The dish at Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre

• Culture • Military history

Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre is located in the village of Irbene, in a former Soviet army town in western Latvia. The 32-metre wide radio telescope is the largest such in Northern Europe and the eighth largest in the world. Another 16-metre wide telescope is also still in use. Formerly these telescopes were used to listen in on transmissions from the United Kingdom and the USA during the cold war. Today they are used for scientific purposes, listening in on the universe. Guided tours offer a fascinating insight into this former top-secret Soviet installation.