If I described it to you, you would think it was ugly.

If you asked me “how was your day today?”, I could tell you that

  • it is still winter,
  • it is terribly cold,
  • a snowstorm has been ravaging all day,
  • I live in a Soviet-era apartment block made out of pre-fabricated concrete slabs (called “Krushchovka”)
  • which was built in the 1960s
  • and which most people found ugly back then,
  • let alone now after half a century of decay.
  • When I look out of my window, I see more of the same Krushchovkas
  • and it is getting dark.

You would probably feel sorry and you would imagine a very ugly and sad neighbourhood.

Yet I, with my strange taste, find beauty in this, especially at this time of day when the night takes over. Let me show you why:

Savanoiru prospektas Vilnius Krushchovka 1

Vilnius City archive

Savanoriu prospektas Vilnius trolley bus police car

Savanoriu prospektas Vilnius old house

Vilnius kiosk night

Krushchovka entrance

Savanoriu prospektas Vilnius neighbourhood night snow

I sometimes feel like living on a film set. By the way, these Krushchovkas are really warm and cozy on the inside.

(C) All photos were taken by Andreas Moser at or around Savanorių prospektas in Vilnius, Lithuania on 3 March 2013.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Lithuania, Photography, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to If I described it to you, you would think it was ugly.

  1. Beauty is how we see things with the heart, not just the eyes!
    For what it’s worth – I think it looks stunning in a very wintery / bleak kind of way. Very different to the sunny day I had in Italy!

  2. Snow is always beautiful – when you haven’t had to shovel the crap EVERY single day for the past 8 days! But I understand your view – there is just something truly wonderful about steel and concrete mixed with snow. I do so miss my city (Chicago) in winter. :(

  3. GreenAtHeart says:

    I’m wondering how much energy it takes to keep those old buildings warm and cozy. Even though it may be cheaper there than in western Europe, and thus less of a concern to you, I’m guessing it will make the hearts of all environmentalists bleed.

    • Oh yes, it does make my heart bleed: the heating is turned on for all apartments once winter is coming. I believe it was in October or November. And then the heating remains turned on day and night and there is no way you can turn it off. So even apartments where nobody is at home all day or where the tenants have left for a week of holiday are being heated around the clock. A huge waste.

    • Dalius says:

      It is almost always central heating so it is not that bad from environmental point of view. However buildings themselves can be very inefficient: in the worst case you can expect about 4 Euros per square meter per month. For average apartments that might mean all monthly salary if it is minimal Lithuanian salary.

      E.g. I live in new building (2006) and I pay 4 times less for square meter (even though I have windows from from ceiling to floor).

  4. Ele says:

    They were built as temporary residences initially, but then we collapsed the Soviet Union and nobody cared to build proper homes.

  5. List of X says:

    That brings up memories… I actually used to live in one of those.

  6. Christoph says:

    Beautiful Photographs!

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  8. cafecasey says:

    I wouldn’t think it ugly at all. I lived in Moscow, where the same images struck me as deep and thought provoking.

    • Exactly my impression! I am much more fascinated by Eastern than by Western Europe.

    • Juan Carlos IIIV says:

      Wait for 20 years. It will become yet another faceless, greed-run, soul-less place, which then will be called “Western”. When I visit USA or Western Europe, I feel like someone stole my soul and sold it to the gypsies in the East.

    • Tiautious says:

      It is called a Soul/Spirit of a Place. Much stronger in the East than in the West. I don’t know why, but I suspect because of All That.

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  26. gabegstone says:

    Early night, yellow lights, snow, good book, hot tea. And no more Bolsheviks=cozy, yes. (But not if you’re the delivery person who’s lost in the early night!)

  27. To be honest, Soviet-era apartment buildings look way much better than any Mexican apartment building. Actually, I love them.

    I am from Mexico.

    • I also like Mexico (although I sadly only spent 10 days there), but the Soviet-era houses are really much more comfortable and cozy than the standard buildings in Mexico. I agree with you on that.
      In those apartments without carpets, I always feel like I am in a clinic or something.

      What is the same in most post-Soviet and Mexican cities, though, is how many extra locks and bolts and gates people have for fear of being robbed. (And in Russia for fear of the FSB coming by and throwing you from the balcony.)

    • I bet you are right.

      Well, not the FSB, but yes, it’s said there’s people coming by and throwing you from the balcony here in Mexico, but that’s another story…

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  29. Yorck Kessler says:

    It definitely has a beauty on it’s own.

    • I regret that I didn’t take any photos from inside.
      These apartments are really cozy, with a wonderful mix of old, self-made and second-hand furniture.

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