Ever since there have been organised states, there have been agents working behind the curtains, as well as things that regimes have sought to protect from prying eyes and ears.
The revealed activities of both these agents and sites are fascinating to some travellers, even if the themes exposed, events and specfic methods (aka tradecraft) inolved can seem brutal, controversial or in some instances downright surreal.
|“||Hence it is that which none in the whole army are more intimate relations to be maintained than with spies.
None should be more liberally rewarded.
In no other business should greater secrecy be preserved.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
- 1 Japan Coast Guard Museum, 1-2-1 Shinkō, Naka-ku, Yokohama. The museum contains a North Korean spy vessel, which was sunk in the East China Sea in 2001.
- 2 MİT Museum of Espionage (Ankara, Turkey). A museum operated by the National Intelligence Organization. It was kept secret until 2011. Normally closed to the public, it has occasionally be opened for tours in the past.
- 3 KGB Museum (Музей КГБ), Vlašska 13, 118 00 Praha 1, Malá Strana (Prague/Castle and Lesser Town), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM-5PM. Museum of World War 2 and Cold War era espionage and covert operations. Many unique historical artifacts on display. Includes a tour (30 - 40 minutes) in English or Russian. Tours start every 30 minutes, or whenever guests arrive. Entrance fee of 14 EUR or 380 CZK can be paid in either currency. Basic knowledge of Soviet history is recommended, not suitable for young children. Famous for its collection of weapons, which visitors can hold and make pictures with. 14€.
- 4 KGB Museum, Riia 15b (Tartu), ☏ . This nondescript building was known as the Gray House and was the headquarters of the Estonian KGB. It tells the story of how the prisoners were treated there, and some stories about the Estonian resistance heroes, the Forest Brothers. The museum is small and does not have a very big sign, so look carefully.
- 5 Spy Museum (Vakoilumuseo), Satakunnankatu 18 (Tampere). Jun-Aug: M-Sa 10-16, 11-17. Sep-May: M-Sun 11-17. Claims to be the first spy museum in the world, exhibiting everything from world-famous spies to their equipment such as spy cameras and secret weapons - many of which you can try. You can also attempt to fool the classic lie detector. 8€ for adults, 6€ for children and students.
- 7 Berlin Friedrichstraße station (Berlin/Mitte). During the cold war, this railway station was a major crossing point between East and West Germany. The station is said to have been used by several spies to cross the border and is mentioned in several spy novels. It was also "tear palace" where tearful goodbyes between members of families separated by the wall took place after visits.
- 8 Former KGB Prison Potsdam (Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte Ehemaliges KGB-Gefängnis Potsdam), Leistikowstr. 1 (Potsdam). Tue-Sun 14:00-18:00, Mon closed. Memorial and meeting place at the former KGB prison. From August 1945 it was occupied by soviet forces. It has been reconstructed as a prison for the counterintelligence. Today it's been left standing to remind people of the depressing reality of dictatorships. Free entry.
- 9 Glienicke Brücke (over the Havel River near Berlin). Once a border crossing during the Cold War, this bridge is best known as the Bridge of Spies, and was used as an exchange point for captured spies between the United States and the Soviet Union.
- 10 Former KGB Building, 61 Brīvības iela (Riga/Centrs), ☏ . The former KGB building is actually an attractive, ornate historic building at the corner of Brivibas and Stabu. It is now a branch of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, holding a general exhibition about the KGB activities, and guided tours of the cellar where interrogations took place.
- 11 Lubyanka, the KGB prison (Лубя́нка), Lubyanka Square (Moscow/Central-North). Open to the public. The Lubyanka is the popular name for the headquarters of the KGB and affiliated prison on Lubyanka Square. It is a large Neo-Baroque building with a facade of yellow brick designed by Alexander V. Ivanov in 1897 and augmented by Aleksey Shchusev from 1940 to 1947. Today headquarters of the Border Guard Service of Russia, and houses the Lubyanka prison and one directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). In addition a museum of the KGB (now called Историко-демонстрационный зал ФСБ России, Historical-demonstration hall of the Russian FSB) was opened.
- 12 Bletchley Park, The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Sherwood Dr, Bletchley, MK3 6EB (near Milton Keynes), ☏ . Milton Keynes has a claim to being the home of the modern computer, as the German Enigma codes were cracked by Sir Alan Turing at Bletchley Park. The historic value of this site and its importance to the development of the computer has now been belatedly recognised in the form of a museum with a significant number of things to do for both adults and children
- 13 Museum of the Ministry of the Interior (Memorial de la Denuncia), 5ta Avenida, Havana. Museum about 40 years of Cuba's intelligence service, including some exhibits on failed attempts by US agencies. $2.
- 14 International Spy Museum, 800 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20004 (Washington, D.C./East End), ✉ email@example.com. A museum exploring the history, and role of espionage, from historical events up to contemporary issues.
- 15 National Cryptologic Museum (Fort Meade, Central Maryland).
- 16 SpyScape, 928 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019, ☏ .