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Posts tagged “Russia


Iron Curtain: eiserne Vorhang

Iron Curtain: eiserne Vorhang

1977 Supreme Soviet of the USSR declare the dictatorship of the proletariat fulfilled

University of Regensburg 1965

University of Regensburg 1965

Is Putin trying to revive the failed Soviet Union?images imgres imgresI was still in divided Germany in 1977 for the sixtieth anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Regensburg was less than an hour by car from the Czech border and the Iron Curtain. The outcome of the Cold War was far from clear.

How many more anniversaries would there be after that?
I could listen to their propaganda on my shortwave radio.
The Berlin wall crashes just twelve years later in 1989.

Boris Kustodiev and Nicholas Roerich



Europe Madrid 1974: More on one of my popular blogs


Europe Madrid 1974








Now, I’m asked tell us more about that first trip to Europe in 1974. The one when you were 17. The one forty years ago.

Madrid was the first city I visited in Europe.

Well, actually I was supposed to go when I was in 8th grade with my PE teacher, but that one fell through because we didn’t get enough people to sign up. There were other trips to choose from including ones to Germany and Salzburg.

The great thing about that Madrid trip was we spent a month  studying the art, history, and culture of the countries before we left. Europe has some great art museums. We spent time in Madrid just walking around looking at shops and supermarkets. They had interesting  soft drinks and coffees for sale. I am very excited. It is so much fun just walking around the hotel looking at things. We also visited Retiro park, the Rastro, Botins, a bullfight, and my favorite department store in Madrid el Corte Ingles. We also visited  the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace.

There is no king. Other landmarks include the great post office and telecommunications building and plaza mayor.Our trip also included a side trip to the ancient capital of Toledo. Madrid is a lively city with a great nightlife. I returned there in 1975, 1978 and with my wife in 1992. Well with the death of Franco in November 1975, Juan Carlos became King of Spain. He served until 2014 until he

abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI.

We ate most of our meals in the hotel, chicken I think, a few times we got beef. I went to my first discotheque in Madrid. Some of the girls got their nails done at Elisabeth Arden.  After a few days in Madrid we flew to Rome on Alitalia.

Madrid has a different culture. Everything shuts down after lunch. Shops close. Dinner often isn’t taken till after 10 o’clock at night. The national delicacy is pulpo in su tinta squid in its own ink.

Edie’s big five art museums, two are in Italy.

  1. The British Museum, London a little different no paintings
  2. Vatican Museum, Rome the atlanten,  Gallery of mosaic maps, and of course the Sistine Chapel
  3. Uffizi Gallery, Florence Botticelli, Leonardo, and Raphael. Now you have to wait in line forever. In 1974 you could just walk right in.
  4. images


    Hermitage, Leningrad/Saint Petersburg I went there twice.

  5. Louvre, Paris the word’s most famous and most visited museum with all those goodies. O, where to begin? You can visit the Louvre for free any day until your 18th birthday. Closed Tuesday.

Runners up

The Prado, Madrid


Goya Clothed and Naked Maja


KHM Infatada Maria Thersa

Museum of Fine arts (Kunsthistorishes museum) Vienna

Old picture gallery, Munich (Alte Pinakothek)

National Museum, Tokyo

  •  What is your favorite museum?
  • Do you remember your first trip abroad?
  • What interesting drinks or foods do you remember about that trip?
  • What was your favorite thing of memory about high school?
Leonardo Alte pinakotek

Leonardo Alte Pinakothek


Travel Post 2970 My View

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What is your favorite travel destination? Please share your travel experiences.

Who is your favorite painter?

Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day?

Berlin and Istanbul are both considered divided cities, but in a different way. Explain.

London:A Toby Jug for myself 1974

May Day Parade 1957. Left to right Georgy Zhuk...

May Day Parade 1957. Left to right Georgy Zhukov, Nikita Khrushchev, Nikolai Bulganin, Kaganovich, Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov and Anastas Mikoyan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7/29 Monday London

Last day in London. I got up early today to get David a present. I think I have something for everyone now. I got a nice porcelain vase for my grandmother.

Finally found a Toby jug for myself. Harrods didn’t have any. Can you believe it?? After that I came back and went to a pub with Cindy to use the rest of my luncheon vouchers.

Flew back to Chicago on TIA, then back to St. Louis by bus. The longest bus ride of my life. I’m so excited. What a great trip! I had a great time and have so many new friends now. I can’t wait to tell my friends about it.

A week after I got home Richard Nixon resigned. August 1974.

FINIS! End of Post

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev was born in 1894 to an illiterate peasant family in Kalinovka, a village near Russia’s border with Ukraine. To supplement his family’s meager income he began working at an early age, but despite this, and despite his father’s second job as a coal miner, Khrushchev’s family was unable to survive as farmers. In 1908 they moved to an industrial center in Ukraine, where young Nikita began working in a factory. It was the beginning of his activist career: at the age of 18, Khrushchev joined a group of workers who had organized a strike protesting working conditions. He was fired.

Khrushchev found another job but continued his activism, helping to organize strikes in 1915 and 1916. In 1917, after the Russian Revolution had ousted the Czar, Khrushchev joined the Bolshevik forces of the Red Army in the Russian civil war, serving as a political commissar. He was now a dedicated communist.

After the war, Khrushchev was given a series of political assignments and received his first formal training in Marxism at a Technical College. After graduation he was appointed to a political post in Ukraine, where Lazar Kaganovich, a protege of Joseph Stalin, was head of the Communist Party. Khrushchev joined Kaganovich in supporting Stalin in his power struggles against Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin. With Stalin’s success, Khrushchev’s career soared. In the 1930s Khrushchev was promoted from one political position to the next, until finally, in 1935, he became second in command of the Moscow Communist Party. In Moscow, Khrushchev oversaw construction of much of Moscow’s subway system, and in 1939 he became a full member of the Politburo.

Khrushchev’s rise to power coincided with one of the darkest periods in Soviet history: the Great Terror. During the 1930s, Stalin began a series of bloody purges to consolidate his power. The terror spread throughout the Soviet Union, and Khrushchev was part of it, denouncing several fellow students and workers as “enemies of the people” and willingly taking part in the extermination of the Ukrainian intelligentsia.

By the time Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Khrushchev had been sent to head the Communist Party in Ukraine, which put him near the front lines. He saw the devastation of war first-hand as the Germans routed the Red Army, then again as the Soviets turned back the Nazi advance.

After the war, Khrushchev was called back to Moscow, where he soon became one of Stalin’s top advisers. When Stalin died in 1953, Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin won a power struggle against Stalin’s successor, Georgi Malenkov, and secret police chief Lavrenti Beria. Beria was executed, and Malenkov was forced to resign. Bulganin became premier, but Khrushchev, in charge of the Communist Party, soon became the dominant figure.

Khrushchev’s leadership marked a crucial transition for the Soviet Union. From the beginning, Khrushchev set out to make the Soviet system more effective by curbing Stalin’s worst excesses. In an historic speech to the 20th Party Congress in 1956, he attacked Stalin for his crimes — acknowledging what many people believed, but which no Soviet leader had ever dared mention. What Khrushchev dared not mention was his own complicity in those crimes.

Khrushchev’s advocacy of reforms contributed to a groundswell of independence movements among Soviet satellite nations in Eastern Europe. While promoting change, Khrushchev would not tolerate dissent: he supported sending tanks into Budapest in 1956 to brutally suppress a Hungarian rebellion. The Iron Curtain remained in place.

In relations with the West, Khrushchev’s tenure was marked by a series of high-stakes crises: the U-2 affair, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile crisis. At the same time, he was the first Soviet leader to advocate “peaceful coexistence” with the West, and to negotiate with the United States on reducing Cold War tensions.

By 1964, his reforms had alienated too many powerful Soviet constituencies. A group of conservatives led by Leonid Brezhnev ousted Khrushchev, and he retired to a dacha in rural Russia, where he died in 1971.

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Bairisch als Sprachbezeichnung bezeichnet den oberdeutschen Dialekt, der in Ober- und Niederbayern, der Oberpfalz, in Österreich (Ausnahme Vorarlberg) und Südtirol heimisch ist. Im heutigen Bayern gibt es daneben noch das Schwäbische, das Ostfränkische, das Rheinfränkische und das Thüringische. Bairisch war einer der Hauptdialekte im späten 8. Jh. Bei den sprachlichen Merkmalen fällt auf, daß die zweite Lautverschiebung im Bairischen besonders konsequent vollzogen worden ist.


Bavarian, as a language designation denotes the upper German dialect, which is spoken native in Upper and Lower Bavaria, the Oberpfalz,  Austria (with the exception of the Vorarlberg) and South Tirol (Northern Italy). In  Bavaria of today, there also exist the dialects of Swabian, East Frankish, Rhine Frankish and Thuringian. Bavarian was one of the main German dialects of the late eighth century.  What is notable, linguistically is that the second sound shift is particularly consistent in Bavarian.

Simply stated, the Bavarian dialect is not spoken exclusively in the German Land/state of Bavaria, where other dialects are also spoken, but also in other countries such as Austria, Slovenia and N Italy. (trans. tcg)

Now London last stop 1974 part24/26

7/25 Thursday London

Stone of scone Coronation chair of Edward I

Westminster Abbey
Tomb of the Unkown Soldier WWI

So much for the traveling to London. Transferred from Helsinki at Copenhagen by air and then from Copenhagen to London. I just had time to buy my newspapers. We have been in sort of a news blackout since we’ve been in Russia.

Now that we are in London we have seen the Cypriots protesting at Trafalgar Square. We had five meals today and I ate every one. Hurrah for a private room, no matter how shabby! I can stay up as late as I want with no one to bitch and no one comes in at 4:00 a. m. It took 22 hours to get here. The demonstration was interesting but I don’t want to know about it until I read about it in Time. We are staying in a concrete high-rise at the University at least it has an elevator.

English: A perspective corrected image of Traf...

English: A perspective corrected image of Trafalgar Square in London, England. Taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 17-40mm f/4L lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight I went to Piccadilly Circus; it was great. Kim and I went out for ice cream. I asked one woman for directions and she walked with us from Marlebonne to Oxford circus, even though it was completely out of her way, she was headed the other way when I stopped her. She talked to us about many things. She was born during WWI and lived in London during WWII. She told us stories of the parties with her bothers, father, and friends. I could see how inflation really hurts her. She made many interesting points and gave us hers views from the shape of the world to the ballet. Kim and I finally made it to Piccadilly. I really liked all the signs. I have to see one of those movies. We had ice cream at a Wimpy Bar, just like Popeye. After talking to that lady I wonder how many other conversations I missed because I couldn’t speak the language.

Leningrad: History of the Great October Socialist Revolution part 23/27

Builders of the Leningrad. 1958

Builders of the Leningrad. 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the Russian SFSR in the USSR

Map of the Russian SFSR in the USSR (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

two scissors for Left-hand and Right-hand. Cle...

two scissors for Left-hand and Right-hand. Clean up of previous image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Russia (Photo credit: ccchan19)

7/23 Tuesday Leningrad

This morning we went to the museum for the history of the revolution. After the tour we saw a propaganda film on the siege of Leningrad. The film was in English with a few Russian subtitles. They kept talking about the fearsome, fascist forces and other things. It was so obviously propaganda it was funny. After lunch we went to the Hermitage, winter palace. The palace is just beautiful. I especially like the use of gold everywhere. Saw two paintings of da Vinci and other famous artists, including Raphael, (copies, original in Ufizzi). The Raphael collection was not very large. The throne room was fabulous, it’s hard to describe the splendor of the palace with sounding corny, but it is definitely the best on so far. The map of Russia is just beautiful. It was added after the revolution and is made of stone and precious and semi precious gems. The sea is lapis lazuli, the green (part of land) is malachite, the route to the North Pole (by the first Russian) is set in diamonds, and a Ruby represents the capital of each Soviet Republic. I made some very good trades outside the museum and finally got a package of those backwards Russian cigarettes. After dinner we went to the circus, on the bus I talked to two Russian in Russian (not at the same time) or at least the talked to me. One was nice but the way the second one kept smiling I think he was calling me names or something. The circus was fun and I made some more good trades. After the circus I went back to Todor’s and had a screwdriver made from Tang (with tap water) and Russian Vodka (I’m still living from the water and Vodka) at midnight I called Lisa; it was her birthday and she came up for awhile. I also called Ann.

7/24 Wednesday Leningrad

Went to the museum of Scientific Propaganda to see the technology of Russia, It was fun. Many of their newest products are already obsolete in the U. S. The thing that summed up Soviet progress the best was the leaky roof (HaHa). After the museum all, R. c. and I stopped to buy cakes for Lisa. She was really surprised at lunch. I didn’t notice in the store but the cake had a treble clef on it and Lisa is a musician. After lunch we went to the summer palace and I gave a tour on the way. We only saw the outside gardens but they were beautiful. I loved the gilt fountains. I saw some of the trick fountains, but would have liked to have seen more. I walked with Mr. Cordell for awhile. On the hydrofoil back I talked to Alla again. This time about my being left-handed. She had never heard of it, or seen anyone before. I’d noticed other people staring at me too. You’d think ion a commie country they’d want everyone on the left. accessed April 4 After dinner I went up to the party for one last time. 

Large Map of the former Soviet Union accessed 2012 April 4  A few years later I experienced a similar phenomenon is China while travelling with my two brother. All three of us are left handed. People would say, that’s great that you know how to eat with chopsticks, but who taught you to use your left hand.  Tomorrow on to London and our Last city

I want to stay now 1974

English: Saint-Petersburg collage Русский: Вид...

English: Saint-Petersburg collage Русский: Виды Санкт-Петербурга (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saint Isaacs Cathedral

7/22 Monday Leningrad

Peter and Paul Cathedral

I’m beginning to feel better about Leningrad now I want to stay. This morning we went to the Peter and Paul fortress and saw the prison, then we went to the cathedral. Many of the Czars are buried in this cathedral.

I’m afraid to write things because I don’t want my journal taken away, and I don’t want to get Alla in trouble but I have been having good discussions with her.

After lunch I went to St. Isaac’s the third largest cathedral in the world and waited to buy tickets. Just as I go to the window to buy tickets the office closed, What a gyp! Met a Russian student in line who was very eager to speak English to someone. He sail he had never spoken to anyone before outside of his English class. He was a Marxist philosopher and wanted to know about American philosophy and other things, especially American music. He wanted to know the top singers and rock groups. He said a Beatles Abbey Road album costs about 110 rubles unofficially (black market) but that there was no way to get records. He told us the big hassle there is to leave Russia (even for a vacation). He wanted to show us the bad parts of Leningrad, but I didn’t go because I didn’t know if it would be safe. He did take us up and down the Nevsky Prospekt and to other places, though. The Nevsky Prospekt is the big shopping street of Leningrad. It is 4 kilometers long and has many shops including a Beryozka. It is similar to the Via Condoti and Via Veneto of Rome and of the main district in Madrid too, but it is much more crowded and the goods they sell aren’t as high class. This guy took us to two Beryozka shops one on Nevsky which had high class things—jewelry, watches, china and appliances. The other shop was in the Astoria. I liked it better. I bought a Russian lacquer box there and also a book of stamps. The people were really friendly. I met a girl there from Connecticut who handed me a piece of gum for a pin, as a joke. She was dying for news from the sates but I had been gone almost as long as she had. Wadum kept trying to spend his foreign currency there but they kept giving him other kinds. He gave them Marks, they gave him Francs, and finally they gave him 5 cents and a 6p stamp. We tried to get home on a bus. I have never seen a bus so crowded before in my life. I lost Wadum on the bus, because I couldn’t get off. When I finally got off, I asked a man for directions in German.


A. Semionov. Nevsky Prospekt in Holiday. 1970

A. Semionov. Nevsky Prospekt in Holiday. 1970 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He understood me. He walked all the way down to Nevsky Prospekt with me to the train station and made sure I got on the right train. This man had an interesting life. He was 70 years old and had lived in Leningrad for 50 years during WW I he was in Hungary and Rome. He learned German in school and I had a good time talking to him. After I got off the train I asked for directions again. I discovered that the young people would not help me only the older ones. I don’t know if this is because they’re afraid of strangers or Americans or just don’t know the city, but I doubt it.

Bulgarian not Russian

Bulgarian not Russian

Tonight I learned how to play a Yugoslavian card game from a Yugoslavian student and later went to a party in a guy’s room who was from Bulgaria. We had Havana rum and Bulgarian cigarettes. His name was Todor. I had and interesting experience as a translator. Going from English to, German to French to Russian to Bulgarian. He invited me back tomorrow for Russian Vodka and five Russian girls. (I nicknamed him Billy, I still corresponded with him while I was in college.)

Post 1974 Leningrad/St Petersburg USSR

7/21 Sunday Leningrad

Leningrad looks a lot nicer than Moscow. At night during the Summer they raise the many brides over the Neva. If you stay out late and are on the wrong side of the bridge it can be very expensive to get back to your hotel. However I’m dying for a drink—of water that is. This is the first city in which I can’t wait to leave. I got that feeling a lunch, but I hope that changes. Being sick doesn’t help my attitude either. I hope I don’t offend to many people but I think I’m turning mean. We are staying at “Druzhba” (“Friendship”) Hotel. It is on Krestovsky Island in the gulf of Finland. I’m rooming with David. They gave us a suite, because they said blacks are oppressed in the United States and David is black.

(In 1999 I would return to Leningrad, renamed St. Petersburg with my family including Aunt Margaret from Cincinnati The tour of Leningrad was much better than that of Moscow. Alla seemed to know a lot more, or at least told us more than the other guide. I once did a project of Russia, which involved the revolution. I’m glad I can see some of the things I read about. like the Aurora, winter and summer palaces Finland station and other places. I don’t see why a Czar would have a winter and summer palace in the same city. I also can’t see a Czar spending the winter in a cold place like Leningrad. The ballet tonight, Swan Lake was good but I don’t like ballet. It seemed that we went to a tourist place the titles were given in English. In addition, half the performance was taped, not live. Nevertheless, I still had a good time although I didn’t like the ballet. I hope I can find something to drink soon.

The PISKARIOVSKOYE MEMORIAL CEMETERY is dedicated to the men who died during the siege of Leningrad. There are mass graves and row after row of them, two million in all. The statue is dedicated to Mother Russia; she looks out over all her sons who died in the war. They also have their own Trevi fountain in the cemetery. It works the same way.

Leningrad was originally named St. Petersburg, it was changed to Petrograd during WWI, and after Lenin’s death changed to Leningrad. Peter the Great founded Leningrad on May 16, 1703. The city was built in order to help Russia hold the land it had won from the Swedes. Peter wanted Russia to have a sea outlet so he fought the Swedes, won. Took some land, and built a city on part of it. The first building was the Peter and Paul fortress, which soon came to be used as a political prison. Another early building was the Peter and Paul Cathedral. St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia until after the revolution, when it was moved to Moscow. For many years no stone buildings could be built anywhere but in Leningrad, during the Czars.

Moscow an old friend 1974

pre-revolutionary Russian postcard of Novodevi...

pre-revolutionary Russian postcard of Novodevichy Convent. Français : Carte postale pré-révolutionnaire montrant le Couvent de Novodievitchi. Русский: Дореволюціонная открытка Новодевичого монастыря. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Richard Nixon meets Leonid Brezhnev J...

English: Richard Nixon meets Leonid Brezhnev June 19, 1973 during the Soviet Leader’s visit to the U.S. Česky: Richard Nixon a Leonid Iljič Brežněv při Brežněvově návštěvě Spojených států 19. června 1973. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Lenin (Photo credit: Hryck.)

English: Moscow, the Kremlin. Cathedral Square

English: Moscow, the Kremlin. Cathedral Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grand Duchess Sofia at the Novodevichy Convent...

Grand Duchess Sofia at the Novodevichy Convent (1698). Oil on canvas. 201.8 × 145.3 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Vice President Richard M. Nixon and S...

English: Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the Kremlin. NARA. Special Media Archives Services Division (Still Pictures). RG306-RMN-1-21 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Russia (Photo credit: ccchan19)

7/18 Thursday Moscow

Today at breakfast I met a man from Baghdad. He is working on secret project in Russia. I think he is an engineer. I didn’t even know Baghdad was a real place people were from. It was an epiphany moment for me. He gave me a post card and wrote on it in Arabic. Baghdad is just about due south of Moscow. Iraq is a client state of the USSR.

The old convent museum was a beautiful building. The Orthodox Church service at Novodevichy Convent made me so sad. I’m afraid I offended some women, by not knowing the rules in the church. Such as standing with both feet together and keeping my hands at my sides. I would have lit a candle but they might have misunderstood. It was so sad to see the old women bending on their knees. It appears that only old women remain in the church. I didn’t see many men. The treasures in the convent are beautiful. I guess I am more impressed by a whole wall decorated with icons than just one, because I didn’t like the ones at the Tretyakov. We were one of the first people to see the newly unveiled tombstone of Nikita Khrushchev.

The party tonight was fantastic. I finally got the feeling that the Russians were trying to do something for us. I got to talk to more Russians. One in German. One man was a member of the party, one a worker, and one I don’t know what he did. But more about them later. The Lenin Library was also interesting and I also enjoyed the collection of rare books. I’m glad that I’ve had opportunities to talk to Russians. I’m glad they took us to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Kremlin. I wanted to see it and would have made an extra trip. Our hosts were at the Lenin library the equivalent of the Library of Congress. We met some important people and were even on Russian t. v. They even gave us a book, OTETSCHESVO (Fatherland) to take back to our school. One of the men had been a translator in Washington for the Brezhnev summit at Camp David in 1973. He gave me a keychain. President Nixon had been in Moscow just this month to sign a historic document with Brezhnev and the USSR.

Three Year Nazi Siege of Leningrad 1941

Map of Siefe of Leningrad

Map of Siefe of Leningrad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bronze Horseman camouflaged from the Germa...

The Bronze Horseman camouflaged from the German aircraft during the Siege of Leningrad, August 8, 1941. Source: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Free Money Collection in Cash

Free Money Collection in Cash (Photo credit:

“Sailors going to the front”. Sailors going to...

“Sailors going to the front”. Sailors going to the front. Leningrad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)