This photograph is from Julia Clay and Geppe Monrós’ project Abandoned?.
The military base was built and used by the Austro-Hungarian military from 1904, it was then a WWI prisoner camp of Russian and Italian soldiers. During the German occupation, it was a centre for German film propaganda, where fake footage from the Eastern Front was shot.
In 1968, the Soviet army chose it as the base for its Central Group of Forces. They built a massive airport and an entire town for 100,000 inhabitants, calling it Boží Dar, (God’s gift), and fenced it off from the outside world. The nearby Czech town of Milovice (8000 inhabitants) knew nothing about the hundreds of families living under armed guard in cramped concrete tower blocks just up the road. Operations at the base were kept top secret. Supplies were flown in and it was partly self-sufficient with its own coal power plant, underground reservoir and farmland.
The last of the troops left in 1991 and the base was abandoned in 1995. Julia visited here in 2010 during the the ‘Abandoned? Project’ journey.