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Monday, September 5, 2011

Modern St. Petersburg, Our World Tuesday


When I first posted photos of Russia's Saint Petersburg (at one time called Leningrad) I received a comment saying "At least there aren't skyscrapers everywhere" and it's true, they aren't everywhere, but that doesn't mean there are none. During the Soviet era, many unattractive high-rise apartment and office buildings were erected in Russian cities, and most of them are still in use today. Since then, many more high-rise buildings have been erected, many of them much more attractively designed but, of course,  not all of them are lovely, either—for instance, the one behind the gold dome below, right. I don't know if it is pre- or post-Perestroika.



Certainly there are no skyscrapers erected in the beautiful Old City of Saint Petersburg, where palaces of the rich and powerful line the waterways, now being used as art galleries and museums to attract tourists, and also for the people of Russia to enjoy.


© Photos by Richard Schear
and Kay Davies




Russia is, of course, very much an industrial country, although 21st century St. Petersburg hides its industry in much more attractive buildings than the old red brick factories we saw crumbling by the side of the road as we travelled back to the ship from our excursions. There are even single-family dwellings in the photo below, and the housing complex on the other side of the river, while perhaps monotonous, is no worse than many housing complexes elsewhere.


However, you might well wonder what you see in the next photo. If we hadn't had our well-informed guide, Galina, explaining it to us, we would have been very puzzled. What are those boxy things below the highway overpass? Well, if you were a car-owner living in an apartment in Soviet Russia, you were entitled to a garage. Yes, looking like storage sheds (and what else is a garage but a shed for a vehicle?) these were the places where ordinary people kept their cars. Certainly inconvenient for most of them in terms of getting to work, they were nevertheless there for family outings on weekends or other days off.


Now, the Soviet era is 20 years past, and the people of Russia know full well how the other half lives, so they can have their cake, and eat...


Posted for Our World Tuesday,
the new meme hosted by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy
in memory of Klaus, the originator of My World Tuesday.

To see other worlds around this planet, please click HERE!

23 comments:

Gary said...

Another great tour, Kay. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Ebie said...

Am not surprise to see McD's all over the world!

Its a flourshing industrial country!

Sylvia K said...

It does look like a great city and I always enjoy the wonderful tours you take us on! It's great to be able to travel and see the world. I don't do it anymore, but I did lots of it in my younger days and have wonderful memories. Your photos are the next best thing to being there! Have a fun week, Kay!

Sylvia

Al said...

What a fascinating look at this city. I'd love to visit Russia one day.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A true big city -- mixed use and places for industry and people -- both necessities. I'm glad they kept the old town as it was. Those parking sheds are quite fascinating.

Tina said...

Nice shots :) - you are right, these are plums and apples :)

ceodraiocht said...

Beautiful shots in your mellow yellow post, the more industrial captures can be stunning but there's something oh so sad about them.

eileeninmd said...

It is a very interesting story and a great post, Kay! I like that they left the old city alone. The old building do look beautiful. Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing.

aka Penelope said...

I think McD’s will be on the moon if we ever set up shop there. That is an interesting backdrop of historic homogenous apartments with the small reddish building in the foreground. Hope the garages were within walking distance. Otherwise the owners would need a ride to get to their cars.

Jenn Jilks said...

That is amazing! I love learning about such. Great photos.

Karen said...

A great tour Kay!

Carver said...

Very interesting post with great shots showing the mix of styles. I think that's true of most cities with a history that have the skyscrapers next to the older, often times more beautiful buildings. Russian architecture has periods of so much beauty that it is startling to see some of the modern boring buildings against those fun domes of old.

Ebie said...

Hi Kay, yes there is a town called Buttonwillow, and we drove past this.

Honey at 2805 said...

Your pictures are great! St. Petersburg is really an interesting place!

Carola Bartz said...

Those ugly buildings were pre-Perestroika and all over Eastern Europe including East Germany. We call them "Plattenbauten". Since so much was destroyed after the war, this was the way to build living space for the fast growing population fast and cheap. And ugly. Yes, you really find McDonald's everywhere - yuck!!!
I like that you not only take pictures of the beautiful sites, but also show us the other sides as well. I love that!

Arija said...

That is quite a change since I was there in 1978. All those people silos had not been built and certainly non-party officials could neither afford a car nor a shed for it. I am glad you shared this seedier side of St.Petersburg with us. Life is not a fairy tale and there is a great difference between the beautifully preserved tourist attractions and every day Russian life. It is always good to see both sides of the coin.

Thank you so mush for posting this.

Margaret Duarte said...

What an interesting life you lead.

Cezar and Léia said...

Bonjour dear Kay!
Thanks for the great memories from this lovely city!These pictures are wonderful.Luna is here by my side also enjoying your post. :) She is sending purrs to the adorable Lindy!
Léia

Gattina said...

That makes me so angry if beautiful cities are spoiled with these glass boxes, especially when they are close to an ancient building ! We have so many examples in Brussels too !

Esther Garvi said...

Interesting! Thanks for bringing me to a place I've never been to and might not have the chance to go to in years to come!

Francisca said...

I appreciate this post, Kay. It gives me a real sense of the modern city St Petersburg is. It is, of course, wonderful to see the old parts with its grand architecture, but this shows me how things are today. Not too far from what I would expect, having seen a lot of Soviet style buildings in former East Europe as well as China, a friend of the USSR until the 60s.

SquirrelQueen said...

Fascinating! I am very intrigued by the garage sheds. That would be inconvenient but I suppose the people there don't see it that way.

The golden arches are everywhere.

Jackie said...

Interesting view of St. Petersburg. Somehow I never thought of it becoming modernised, which is silly, but there we are. Like Gattina, I don't care for the modern glass boxes either, but people need to live somewhere. I might be interested in one of those car sheds..I don't have a garage!