Wehrwolf - Ruins of Hitler's underground headquarters, near Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

© Alexandrum79/Getty Images/iStock


Top choice in Central Ukraine

Between May 1942 and July 1943, Adolf Hitler paid several visits (accounts vary) to his regional military headquarters in a vast bunker 8km north Vinnytsya. Code-named Wehrwolf, it was a top-secret facility under the protection of the Fuhrer's personal escort battalion. The Germans blew the whole place up on their retreat in 1944, and for decades it lay derelict. Now it has been turned into a fantastic walking museum, where informative sign-boards guide you through this disturbing period of history.

At its peak the Wehrwolf complex consisted of three bunkers and 20 standing structures, complete with swimming pool, movie theatre and casino. The Germans grew 800 trees here – a forest that remains today – to hide the place, and surrounded the compound with anti-aircraft positions.

More than 4000 people worked on building the ambitious facility, among them Ukrainian and German civilians, German troops and prisoners of war. Hitler reportedly ordered all of them executed, ostensibly because he was worried that they would spill the beans about the bunker's location.

There's not much to see of the bunkers themselves, which consist mainly of tangled, semi-submerged heaps of concrete and steel reinforcing rods. The attraction is the walk and the whiff of history. There's an enclosed museum wing near the entrance with rare pictures of the complex being built and disturbing photos of Nazi atrocities. It's worth springing for the audioguide.

To get here take bus 138 bound for Stryzhavka and alight at the 'Camping' (Kemping) stop. It's a 1km walk from the highway to the entrance. Or take a taxi (about 150uah return).

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