Tag Archives: photo

The St. Petersburg Palace of Soviets

Lenin stands before the Palace of Soviets in St. Petersburg.

Lenin stands before the Palace of Soviets in St. Petersburg.

The Saint Petersburg Palace of Soviets was built by Josef Stalin in an attempt to relocate the city center away from the bourgeois downtown area. Stalin also hoped to have a magnificent building of his own to counterbalance all the Tsarist palaces in and around the city, such as The Hermitage and Tsarskoye Selo.

However, World War II stalled Stalin’s relocation plans, and the center of St. Petersburg remains in its bourgeois location. But even the area around the Palace of Soviets, on Moskovski Prospekt, is looking pretty upscale these days.

The massive statue of Lenin now glares at a Nike store and a Sberbank. Just down the road, hungry former party members can pick up a Big Mac and fries at McDonalds, and contemplate the massive hammer and sickle atop the palace while eating the best of American capitalism.

Even the palace fountains add to the upscale atmosphere. I mean, who ever heard of proletarian fountains?

Click here for more photos from the Palace of Soviets.

Photos: Boat Trip Down the Neva

The Cruiser Aurora next to billboards on the Neva.

The Cruiser Aurora next to billboards on the Neva.

Click here for more photos from our cruise on the Neva River.

Photos: Churches and Monasteries around Vologda

A monastery about 130 kilometers north of the city of Vologda.

A monastery about 130 kilometers north of the city of Vologda.

Click here for more photographs of churches and monasteries near Vologda.

Photos: Scenes around Vologda

A small town about 130km north of Vologda.

A small town about 130km north of Vologda.

Click here for more photos from the area around Vologda.

Proletarian lace

Victory to the USSR

Lace: Victory to the USSR

Vologda is known for a few things, namely monasteries, dairy products, and lace.

Come October 1918, being an agricultural center famed for making such a bourgeois thing as lace wasn’t a mark in favor of Vologda in the minds of the Bolsheviks. Neither, of course, was Vologda’s pro-White (that’s Anti-Bolshevik) political orientation during the Russian Civil War.

Indeed, Vologda suffered heavily during Lenin’s Red Terror, and later during the collectivization imposed by Stalin (Not so much for making lace, but more because the area was largely populated by farmers).

In any event, the lace-makers of Vologda faced a challenge: how to reconcile their decidedly upper-class product with the Soviet Union’s proletarian ideals.

The solution: Lace glorifying industry, agriculture, and the Soviet Union, as we saw at the Vologda Lace Museum. Click here to see a few pieces of Soviet lace.

The overnight train to Vologda

My apologies for not putting up a post for the last week. It’s been busy since we returned from Vologda Monday morning. But I’ll be publishing lots of photos from Vologda over the next few weeks to try and make up for it.

A countryside scene on the way to Vologda.

A countryside scene on the way to Vologda.

It takes about 12 hours by overnight train to cover the 600 kilometers from St. Petersburg straight east to Vologda, a small, “authentic,” Russian town. We, the whole Duke in St. Petersburg group, left for Vologda last Friday evening, spent two full days there, and returned to St. Petersburg early Monday morning.

Vologda is several times larger than Rockville, or for you Dukies, around the size of Durham, but it retains a small-town feel, perhaps because it’s population is spread over such a large area. Few tourists venture to Vologda, and just about zero Americans. It’s a pity, because Vologda and the surrounding area is beautiful, full of old Russian (15th-16th century) churches and monasteries, open countryside, and fresh air.

I’ll be writing more about Vologda as I sort through and post photos from my trip, but for now, click here to view photographs shot from the windows of our leisurely train ride.

A steel plant near Vologda.

A steel plant near Vologda.

Photo: Walking a Dog

A man walks his dog in a strip of grass adjacent to the Gulf of Finland.

A man walks his dog in a strip of grass adjacent to the Gulf of Finland.

The Saint Petersburg Mosque

The Saint Petersburg Mosque

The Saint Petersburg Mosque

The St. Petersburg Mosque, when it was completed in the waning days of the last Tsar, could hold many of St. Petersburg’s 8,000 Muslims. The massive mosque stands tall near the Neva River, not far from the Peter and Paul Fortress and other central St. Petersburg landmarks.

That the mosque survived the Bolshevik Revolution and the siege of Leningrad is incredible. However, the beautiful building was used as a warehouse starting in the 1940’s, and was only allowed to again function as a mosque at the request of Indonesia’s president in 1956. The mosque continues to serve St. Petersburg Muslims to this day, and the interior of the building is open only to members

Flying a Kite by the Gulf

A man flies a kite near the Gulf of Finland.

A man flies a kite near the Gulf of Finland.