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Ridala Parish, Estonia

Haapsalu Airfield

This abandoned fighter jet launch center is now a haunting street racing course. 

This old military airfield for middle to long-haul aircrafts known conversely as the Kiltsi or Haapsalu Airfield now lies abandoned, marked by empty bunkers and a weedy runway. 

Construction on the facility began in 1939 and it was used with few intermissions until the Soviet military finally left Estonia in the 1990s, after which it was left to rot. During its operating life, the airfield was mainly used as a launch site for Interceptor fighter jets. The runways and 28 airplane hangars are no longer in use, but they are are still standing for the most part, a remnant of a darker time in Estonian history. However, this is not to say that the place sees no action, as some people still use the long paved stretch for street races and Fast-and-Furious-style drifting. Surprisingly these are often not even illegal, with event organizers coming together to host the races. 

Despite the abandonment, most of the hangars seem to be in order, except that their metal doors are long gone. Now they act as haunting cement echo chambers that reflect the voice and noise of any visitors to the site. 

The airfield is located just next to the Ungru Manor, a ruin of dilapidated former grandeur. Both the airfield and the destroyed manor create a bleak, if fascinating monument to Soviet rule. 

Contributed by
ahvenas
Edited by