Archive for August, 2011

Degradation of the War
August 21, 2011


For the monuments that make you shiver, these giants that guard the history of the city…

To let you know how much damage lust for power can do.


1. During the World War II, when many people were starving due to the Leningrad Blockade by Axis powers military forces, the church was used as a temporary storage site for the corpses of those who died both in combat and of starvation and illness. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Savior on Potatoes.

2. Under the Soviet government, the building was stripped of religious trappings, then turned into the Museum of Scientific Atheism. The dove sculpture was removed, and replaced by a Foucault pendulum. During the World War II, the dome was painted over in gray to avoid attracting attention from enemy aircraft. On its top, in the skylight, a geodesical intersection point was placed, with the objective of aiding in the location of enemy canon.

3. In 1928, the Soviet government ordered the Hermitage to compile a list of valuable works of art for export. In 1930-1934, over two thousand works of art from the Hermitage collection were clandestinely sold at auctions abroad or directly to foreign officials and businesspeople. With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, before the Leningrad Blockade started, two trains with a considerable part of the collections were evacuated to Yekaterinburg. Two bombs and a number of shells hit the museum buildings during the siege.


City Tour
August 13, 2011

Do you think London is the only place to find double-deckers?


No matter how hard you struggle to discover a city by yourself, nothing compares to a guide. That is why, one day, we chose to run away from the hot summer sun and let the chilly breeze on the upper deck of this bus run through our hair. You see the world different from up here, just because you are with a “storey” above everyone else. So off we went…

Centuries of history passed in front of our eyes, bearing the colours of different times.

What I found great about this trip,though, was the audio guide. Each one of us was provided with a pair of headphones that we had to insert in the front chair. Not only did it have more and better organized information than you will ever find on-line, but it was also synchronized with the actual trip. So, whenever you turned and came across a building, it would tell you about that particular building in one of the 10 most popular languages here. Another helping item was the map we were given, which marked the most important tourist attractions, as well as the pauses they made to give us time to take pictures.

All in all, it was worth it.

And P.S.: Good job, City Tour! 😀

The Sublime
August 1, 2011

As you walk along the Neva River, a gilded sparrow pierces the atmosphere at some point. It is like a frozen sword stuck in the chest of the sky for eternity. Between petrifaction and release, it is the core of everything that is beautiful with no reason.

This is the very start of decades of history.

“We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.” (The Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde)