We all know that the old Soviet Union, but creating wonderful and weird structures (bus shelters) isn’t one of them.
Before their 1990s independence, Moscow’s former satellite states threw up lots of extravagant rest shops, giving to architect the chance to express their wilder ideas.
Form Estonia to Armenia, bus passengers have been able to pause beneath buildings resembling majestic crowns, UFO’s and concrete eagles.
Bus shelters like UFO’s
If it wasn’t for Christopher Herwig, a Canadian photographer, these amazing structures might have passed unnoticed.
In 2002, while cycling from London to St. Petersburg, he took the challenge of snapping an interesting photo every hour. “I was getting off my bike to photograph things I normally wouldn’t photograph — things like clothes lines, power lines, mail boxes and bus stops. And then as I got into the former Soviet Union, I saw these bus stops were actually worthy of me taking photographs.” said Cristopher.
Great Soviet bus shelters
Cristopher Herwig crossed 14 countries and he was always looking for suitable bus shelters. This fabulous travel have been collected into a book named “Soviet Bus Stops”. “A lot of the bus stops that were intriguing weren’t in cities or villages. They were often in the middle of nowhere, particularly in Kazakhstan — there was often no one around” adds Christopher.
“But when there were people around, for the most part they would not get it. They would not see that the bus stop was worth photographing and they thought I was doing something that was making fun of them.”
A whole book with photos with bus shelters
Cristopher’s favorite stop include some found in Abkhazia, a region still claimed by Georgia. These bus shelters were created by Zurab Tsereteli, an artist who become the president of the Russian Academy of Arts. “He was one of the pioneers who really pushed it to the limit. His were more like sculptures, much more animated — there was one like an octopus, one like a wave, one like a shell, one like a UFO”.
Herwis thinks that creating those bus shelters was one of the few opportunities that architects and artists had under restrictive Soviet regimes to express their personal ideas.
Gagra (in region Abkhazia)
Ptsunda (in region Abkhazia)