An impressive table with the number of targets hit recalls the primary role this ship had in WWII.

On the main aircraft storage level there are some preserved aircraft, not all from the history of this unit. Among the many interesting features in this area, a replica of the helicopter which took the astronauts of Apollo 11 on board. This very helicopter was used in Ron Howard’s movie ‘Apollo 13’ starring Tom Hanks. Also the mobile quarantine facility for the astronauts can be found here. Neil Armstrong’s very footsteps from the helicopter to the quarantine facility are marked with white paint.

Moving back to the stern of the ship it is possible to visit a very interesting technical area for aircraft maintenance and servicing, as well as for mission preparation. It reminds the primary role of aircraft carriers as a frontline-deployed, moving airbases, with everything that is necessary for operating the aircraft onboard on a regular basis for offensive missions. A hatch leading to the compartments on the lower levels has been left open, and this allows to appreciate the actual size of the ship, really huge, with multiple storage levels for aircraft spare parts and ordnance.

Also very interesting are the big fireproof sliding doors for cutting the aircraft storage deck into compartments in the event of fire – possibly due to some ordnance piercing the deck of the ship, as well as to accidental causes.

Further interesting sights in the self-guided part of the visit include the operational briefing room, some service rooms, dormitories and a large area for the anchor moving mechanisms.

A second part of the tour is guided. You move around is small groups and you access the flight deck and the ‘island’, the command and control center of all operations – deck management, flight mission control, and ship control & navigation. The guides are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic veterans, able to tell you detailed explanations of what you see as well as anecdotes from the history of the ship.

The Presidential Seal has been placed where president Nixon was standing to oversee the recovery of the moonwalkers from Apollo 11.

This part of the visit will be extremely interesting for more technically minded subjects – you will see original wind signals for landing aircraft, an original LORAN navigation device for sea navigation, the normal and emergency arresting systems, the Fresnel optical landing aid system, and tons of other extremely interesting items which were actually used in real operations.

From the stern of the ship and the flight deck it is possible to take fantastic pictures of downtown SFO.

Extra Feature – Treasure Island Pan Am Terminal

A little ‘extra’ you can find on your way if you are travelling from San Francisco via the SFO-Oakland Bay Bridge to the site fo the USS Hornet is Treasure Island. This artificial island was taken out of the water at the end of the Thirties for the Golden Gate International Exhibition in 1939. Coincidentally, Pan Am, which had recently inaugurated its trans-Pacific ‘Clipper’ air service with the huge Boeing 314 seaplane, built a facility on the island, with a passenger terminal and service hangars for maintenance. Operation of the Clipper were moved here for good, and the aircraft took off and alighted on water between Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, the smaller natural island to the south – the cove is today called Clipper Cove. Later on the service was relocated to Alameda as the island was taken over by the military.

Unlike most of the buildings dating from the exhibition, wiped out soon after it, the terminal survived and it is a proportionate, nice example of the airport building style of the late Thirties.

Also the foundations of some of the original passenger pier, as well as concrete slides for seaplane operations on the shore of Clipper Bay, can be seen still today. The Pan Am terminal building was used to simulate the terminal at Berlin Tempelhof in Steven Spielberg’s movie ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’.

Treasure Island is also a good place for taking pictures of downtown SFO, as well as the most famous items on the bay – Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Getting There

The ship is permanently anchored by one of the piers close to the former Alameda NAS, on the southern side of the island of Alameda. It can be reached very conveniently and quickly from downtown San Francisco via the Oakland bridge (I-80), and from Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro and all districts on the eastern side of the bay. Full explanation and info on their website. Treasure Island is located roughly mid-way along the Oakland Bridge. Visiting the Pan Am terminal is a quick detour from the interstate. Large parking nearby both sites.

USS Midway (CV-41) – San Diego, CA

This is the first and the only remaining of the three Midway-class ‘super carriers’ – which included USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and USS Coral Sea. The origin of the class dates back to WWII, when it was decided that larger, armored, metal decks were to replace the vulnerable wooden decks of the Essex-class carriers. USS Midway was commissioned in September 1945, immediately after VJ-Day, with a straight deck, albeit steel-made. The steel construction was considered a relevant asset for jet aircraft operations, and all three carriers were kept in active service following the progressive transition to the new type of aircraft propulsion, with only minor modifications needed to the flight deck.

USS Midway was involved in the early stages of US missile experimentation, with the first tests of sea launched V-2 rocket clones, originating from the German design, and Regulus I air-breathing cruise missile.

The current shape of USS Midway is the result of subsequent major modifications. Program SCB-110 in the late Fifties added the angled deck to enhance simultaneous launch and recovery operations and flexible flight deck operations. Also the curved ‘hurricane-proof’ bow was added, together with steam-powered catapults.

In 1966 this ship was the only of the three of her class to receive the very expensive SCB-101.66 modification, resulting in a lengthening of the flight deck, the adoption of more powerful steam catapults and a new arrangement of the higher-load elevators. All three ships were on active duty in Vietnam, USS Midway apparently launching the first and last US air attacks of the war.

Even though USS Midway – the largest and best equipped of the three – could not operate the Tomcat, it could take four squadrons of Hornets, thus remaining effective in frontline service well into the Gulf War in the early Nineties, the last major operation in which she was involved before retirement and re-opening as a permanent exhibition – notably among the most popular in San Diego alongside the zoo.

Similarly to the USS Hornet described above, the tour of the Midway starts with a self-guided exploration of the aircraft storage deck and of the air deck. Among the tons of interesting sights here, to the bow you can find under the air deck the steam reservoir for the catapults and the system for moving the anchors.

Further back the main hangar for storing the aircraft is really huge. You can get an impression of the size of the ship by looking at the lower storage levels, where jet engines and air-launched ordnance are still visible.

With respect to the USS Hornet the exhibition is somewhat more ‘lively’, also with some reconstructed scenes, notice-boards, prepared dinner tables and so on. On the cons side, the place can get really crowded.

You can explore the crew areas, with dormitories, kitchens, canteens, medical services – including a fully equipped surgery compartment.

Most interesting is the propulsion system. Midway-class ships, as well as the later Forrestal-class, were all conventionally powered – non nuclear. Oil was supplied to burners, heating water and generating steam. By supplying steam to turbines mechanical power was obtained and transferred to the propeller shafts. This involved monstrous reduction gears. You can see the control room of this very complex system as well as burners, turbines gearboxes and propeller shafts, all explained with technical schemes – this will be extremely interesting for technically minded people. Close by, the similarly important air conditioning and ventilation system – an ancillary system at a first glance, it is absolutely necessary for all computers and electronics.

Other interesting sights are the briefing rooms for both flying and non-flying personnel, the chapel, and the inertial navigation system – buried close to the buoyancy center of the ship to reduce the influence of oscillations.

On the deck there is a collection of aircraft, most of them from the operational history of this unit. Also visible is the Fresnel optical landing aid.