monument

Stalin statue – Gori railway station, Georgia

Iron Man’s hometown, the Georgian city of Gori still hosts one of the last surviving statues of Iosif Stalin.

Inside a polished, freshly green-painted vaulted lounge at the main train station, a marble figure of the austere moustached Soviet leader stands out among the passengers waiting for their ride.

Stalin statue in the waiting hall Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

We are our mountains – Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh

National symbol of de facto Republic of Artsakh, the monument was sculpted in 1967 by Soviet Armenian artist Sargis Baghdasaryan.

Carved out of reddish volcanic tufa and at one with nature, these enormous elderly in their folk clothes – hence the nickname “tatik-papik”, grandpa and grandma – are to represent the centenarians people of the mountains and the heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tatik-Papik, Stepanakert Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF

Hammer and Sickle – Segezha, Karelia

Huge hammer and sickle monument on a traffic divider in Segeža, Russia.

Main industrial center of Soviet Karelia, the city hosted a plant for the production of reinforced concrete and the ЦБК, the largest paper packaging kombinat of the USSR.

Hammer and Sickle monument Polaroid Color 600 Summer Haze Edition / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Hammer and Sickle monument Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

Monument to Yuri Gagarin, Moscow

One of the most loved Soviet personalities, Yuri Gagarin was the first human ever to travel in space.

Aboard the Vostok1 he completed in 108 minutes the orbit of the Earth on the 12nd of April 1961.

Dead in 1968 during a routine flight and buried in the Cremlin Walls, the young and smiling next door’s cosmonaut got his definitive consecration as a superhero in 1980, when a gigantic statue was erected in Moscow’s Leninsky avenue.

Made of shiny titan as spaceships are, the column is 42 meters tall and features a 12-meters-high Gagarin spreading his arms over a rocket-trailed pedestal.

Unveiled on the 4th of July, just two weeks before the official opening of the Summer Olympics, the monument was designed by the popular sculptor Pavel Bondarenko and the renowned architect Yakov Belopolsky – the latter also planner of Soviet War Memorial in East Berlin’s Treptower Park.

Monument to Yuri Gagarin Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid 636 Closeup

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