CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide

Northern Ireland blast doors

North Dakota bunker

East German bunker

East German rations

Czech Republic bunker

York bunker

Guns still at the ready

Another view of the York Cold War Bunker

Northern Ireland bunker

Bunk beds at Ballymena

Clean up

Oscar-Zero launch station

Nuclear codes in here

Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

Sleeping tight at Oscar-Zero

Budapest bunker

Moscow bunker

Canadian bunker

Diefenbunker's war room

Swiss bunker

Vladivostok bunker

Massachusetts bunker

Vintage anti-aircraft station

Drakelow Tunnels

The Greenbrier bunker

A lot more welcoming now

Cold War-era bunkers, like the threat of nuclear doomsday, are forever. Fallout shelters from the 1940s to the 1990s remain embedded in the Earth, many still stocked with the essentials of living.

Some sit in ruin. Some have become tourist attractions. But all are trapped in time.

Pictured first: The main blast door at a nuclear bunker site at Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Caption by / Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

In this North Dakota bunker, the kitchen's been tidied, but not much else has changed since the former Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility was deactivated in 1997 after a run of over 20 years. It's also called the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site.

Caption by / Photo by Jake Barlow/CBS News

The portrait of East German leader Erich Honecker looms over a spartan office setup that probably dates back to the mid-to-late 1980s. That Robotron K 8915 was a computer was produced in 1986.

Closed after the fall of the Berlin Wall and reborn as Bunkermuseum, this shelter now offers guided and immersive tours.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The East German fallout shelter was built in the 1970s by the feared state secret police. It housed enough supplies, including canned soup and biscuits, to tide over as many as 130 people for three weeks, before being reborn as the Bunkermuseum.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The exhibits at the Prague Nuclear Bunker Exposition are as eerie as the history of this plus-size facility that lies about "four floors deep" under the city. The shelter was said to be capable of housing up to 5,000 people during the chilliest days of the Cold War.

Caption by / Photo by Prague Communism and Nuclear Bunker Tour/Facebook

Up to 60 people could call this bomb-proof civil-defense bunker home in the British city of York. Opened in 1961 in and in use until 1991, the facility is now a tourist destination.

Caption by / Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

At Oscar-Zero in North Dakota, a six-member security team was armed with M-16s. This is a weapons locker in one of the bedrooms.

Caption by / Photo by Jake Barlow/CBS News

This workspace was intended for use by telephone and communication operators. On the whole, the York facility was designed to monitor nuclear fallout.

Caption by / Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

"There's quite a lot of tinned food," said a real-estate agent handling the sale of Northern Ireland's only known Cold War-era bunker at Ballymena. "I don't know how old it is and I wouldn't like to try any of it -- I don't even know if it's still edible!"

Caption by / Photo by Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Opened in 1990 in the waning days of the Cold War, the "heavily fortified" bunker could house up to 235 people and serve its residents with dorm rooms, meeting rooms, a TV studio, and, just in case...

Caption by / Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

...decontamination chambers.

Caption by / Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

At the bunker in North Dakota, this is the station where missiles would've been launched.

Caption by / Photo by Jake Barlow/CBS News

The nuclear-code and key lockbox at Oscar-Zero. If a president were to order a strike, the "Missileers" on duty would open the box and get the keys and code.

Caption by / Photo by Jake Barlow/CBS News

This bunker, designed to serve up to 600 British military and civilian personnel, thought of everything, including an operating room. Decommissioned in 1992, it's now a museum and for-hire filming location owned and run by the family on whose farmland it was built.

Caption by / Photo by www.secretnuclearbunker.com

The communications room at this 35,000-square-foot shelter in the British county of Cheshire boasts the latest technology -- of a bygone era. Deactivated in the early 1990s, the Hack Green facility is now a museum and "home to the largest public display of nuclear weapons in Europe."

Caption by / Photo by Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker/Facebook

Now part of a state-run historic site named after the 40th US president, Oscar-Zero once housed a crew of 10, including two "Missileers" who worked 24-hour shifts.

Caption by / Photo by Jake Barlow/CBS News

You could say the bathroom in this bunker, once known as F4, has seen better days. Then again, the facility, located about 131 feet underground, was built in the 1950s by rule of Hungary's then-Stalinist strongman, so... maybe it hasn't.

Caption by / Photo by Ferenc Isza/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile, in Moscow: Claustrophobic, dim tunnels are the connective tissue of Bunker-42, a 75,000-square-foot facility built in the 1950s and located nearly 215 feet beneath the Russian capital.

Now a museum, 2,500 people holed up in the space during the tense days of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Caption by / Photo by Tatiana Dyuvbanova/Shutterstock

This workspace could be from the set of "Mad Men" -- that is, if Don Draper's crew was housed in a four-story, 100,000-square-foot bunker located 75 feet beneath Ottawa. This mammoth Diefenbunker facility is now a museum.

Caption by / Photo by Diefenbunker/Instagram

Completed in 1961, and used by the Canadian government until 1994, the bunker was built to house up to 535 military and government officials.

Caption by / Photo by Diefenbunker/Instagram

K7 was the code name for this bunker built into a mountainside, and intended as the chief command-and-control center for the Swiss military. In 2012, the facility became a cloud data center for Radix Technologies. The map room was one of the few remaining vestiges of the complex's former life.

Caption by / Photo by TechRepublic

Booklets litter a Soviet-era nuclear shelter in Vladivostok, a Russian port city with a vast network of underground vaults, warehouses and passageways.

Caption by / Photo by amadeustx/Shutterstock

This control-room door made plain the serious matters contemplated at the concrete-encased Bare Mountain US government bunker, burrowed into the side of a Massachusetts mountain in 1957.

Roughly 20 years after the feds moved out, Amherst College bought the three-story bunker in 1992, and converted it into a book depository now used by a total of five colleges.

Caption by / Photo by Amherst College/Screenshot by CNET

A visitor, dressed as an East German NVA army soldier, plays with switches in a former Russian mobile anti-aircraft radar station during an overnight stay in the Bunkermuseum in the former East Germany.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Originally built for secure aircraft-part manufacture during the bomb-ridden days of World War II, this underground British complex was reimagined during the Cold War as a nuclear bunker. It included a BBC studio that was capable of broadcasting public-service announcements.

Sold in 1993, the facility is now open for tours and filming.

Caption by / Photo by Say YES to the Drakelow Tunnels Museum Development/Facebook

Only the best for our members of Congress. This was apparently the guiding principle when the US government built a "five-star fallout shelter" into a mountain under the historic Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Maintained in secrecy for roughly 30 years until it was outed in 1992, the facility, designed to fit all 535 senators and representatives, plus about 565 others, is now a tourist destination.

Caption by / Photo by The Greenbrier/Facebook

The main entrance and blast door at the nuclear bunker site in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Caption by / Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Published:
Up Next
These were the hottest holiday toys...
16