The 8th of September 1941 is one of the saddest days in the history of Saint Petersburg (which was called Leningrad, at the time) and the first of 872 days of siege by the Nazis. The two-and-a-half year siege caused extreme famine in the Leningrad region through disruption of utilities, water, energy and food supplies. This resulted in the deaths of up to 1,500,000 soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, mainly women and children, many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment.
After travelling eastbound for four hours from Moscow on the Lastochka, a recorded announcements informs you that "the train is now arriving in the Hero City of Smolensk" and you have reached a lesser known, but incredibly interesting destination. Hero City (Russian: город-герой, gorod-geroy) is a Soviet honorary title awarded for outstanding heroism during World... Continue Reading →
At first glance this is likely to look like the picture of a bridge going over some marsh land or a small, shallow valley. It is not so. The "white pavement" the gentleman in the photo is walking over, is actually the mighty river Volga. Frozen, of course, but still... The scene takes place in... Continue Reading →