Even some natives of Saint-Petersburg wonder when I say that there is a real submarine you can visit in our city. «Narodovolets» was one of the first soviet submarines. Built in 1929, it participated in WWII and served till 1956, then it was turned into a training station and finally, in 1993, it was made a museum.
You can visit the submarine by yourself or with a tour ( I recommend the first option as the tour is available only in Russian). The interiors look exactly the same way they looked in the 40-s. Climbing inside the tiny passages of the submarine you can hardly imagine how the crew of 53 people could live and work for several months there though you can see the cots submariners slept in or the captain’s cabin that looks more like a cupboard.
In fact, Narodovolets has a very glorious history. When Germany declared war to the Soviet Union, the submarine was on modernization in Saint-Petersburg and it couldn’t join the navy immediately. In summer of 1942 the works were over and the submarine was tested right in the Neva river and then sent to patrol the Baltic sea.
Soon after the beginning of its military mission the submarine was caught into anti-submarine net and damaged. To cut the net, submariners worked for hours in icy water knowing that if they were found the rest of the crew wouldn’t probably have time to take them back on board. When nazy pilots noticed the submarine, it had to submerge, but one of the crew members who was cutting the net at the moment was left in water. When the threat was over the submarine returned for him and luckily he was alive and got well. The crew could free the sub form the net and later they sank and damaged several ships of the enemy.
How to get there: Narodovolets submarine is situated next to the huge exhibition complex called Lenexpo. You can reach it from Primorskaya or Vasileostrovskaya metro station. I would recommend Vasileostrovskaya as you will be able to see one interesting mystic building on your way to the submarine. From Vasileostrovskaya take «marshrutka» buses №183, 690, 349, 44 or 309 ( but ask the Lenexpo stop first to be 100% sure). Once you are there go along the exhibition pavilions till you see the submarine. In Russian the submarine is called «Podvodnaya lodka Narodovolets» ( Подводная лодка Народоволец).
Timetable: Closed every Monday, Tuesday and the last Thursday of the month. Ticket office is open from 11:00 to 17:00.