Crabs, bats and communists, in Cuba's greatest Soviet souvenir.
For a small and often overlooked country, Moldova has already provided an impressive number of articles for this site. In the past I’ve written about an abandoned Soviet-era circus in the capital, the dark history of the Chisinau Ghetto, and also the Moldovan ‘Limba Noastră’ festival, which got a mention in my post on socialist street parties. Then of course, there’s Transnistria – a contested state which, despite its bid for independence, the rest of the world recognises simply as a troubled region within the borders of Moldova.
That’s five posts so far – not bad for a little nation of just 3.5 million people. As it happens though, I’m still not finished with Moldova.
I’ve already shared galleries on here for future posts that I plan to write about Transnistria; but I’ve got more to say about the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, as well.
So far I’ve only featured specific locations (and events) in the city, but I feel like I’d still like to write something that more broadly describes the texture and atmosphere of the place… and for me, one of the most memorable characteristics of Chisinau was its superb range of socialist-realist monuments.
There are specific monuments I’ll write about here – most notably the huge Victory Monument, composed of red concrete rifles arranged in a stack around an eternal flame – but more generally I want to give an impression of how it all fits together; the juxtaposition of these physical remnants of Soviet heritage, against contemporary street culture. I won’t just be looking at socialist-realism, but rather taking a step back to see how these heavily Soviet-influenced styles fit into the broader canvas of Chisinau.
If my last posts about Moldova have fallen under the headings of ‘urban exploration’ and ‘dark tourism,’ then this next one will be more a case of traditional travel writing. Until then, you can have a look through my photo album below.