For World Cup fans who are in Samara for the quarter-final clash between England and Sweden, there is still a day to go.
As they gear up for the big clash on Saturday, some fans decided to explore the darker city of city that is hidden underground.
Hundreds of visiting supporters went underground to explore the Josef Stalin’s bunker — the chambers that were dug out underneath the southwestern city in Russia to protect the leader of the Soviet Union in case of a Nazi German attack. Of course, the assault never happened.
During the second World War, Samara, which was named Kuybyshev at that time, was chosen as the alternative capital of the Soviet Union should Moscow fall under the German attack. The bunker was built to be the headquarters of the Armed Forces, that were being led by Stalin.
“You get goosebumps. You can’t imagine all of that happened just here and only a few years ago. It is a very good experience to take back to our country,” said Mexico fan Josue Resendis.
Supporters, many still wearing their team’s tops, carefully walk down flights of narrow stairs until they are 37 metres (120 feet) below the soccer celebrations.
“To think that a place that today shows so much happiness has had a past in which children, women were carrying arms and building planes in order to have one human being fighting another human being because of an ideology…” Thiago Andrade from Brazil told Reuters.
It is good that it is over and that things in the world are now solved in a different way.”
The bunker was built in 1942, but remained a secret to Samara’s citizens until 1990, when it was uncovered and later turned into a museum.
Its walls were built to withstand a direct hit from an aerial bomb and held enough provisions to feed Stalin and his entourage for up to five days.
Stalin never had to use the shelter though.
The bottom floor contains two rooms: the main chamber which could accommodate 115 people and was meant to serve as meeting room, and Stalin’s personal chamber, the tourists’ favourite.
Here they can sit at Stalin’s desk, pick up the handset and “call the Kremlin”.
Legend has it, according to a museum guide, that the phone line used to be live until a French tourist called home and ran up an extortionate bill.
News credit : Indiatoday