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By Aigars Lielbardis

Embed video below

Ice-cream picnic on YouTube:
Bunker 82 on YouTube:

“Salpa Linja” is a 1200 km long fortification system in Eastern Finland, which was built during 1940-41 along the border between Finland and Soviet Union. The fortification line consists of anti-tank hurdles, trenches, as well as several constructions – shooting posts and underground shelter premises. One of the bunkers, No 82, is located close to Virolahti village and is similar to many others. It is joined in the ditch system and it appears that initially it was provided to be a fire support post and a shelter for riflemen.

This bunker, like the others on the defence line, was not used in active military operations. Nowadays it is a tourism object. The loopholes of the bunker are bricked up and the premises are empty. It is neither actively used, nor adjusted for other functions, it’s not deliberately locked up either. The bunker is open all year round for anyone who wants to visit it.

The bunker, along with trees, stones and other landscape features, has become a part of the wooded and rocky landscape of Finland. Since the bunker is not actively used, it lives on its own – the trenches overgrown with bushes, the ramparts with mosses; water streams have found a new bed, purling on the stairs of the bunker like a cascade.

Human presence in this and many other bunkers is almost un-noticed, except for the wooden ladder, placed at the edge of the trench to facilitate climbing. The bunker is like an invisible underground part of the place/landscape. Both this and the other bunkers of “Salpa Linja” are neither littered, nor damaged, despite being un-guarded – a fact that could seem strange for someone who is not a Finn. Obviously the bunkers are a significant part of self- confidence among the Finnish people.

Both videos were shot during the field fieldwork on 2–7. 9. 2012, arranged by Mindaugas Gapsevicius and Andrew Paterson in the project “Abandoned Mystery”. The first video “The ice-cream picnic in the bunker” proposes an idea how to use the bunkers nowadays. Whereas the video “Bunker No. 82” calls to focus on the sound and visual landscape and its components, which often remain undetected.

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