The sphere near Dubna in August 2014

Dubna is a well-known Soviet science city that is home to numerous technical universities and research centers. Experiments in the field of nuclear physics are conducted here. Dubnium has been synthesized here, and radioactive isotopes of new elements are studied. Dubna is a special economic zone. Scientists and physicists from around the world often come here.

The city is clean and pleasant. It is a moderately preserved Soviet Union that has absorbed only the best and filtered out the bad. It would be worthwhile to write a separate story about Dubna sometime.

They say that somewhere near Dubna, in the middle of the forest, there lies a mysterious concrete sphere. How did it end up there? What is its purpose? It’s unknown. But somewhere in the forest, a giant sphere lies.

Just coming to Dubna is not enough to reach that sphere. Three hours on a commuter train from Moscow is a tedious but too trivial task. Dubna is simply a transit route. The sphere is 15 kilometers away in a straight line through the forest. By car, it’s a 40-kilometer journey.

No path is easier. Whether on foot or by car, you’ll have to slog through impassable clay (if there has been even a little rain recently) or simply navigate through rough terrain. The forest is full of bumps, fallen trees, swamps, and piles of mosquitoes. The road ends halfway, turning into a gravel track.

On bicycles. Just the thing.

Actually, no. On the way there, we rode through the forest because it was shorter and there was no damn gravel track that would give you a sore backside. On the way back, we took the gravel track because it was three times longer, but at least there was no damn forest where you’d get your backside sore. You can’t escape fate if you’ve decided to ride to the sphere. There is no proper road here.

And there it is, becoming visible.

It stands there.

Impressive! It’s 18 meters in diameter and in good condition.

The most plausible theory is that the sphere was dropped from a helicopter during transportation. It is the dome of a certain command-measuring system called “Kub-U.” At least, that’s what an unverified source on Wikipedia says.

By the way, the sphere is not made of concrete at all, but of lightweight fiberglass.

Inside, there are compartments.

Recently, an entrance was cut into the sphere. Inside, it looks something like this.

A very interesting echo.

At the top, there is a hole where they somehow attached a car tire.

The walls of the sphere are covered with graffiti from local cycling and motorcycle teams.

But the coolest thing is this: there are tire marks on the walls at a high altitude. It seems that extreme motorcyclists use the sphere as a training and stunt base.

As it turned out, the place itself is quite popular. Every five minutes, another car with pilgrims would arrive here. Next to the sphere, people from the companies were grilling kebabs and relaxing. Passing cars would stop and ask, “Are we heading towards the sphere?”

They were indeed going in the right direction.