belarus ruins

Sometimes you find some things on Google Earth that are just plain strange. Above is a screenshot of what looks like ruins of some kind, located near the small village of Muchavec, in Belarus, right across from the Polish border. The coordinates at the center of the ruins are 52°00’04.48″ N, 23°44’31.88″ E. The area, which looks like sort of a “burn mark” from space, is about 6 1/2 miles long and a little over a mile wide.

I have no idea what this is. It’s clearly abandoned, as there are no structures or maintained roads in the whole place, but there are plenty of what look like old roads and pathways leading to and fro, suggesting that transport of heavy vehicles occurred here at one time. In contrast to the surrounding areas, which are green and forested, this area is arid and scrubby with very little vegetation. Eerier still, there are pitted holes in the ground which look like bomb craters or the sites of explosions.

belarus anomaly bomb craters

“Bomb craters” in the ground inside the Belarus anomaly. Click for a larger version/more detail.

In addition to “bomb craters,” in the northwest part of the anomaly there are strange holes in the ground that appear to have been excavated with heavy equipment. At least one of them looks like a trench of some kind, or possibly a bunker. The earth is heavily scarred here.

The pictures on Panoramio in this are aren’t much help. The captions are in Russian and not very explanatory, although I did find one that seems to refer to a “shooting range.” This is one of the large pits. One telling photo (the link is here) shows a crumbling old house on the edge of this area, dated 1956, and the Russian caption translates to something like “test area.”

belarus anomaly trenches

Trenches? Bunkers? Who knows? Click for larger/more detail.

This definitely looks military in nature. The combination of bomb craters, shooting ranges and bunkers, together with the arid and blasted look of the place, suggests to me that this was a bombing range or an area for weapons testing. Yet I can find nothing that clearly identifies what this area was, what it was used for, or why it was abandoned. My guess is it’s Cold War era and possibly some kind of Soviet installation (Belarus was part of the USSR until 1991), or could even be left over from World War II.

If anyone can help me identify this curious anomaly, let me know.