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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

Olympic well – Lysa Hora, Ukraine

In 1975 young Soviet artist Vladimir Arsentyev won the competition for the symbol of the upcoming 1980 Summer Olympics.

The games fever expanded all across the USSR – all the more so because the XXII Olympiad was the first one ever held in Eastern Europe.

The Moscow’s Seven Sister logo became ubiquitous in the whole Soviet Union, not only officially but also in everyday life details – like atop this well in Ukrainian village Lysa Hora.

The Olympic well Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

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

Orbelian’s Caravanserai – Selim Mountain Pass, Armenia

At 2410 meters high at the Vardenyats Pass on the Armenian Caucasus, Orbelian (also known as Selim or Sulema) caravanserai stands from the early XIV century as a shelter for caravans travelling along the Silk Road, the legendary trade route connecting Europe to Far East.

The refuge was built between 1326 and 1332 by an order of powerful prince Chesar Orbelian, as carved on the facade; the family emblems – a winged quadruped and a bull, in high-relief – are portrayed on the architrave of the main entry.

The basalt stone lodging consists of a vestibule and a long, wide room where people and animals could spend the night away from dangers and mountains rough weather.

The sole beams of light break through the muqarnas-decorated oculi on the barrel vault, creating a rarified, still (and somehow disorientating) atmosphere in the pitch black.

Badly damaged in XVI and XVII century, the qaravanatun was restored during Soviet times, between 1956/1959.

Orbelian's Caravanserai – Main entrance Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Orbelian's Caravanserai – Oculus Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort