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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

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

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 (fences, living room, even wells) of the whole Soviet Union with the symbols of Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics.

Mishka the Olympic bear Fujifilm instax mini / Leica Sofort