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Visiting Ulyanovsk.

Visiting Ulyanovsk.

Ulyanovsk still takes pride in Vladimir Lenin, who was born there. Visiting Ulyanovsk is like taking a step back in town to old Soviet times.

This past summer I was cycling around Russia during the football world cup. On my way from Saransk to Samara, I passed Ulyanovsk. I did not really have time to stay, but decided to come back after I had watched a football game in Samara.

Ulyanovsk has a charming city center.

Ulyanovsk has a charming city center.

The city really intrigued me. In one way it was a city with a charming town center and the nightlife looked good. But on the other hand, the city was full of tributes to Lenin.

The Lenin memorial in Ulyanovsk.

The Lenin memorial in Ulyanovsk.

Vladimir Lenin, who founded the Sovietunion was born in Ulyanovsk. When the wall came down in 1989 and the Sovietunion collapsed in 1991, most people thought that Lenin was a thing of the past. His statues were torn down in many cities around the world. It looked like he would never be celebrated again. But since eVladimir Putin became president of Russia, Lenin has made a big come back in Russia. He is very openly celebrated around the city. And there is a huge museum for the old communist leader.

Vladimir Putin has a large portrait at the Lenin memorial.

Vladimir Putin has a large portrait at the Lenin memorial.

One thing that I found very interesting about the museum is how it also celebrates Vladimir Putin. Putin clearly has no problem being in the same museum as Lenin. They even have a corner in the museum that celebrates Josef Stalin as well. Mikhail Gorbachev has a little mention in the museum too. But it’s quite small. Considerably smaller than the area that celebrates Josef Stalin, for instance. I’m not a person who has any nostalgia for the Sovietunion. But I thought it was damn interesting that there is still a city that so openly celebrates a system that went completely bankrupt.

Stalin is honored too at the Lenin memorial.

Stalin is honored too at the Lenin memorial.

Ulyanovsk is a friendly city.

Some people might think now that Ulyanovsk is a place that does not like westerners. But I actually found it to be one of the friendliest places I visited in Russia. I ended up spending a few days there, cause I found the place interesting. And because it was close to a few of the world cup cities. But because it was not a world cup city, it was cheaper to stay there. The city had many football fans from around the world staying there because of that. And the locals were flocking to the cafes an pubs to meet the foreign visitors and talk to them. They seemed very keen to show that they were not against all the visitors. It was very hard not to end up with a few free beers and several free vodka shots, when visiting one of the local pubs. Visiting Ulyanovsk was certainly a positive thing, in terms of local hospitality.

Late at night in a bar in Ulyanovsk :-)

Late at night in a bar in Ulyanovsk 🙂

Should you be visiting Ulyanovsk, then I would recommend the street called Ulitsa Federatsii. It’s right in the center of Ulyanovsk. It’s a nice little street with old houses and a lot of bars and cafes. I also stayed at a hostel in that street. It was a hostel, but they also had private rooms, which I booked. It was called Apelsin Hostel and was very friendly and helpful. They spoke very little but Russian there. But google translate sorted all problems 🙂 .

Ulitsa Federatsii is a nice street.

Ulitsa Federatsii is a nice street.

So if you happen to be in this part of Russia, then I would certainly recommend that you spend at least a couple of days visiting Ulyanovsk.

It’s like stepping right in to world history.

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2 Comments

  1. what kind of bike lock do you have?

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