On January the 31th, 1990, the first McDonald's opened in the Soviet Union, less than two years before that country actually ceased to exist. The road to that historic opening had been long, with some people saying that the talks with Soviet officials had started as far back as 1976, almost a quarter of a century. Many people saw this opening as a sign of distension in the international relations between the USSR and the USA and on both sides of the Ocean, the interest was really high. This was, in fact, going to be the first ever foreign restaurant in the Soviet Union and for McDonald this was, at the time, their largest restaurant ever, a venue with 900 seats.
A few months ago my wife Nastya and I discovered a great way to get to see as many museums as we like in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and even enjoy free coffee and cappuccinos as a bonus! After a few months of using PassCity I am ready to recommend it to you without hesitation. Full... Continue Reading →
The city of Smolensk is one of the oldest in Russia. The first recorded mention of the city was 863 AD, two years after the founding of Kievan Rus'. Throughout its history, also due to the fact that the city lays in the westernmost part of Russia, geographically very close to other European powers, Smolensk saw a great number of battles and foreign invasions. In the early 1400s the city was conquered and became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and with tens of thousands of people living there, Smolensk was probably the largest city in 15th-century Lithuania.
The title of this post could have easily been: "On the merits of taking the picture you want to take even if (or when) you don't have any of the right gear". But let's start from the beginning.
When we say "Kremlin", we immediately think about Moscow Kremlin and the word is often used as a synonym for "the Russian government", as this is where the country's president has his office. In reality, in Russian Kremlin (Кремль) means "fortress" or "citadel" and many old Russian cities and towns have their own kremlin. It is a fact, on the other hand that the Moscow Kremlin is in many aspects the hearth of the hole country.
Originally the staircase, which is has over 1.500 steps, was simply "Volga Staircase" but it was soon renamed Chkalov Staircase, after the world-famous test pilot and hero of the Soviet Union Valery Chkalov, the first man to fly from Moscow, to Vancouver, Washington, in the United States via the North Pole on an Tupolev ANT-25 plane, a non-stop distance of 8,811 kilometres (5,475 mi).
Taganskaya is a beautiful station on the brown n.5 Koltsevaya Line (circular line) of the Moscow Metro. Designed by architects K. Ryzhkov and A. Medvedev, the station opened on 1 January 1950.
Ok, I'll admit right away that this is not a strictly Russia-only culture shock, but coming from Western Europe, a shock it is nonetheless! A while ago I went to take picture for the completion of a new, architecturally very interesting building in Moscow. The image you see above is not that of some guy... Continue Reading →
The construction of the first Soviet skyscraper project, Palace of the Soviets, was interrupted by the German invasion of 1941, at which point the steel frame was scrapped in order to fortify the Moscow defense ring, and the site was abandoned.
Today I want to present you the Artika train (Artic train), that takes you from Moscow to Murmansk, above the Artic Circle, and/or back. Murmansk is by far the largest city north of the Arctic Circle (with a population of around 300.000 people) and is a major port on the Arctic Ocean. It is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, an inlet of the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, close to Russia's borders with Norway.