I just finished a fun and interesting book about Russia called Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev. In one fascinating part of the book he writes a lot about Moscow architecture. I’m going to write more on that later, but here I want to point out what sounds like the ugliest restaurant in the world. Pomerantsev writes:
“We were having dinner in the Sosruko restaurant, the town’s most famous, named after a local mythical hero, a sort of Hercules. The restaurant, twenty meters high and concrete, is in the shape of the head of a medieval knight, with helmet and huge moustache, perched on a hill above the town and lit up in neon green, the only building well lit aside from the new mosque.”
and he’s not exaggerating. Here are some photos of this lovely dining establishment:
it sort of looks like Putin! (not a compliment)
What a beautiful mountain range and what a hideous eye sore!
This got me thinking about other ugly buildings in Russia and this story from BusinessWeek, hilariously titled “The 12 most absurd Soviet-era buildings that are still standing.” (very important to include the modifier “that are still standing”). All 12 are pretty horrible but this is my favorite:
by the way, how is this building “still standing” given that it was built upside down. I don’t know much (read: anything) about engineering, but that looks like a tragedy waiting to happen. I would not have wanted an office on the first floor.
The funniest thing about the article though is the reaction to it by the Russian media. Here are a few quotes:
“Insulting the memory of over a million humans who struggled through the largest battle in human history is a new low, even by the standards of Western media. American “Business Insider” today published the rating of the 12 “most absurd buildings of the Soviet era that are still standing”. This list included the monument “Motherland”, located in Volgograd. As stated on the website, Volgograd statue, reaching a height of 85 meters, is twice the size of statue of Liberty. It is worth noting that the list was published less than two weeks before the 70th anniversary of Victory day.” [my notes: does size of the statue matter? if it’s tall enough it cannot possibly be absurd? why is it worth noting that the list was published less than 2 weeks before the anniversary?]
The article goes on to argue that “No reasons by which certain buildings were included in the ranking were stated by Business Insider. However, the author of the list used the words “weird” and “ugly”.” I think it’s pretty self-explanatory what the decision making process was for inclusion on the list, but it’s funny to see the Russian media trying to ferret out what could possibly cause these buildings to be listed as absurd.