Sukhumi Railway Station, Abkhazia

On the picturesque Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, Sukhumi train station was planned in 1938 to connect the Transcaucasus Railway to Adler.

The present, severe building was opened on December 1, 1951 and designed by architects Levan and Lola Mushkudiani in the USSR fashion du jour, the monumental Stalinist Empire style.

The décor was rather luxurious at the time: all façades were lined with granite and marble, windows and cash registers were made out of chestnut and genuine parquet covered the floor of the restaurant.
The star-crowned station was built to host 500 to 1000 passengers at once.

The edifices were then damaged during the Abkhaz-Georgian war and used as ammunition depot. They became fully operational again only in 2004.

Currently, the main building is under renovation and the station serves only a few trains running from and towards Russia.

Sukhumi Train Station Impossible Yellow Duochrome Third Man Records Edition / Polaroid 636 Closeup

The Olympic Misha in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Oldest city of the country, Osh is regarded as the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan.
As a result of the 1970s industrialization, lots of concrete-paneled apartment buildings were built; they couldn’t be taller than 5 storeys due to the high seismicity level of the area.

At that time in the USSR many side façades used to get decorated with the most popular Soviet themes – from the timeless “Slava Trudu” to traditional folk motifs.

One of the best known still exists in Osh: right next to a likewise enormous Aeroflot mosaic commercial, Misha the Olympic bear proudly smiles from the wall of a khrushchyovka.

Hidden among dusty streets, the über cute jumbo-sized mascotte was allegedly assembled during the late Seventies, when the rising games fever led to embellish every spot (living room walls as well) of the whole Soviet Union with the symbols of Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics.

Mishka the Olympic bear Fujifilm instax mini / Leica Sofort

Buzludzha, Bulgaria

Among the most iconic flying saucers in the world, this béton brut monster overtops the landscape of Stara Planina, halfway between Plovdiv and Veliko Tărnovo.

Its story dates back to the early Seventies, when a fundraising among Bulgarian people was promoted by the government: a party house had to be built on Buzludzha peak.

Architect Georgi Stoilov (later also designer of the Arch of Liberty in the Beklemeto Pass) came up with the idea of a gigantic brutalist ufo landed on the top of the mountain – plus an adjoining majestic tower proudly sporting two embellished glass red stars, alleged to be among the biggest in the whole Eastern Bloc.

The raw concrete spaceship was inaugurated on 23th of August 1981. The monument was public and available for free.

Massive crowds went to admire the grandeur of the brand new building: the magnificent view from the ribbon windows on the deck, the extra-large hammer and sickle on the dome, the mosaics on the round huge hall – on one side Marx, Engels and Lenin, opposite Blagoev, Dimitrov and the General Secretary Zhivkov, even though at that times still alive and ruling.

Unfortunately, the luck of Buzludzha memorial was very short.

In use only for 8 years, in 1989 it was abandoned to its destiny following the collapse of People’s Republic of Bulgaria.
The Monument House of Bulgarian Communist Party was left to rot, becoming one of the most beloved urban exploration destinations of the Balkans.

Its fate is still unclear.

Buzludzha Memorial Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The dome Fujifilm instax mini / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The observation deck Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The observation deck Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial – The observation deck Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The dome Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial Fujifilm instax mini / Leica Sofort

Karosta, Latvia

Karosta means in Latvian “war port” – and it couldn’t be more evident.

Between the 19th and the 20th century, the Russian Empire began to fortify Liepāja. Massive coastline batteries were raised along its northern shore in order to prevent potential attacks from the Germans. The base hosted several submarines and many warships of the Imperial Navy.

Nevertheless, on November 1908 the fort was declared a tactic failure. It was completely demobilised and partially blown up – its solid concrete walls, yet almost intact, crumbling in one piece into the sea.

As a highly strategical point – the port doesn’t ice even during harsh winters – after World War II the fort was permanently occupied by the Soviet Armed Forces. Liepāja became a closed military city, the naval base secreted and excluded from the maps.
The Red-Banner Baltic Fleet and its nuclear weaponry stationed in Karosta until the early Nineties, when Latvia obtained its independence.

Fort de Liepāja Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Northern Fort – Soviet storage bunker Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Northern Fort – Soviet storage bunker Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Northern Fort Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Fort de Liepāja Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Northern Fort – Soviet storage bunker Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Northern Fort Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort