a big beautiful mess

Arkhangelsk: the Other City of Bridges

Ah, Sunday! The day of rest! The day of play!

Here in Arkhangelsk, kids have school on Saturday as well as all week, so Sunday is their only day off. Many people take advantage of Sunday to go downtown, go shopping, take a walk, practice some winter sports. I took advantage of this Sunday to see a new part of the city.

Since I don’t have much work to do right now, and since all the other foreigners are gone, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. On Friday, I made it my goal to find the second bridge, which I’d never seen before. Since Arkhangelsk is right on the Northern Dvina river, the bridges connecting it with the opposite shores are pretty important. You would think there would be a lot more bridges, like in Pittsburgh, but there are only two. One of them is called “the old bridge.” When I asked my colleague what its real name was, he couldn’t think of it. Fortunately, there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the Bridges of Arkhangelsk, and there I learned that it’s called Severodvinsk Bridge (remember, Severodvinsk is that city foreigners aren’t allowed to go to).

The Old Bridge is right at the end of my street, so I see it pretty often. But the other bridge, Kuznechevsky Bridge (which, according to Wikipedia, was actually built before the Old Bridge–go figure), remained a mystery to me. Until Friday!

It’s a beautiful red suspension bridge! What a marvelous surprise it was! This trip to the bridge also solved the mystery of Gagarin Street. All the buses have their numbers and their routes posted in their windows, and a lot of them go through Gagarin Street, but Ɓukasz and I never had cause to go to Gagarin Street, so we never knew where it was. Turns out Gagarin Street is the one that goes across the beautiful red suspension bridge. There’s this marvelous little Soviet monument on a corner by the bridge on the Arkhangelsk side, and I have a sneaky suspicion that cosmonaut is Yurii Gagarin (his helmet says USSR on it).

Since the expedition to Gagarin Street was such a success, I decided that today I would set out to for another oft-mentioned but never-visited bus-route street, Kedrova Street. The journey to Kedrova Street took me across the beautiful red suspension bridge to Solombala, an island created by the Northern Dvina, Kuznechikha, and Maimaksa rivers. I got off at the last bus stop and wandered down Soviet Street for a while, taking pictures of kitties in windows, block houses, and cranes.

I rode the bus back to the beautiful red suspension bridge, and got off to walk across and take pictures of the merriment I had seen from the window on my way to Kedrova. Down on the frozen river were people skiing, flying kites, ice fishing, you name it! Across the river, I could see the steep embankment I had walked past a few days before, where a lone woman with her stroller and children had been sledding. Today, the embankment was dotted with dozens of people out for a Sunday-afternoon sledding romp. While I’m complaining about the cold and strategizing layers, little five-year-olds are out on the playgrounds and cross-country skiing in the park and setting off firecrackers behind the theater.


  1. 15 January 2012    

    You’re trusting Wikipedia for your information on Russian bridges???
    Since no one appears to know the name of the bridge, anyone could type in anything and no one would be the wiser or change it!

    • 16 January 2012    

      Why would someone go to the trouble of making up a fake name for a bridge on Wikipedia?

  2. Robin Robin
    16 January 2012    

    I am so obsessed with your kitty in a russian window picture that i made it my desktop background. And I NEVER change my desktop background. I hope you don’t mind.

    • 16 January 2012    

      Of course I don’t mind! That’s wonderful! I’m glad to know I’ll be a little nearer to you now :))

      • Robin Robin
        23 January 2012    


  3. 16 January 2012    

    Sounds like a the days must be getting longer. I’m glad you are getting out more.

    • 16 January 2012    

      It has more to do with not having any classes, but yes, the streetlamp outside my window went off three minutes earlier today than it has the last two days.

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