Page last updated at 19:49 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Latvia auctions off military ghost town for $3m

Deserted buildings and a sign in Skrunda-1. Photo: 5 February 2010
The new owner did not reveal what he intends to do with the property

Latvia has sold an entire town once used by the Soviet military as a base.

The deserted town formerly known as Skrunda-1 was auctioned off to a Russian firm for $3m (£1.9m) - about 10 times its list price, officials said.

The lot includes 45 hectares (111 acres) of land, 10 apartment blocks, two nightclubs, a shopping centre, kindergarten, barracks and a sauna.

The town was abandoned after Russian troops withdrew from Latvia in 1994, following the collapse of the USSR.

The town, about 150km (93 miles) west of Riga, was sold to the Aleksejevskoje-Serviss company, Latvia's privatisation agency which carried out the auction said on Friday.

"It is positive that property which has been empty for a long time and where there has been no economic activity has been sold," the agency said.

It did not say what the property would be used for.

Skrunda-1 was a closed settlement not marked on Soviet maps because it was used as anti-missile radar base.

The base was pulled down in the late 1990s.

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