Skrunda is best known as the town nearest the former Soviet secret city, Skrunda-1, which housed two major radar installations during the Cold War period. One radar was demolished in 1995. Pursuant to an agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Russian Federation, the other radar suspended operations on August 31, 1998. In October 1999, after several months of dismantling, the dismantled installations were repatriated to Russia and the last Russian troops and families vacated the area.
Skrunda-1 is currently a ghost town, as the last remaining residents abandoned the town in 1999. The Soviet Union, when building secret installations, usually left the name of the settlement off the map and referred to them literally by the name of the nearest town, plus a number (usually a 1).
In February 2010 the town was sold to an Russian investor for 1.6 million Latvian lats ($3.1 million); after that bidder (and a runner-up) backed out, the property was auctioned on June 4, 2010 to Iniciative Europa for 170,000 Latvian lats ($333,000). As of 2012, the property remains abandoned with a lone guard blocking the main entrance to keep tourists away.
No word yet on what the winning bidder will do with 45 hectare (110 acre) property that is located in western Latvia about 150 km (95 mi) from Riga.