Россия – across the border from Võru

So here we are in Dubai. The thermometer is constantly in the high 30s and low 40s, which means we spend more time indoors in the glorious coolness of air conditioning. As we only arrived on Monday, I don’t have a lot to say about Dubai just yet, but remembered I went to Russia recently….and Italy and Lithuania and the UK, but here is a short photo reportage from the largest country in the world.

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This is a famous Russian Orthodox monastery in a town called Pechory (Petseri) . This is an area, which according to the Tartu peace treaty signed in 1920, which ended our war of independence, belongs to Estonia. During early Soviet times the town was part of the Estonian SSR, but in 1945 was incorporated into the Russian SSR.

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The town still has an Estonian school and a small Estonian-speaking minority. My grandma's family comes from around here.

The town still has an Estonian school and a small Estonian-speaking minority. My grandma’s family comes from around here.

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The main church hall was overflowing with people, so some ladies prayed outside, facing the altar inside. The monastery is also known for its underground caves, where several saints and religious leaders and buried. I went for a very cold walk with a group of Russian speakers, all holding candles (including me) and led by a priest, who kept telling us how important it is to take care of one’s soul. I caught a cold down there.

I also visited the local cemetery, where a number of Estonians are buried. The Orthodox cemeteries are very decorated, lavish and beautiful.

I also visited the local cemetery, where a number of Estonians are buried.
The Orthodox cemeteries are very decorated, lavish and beautiful.

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A very Russian landscape. Think Chekhov and Pushkin, whose dacha a.k.a summer residence is not far from here.

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There were various home-made items for sale for the many visitors and tourists. Here is some freshly made and still warm rye bread.

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Local babushkas chatting at the market square, completely unfazed by the tourists around them.

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Most of the cars displayed St. George’s ribbon: a symbol of patriotism and loyalty to the Kremlin for Russians, a symbol associated with Russian nationalism and extremely frowned upon in Estonia.

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Local kids enjoying their summer in the village, probably visiting their babushka.

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After Pechory, the next stop was Pskov. This town of 200,000 residents is still only 20km from the Estonian border and is considered one of the oldest towns in Russia. The city has always been seen as the line between the East and West.

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The monument of war heroes overlooks the town.

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Inside the kremlin in Pskov.

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My granny lighting her candle inside the church inside the kremlin.

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A statue of Lenin adorning the front of the Pskov University.

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And finally this poster, which was ubiquitous throughout Pskov. It celebrates the ‘great victory’s 70th anniversary’ or the year 1945, when the USSR won the ‘Great Patriotic War.’

Bye for now. More Dubai news next time.

До свидания.

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