Abandoned nuclear bunkers from around the world
Northern Ireland blast doors
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.
North Dakota bunker
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.
East German bunker
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.
East German rations
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.
Czech Republic bunker
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.
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.
Guns still at the ready
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.
Another view of the York Cold War Bunker
This workspace was intended for use by telephone and communication operators. On the whole, the York facility was designed to monitor nuclear fallout.
Northern Ireland bunker
"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!"
Bunk beds at Ballymena
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...
Oscar-Zero launch station
At the bunker in North Dakota, this is the station where missiles would've been launched.
Nuclear codes in here
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.
Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker
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.
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker
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."
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.
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.
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.
Diefenbunker's war room
Completed in 1961, and used by the Canadian government until 1994, the bunker was built to house up to 535 military and government officials.
Booklets litter a Soviet-era nuclear shelter in Vladivostok, a Russian port city with a vast network of underground vaults, warehouses and passageways.
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.
Vintage anti-aircraft station
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.
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.
The Greenbrier bunker
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.
A lot more welcoming now
The main entrance and blast door at the nuclear bunker site in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.