Tolko U Nas V Rossii Только У Нас В России

This is the first among the series of posts which I will be writing, about my love-it-hate-it relationship with this city that I'm currently living in...

I've been trying my best to avoid having to have to blog about this. The truth is, after nearly 6 years living here in Kursk, Russia, I do kind of have a bond with this place. As much as all of us here hate to admit it, I believe we'll all miss this town once we leave it in another year's time.

Just to think that when we first arrived, we were greeted by a very unwelcoming sight- a pure, typical, communistic brick building which we later realized (with a sinking sense of horror!) was to be our hostel. When we arrived in April, 6 years ago, it was already the end of winter, but the cold was still as bad. So dragging our 30kg luggages (packed to the last micro, nano-gram), and having spent 6 hours in transit in a horrible backward airport (Tashken, Uzbekistan), arriving to that sight was disheartening.

The sight inside almost made me want to scamper back home to my family...

The advertisement and brochures had described what I presumed would be a fairly attractive hostel. However, what greeted me and my roommate were peeling wallpaper, 2 sad looking beds, one study table, and another sadder looking cabinet. To top it off, we had to share a toilet and bathroom which looked too poisonous to use.

I ensure you at that moment, my first thought was- I GOT SCAMMED!

Thinking back, there were really a lot of moments which can only be described as bitter-sweet. There were the highs, and of course the lows.

Anyway, to better introduce you to Kursk, Russia, a city situated in Western Russia, very close to the border of Ukraine, you can do some reading up here- in this wikipedia link.

Even though I've always described Kursk as a boring, God-forsaken town (sometimes out of spite, sometimes out of fondness), really you shouldn't take my words for it. The main (some argue is THE ONLY) tourist attraction here is located not too far from the city centre, and really not too far from where my current hostel.

As you approach it, you get to see tanks after tanks lined up, serving as a reminder to the people, of the war which just passed. For your information, it is generally agreed by historians world over that the greatest tank battle in the world took place right here in Kursk, Russia, in a town called Porkhovka. And it was also widely believed that this tank battle in fact was a great turning point in the course of the history during the Second World War. You can read more here in this wikipedia link.

I also notice Russians have a certain fondness towards their-so-called 'eternal flame'. No, not the song, but literally flames which perpetually burn. Non-stop. 24/7. Period. I'd like to think it's because of their pride over the richness of their natural resources like petroleum and natural gas and so forth...

Here you can see an eternal flame, burning with the Kursk Victory Gate in the background.

This here is a picture taken of the Kursk Victory gate, in front of which is a statue of a General who led the Soviet Red Army against the German Front during the Second World War.

This here is a picture of the the upper church of the Trinity Monastery, or at least the remains of what it used to be.

Before the war it used to look something like this-
A magnificient Baroque cathedral, which looked as magnificient as the wikipedia article described it to be.

Too bad that now, only the three-storey belltower remains.

There are more storied to tell about this cathedral but I guess I will just reserve some for my next big 'Tolko U Nas V Rossii' post. Which, by the day, translates into 'You can find it only here in Russia'. Heehee!

Also, before I end this post, I really couldn't resist snapping this picture-
What do you think it looks like? Comment away!

10 comments so far.

  1. Josefina February 19, 2008 at 5:33 PM
    I don't know what that is, but I'm guessing it's some kind of closed-off door that someone got the idea to pee on? I don't know, but thanks for posting pics of Kursk, I've never been there and I've never heard too much about it (no offense!) but it looks as beautiful as any Russian town could be. Sometime I think there can be a lot of beauty in old and worn-out things...

    By the way, I had the same reaction as you had when I arrived at my first Russian hostel, too. It was (probably) the very same kind of building. With two sad looking beds and the whole thing! But I have got used to it by now, I even secretly like it ;)
  2. Ah-Bong February 19, 2008 at 9:19 PM
    waaaa... chanteque-nyer! i'm sooo gonna make a trip up to russia in the future. :P but i suppose it's all so hard to get the visa as a tourist huh? blergh. :P

    what's the last pic anyway? pee? LOLs
  3. lynnx01 February 20, 2008 at 5:46 AM
    This is a good post! I believe that no matter where we are and what course we're doing, we should always take pride in them. Gotta make the best out of everything. Well, let me guess.... could it be a tombstone?
  4. Sweetiepie February 22, 2008 at 10:45 AM
    Interesting adventures!The last pic looks like chinese tombstone.:P
  5. Annelie February 23, 2008 at 6:57 PM
    It looks like pee on that marble stone thingy :P

    I think the clock tower was cool. I like the color of it. There seem to be some cool sightings in Kursk anyway and it has historical bonds as well.

    The victory statue looks oddly similar to the "Arc de Triumph" in Paris. Translated Triumph Arch in english.
  6. Aleckii February 26, 2008 at 2:02 PM
    Answer: It's a plate, serving as a memorial to the soldiers during the Second World War, which somebody peed on... Sad, right?

    Josefina: Yea, you're right. Once you live here long enough, you slowly adapt to it. I've since moved to another hostel, another closer to the university, but same old same old...

    Ah-Bong: You want to? I've heard it's not as difficult as people think it is, if you need help, I can give you tips and guides, heehee!

    LynnXuan: You're right. Be it Russia, Malaysia or anywhere in the world.

    Sweetiepie: Well, you're close!

    Annelie: Yea yea! ANd I've seen a lot of triumphant archs in my days, the one in Paris, the one in Germany, there's another one in Rome, right next to the Colosseum, plus this one in Kursk, of course!
  7. Trinity February 26, 2008 at 6:06 PM
    ugh... that's horror.. though I believe history is HIS story.. but this story really horrible.. dark and cold...

    btw, I am so glad to see these pictures, thanks for sharing. I don't know if I could visit that place one day, especially the Trinity monastery! hahaha
  8. Aleckii February 26, 2008 at 11:50 PM
    trinity: haha! You're right! TRINITY monastery, right? Heehee!
  9. annabelle February 28, 2008 at 3:32 AM
    kewl!!!!I wana go there!and what's that??Hantu?:P
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