A tropical oasis in the middle of winter and Soviet chic in the former paper kingdom of Amursk

Botanical Garden. Photo: proamursk.ru

Amursk is a small but cozy town in the Far East. In the 60’s of the last century, the local pulp and paper mill sold artificial fabrics all over the world – to Poland, the GDR, Hungary, Singapore, Japan and other countries, due to which it was developed. The correspondent for IA AmurMedia found out what is happening to the city now, what you can do in the former paper kingdom, what to see and try.

Read about this original Soviet monument, stalker ruins, pita bread plow and tropical oasis in the middle of winter.

What should we look at?

The city has preserved many monuments of Soviet architecture. Against their background, the stem “To the Builders of the Amur Pulp and Cardboard Plant”, erected in gratitude to the company’s employees in 1967, stands out in particular. Modernism, which was popular at the time, radiates from the building – the emphasized massiveness of forms and construction, the boldness and complexity of the composite solution and asymmetry. An ordinary passer-by will hardly understand what the mysterious Amur Monument symbolizes, but will appreciate the strange view. If you look closely, the memorial is a set of paper rolls, framed by concrete rings, on which the image of the company’s equipment is engraved in gold.

Entrance sign for Amursk. Photo: Open sources

Another bright figure of Amursk is the entrance sign to the city buildings, reminiscent of an opened flower. The concrete lotus is decorated with a tablet with the city’s name. Against its background, you can take pictures with a particularly cozy atmosphere of the bygone Soviet era.

For colorful photographs, you can also go to the city square, above which rises a huge mosaic panel “Icarus” – on which the hero of ancient Greek mythology conquers outer space. The monument was erected in honor of the Soviet cosmonauts, who explored space in the 60s and 70s of the 20th century. At the same time, the famous cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin, Vitaly Sevastyanov, Valery Kubasov, Valery Ryumin, Boris Volynov visited Amursk.


Pano “Icarus”. Photo: Open sources

The Icarus panel is not the only mosaic in the city. In the buildings you can also find other interesting panels on a variety of topics – the development of the chemical industry, the country’s sports performance, the development in the field of medicine. In the Soviet Union, houses were often decorated with colorful mosaic paintings. Intricately woven ornaments, multicolored pieces of narrow, patterns of ceramic tiles, marble and semi-precious stones – behind each panel are months of hard work by many people.

Where to go?

To the cinema with the Soviet name “Youth”. It was opened as early as 1964. Previously, black and white films were shown here and hand-painted posters adorned the walls. Today, only the name of the authentic cinema remains. In the assignment, repairs were made, new furniture and equipment were purchased. You can see the announcements and buy tickets on the organization’s official website.

If you are tired of winter, you can go to the Botanical Garden for the summer feeling. Under the glass are many beautiful tropical and subtropical plants that delight the Amur people all year round. The organization’s collection includes more than 200 different species. Palm trees, all kinds of decorative leaves, various flowering plants, epiphytes and climbing, flowering and fruit-bearing exotic plants have grown here. All plants are in excellent condition, skilfully placed in the open areas of the greenhouse. All can be bought as a souvenir or gift, the prices are reasonable. The greenhouse in the Botanical Garden can be rented. An original gesture for your soulmate will be an invitation to a tropical “romantic” – a date surrounded by palm trees and camellias. Here you can also celebrate a child’s birthday or school holiday.

Fans of outdoor activities will appreciate the sleek, glossy ice rink in the modern “Territory of Ice” sports complex. It is closed, so it is comfortable to ride at any time of the year. Here you can bring your own skates or rent them. Inside the walls of the ice arena there is a gym where season tickets are sold, there are figure skating and hockey sections for children and adults. Here you can also watch a hockey match with local teams, shouting and relieving stress.

Fans of extreme sports and excitement will enjoy walking around the area for the city’s legendary companies, the pulp and paper mill. Now the company does not work, but a huge area with deserted workshops and pipes, ominously directed towards the sky, continues to remind of its great past. When visiting this place you have to be as careful as possible. Windows are smashed in buildings, concrete beams are scattered everywhere, mercury leaked here earlier and locals say they saw wild foxes near the facility. But despite the danger, pictures of Amur stalkers on the Internet look very atmospheric and attractive. Therefore, for those who are not afraid, local youths recommend visiting the ruins. In addition, the facility is not monitored.

After walking enough in different places in Amursk, you can go and have a bite to eat at one of the city’s cafes. The department serves an unusual pilaf “Shah pilaf”. This is an Azerbaijani dish that looks more like a pie than the usual pilaf: rice with meat covers a dome of crispy red lavash. “Shah-pilaf” is decorated with pomegranate seeds and lemon slices. In addition to the usual in the city, they also serve black pizza, fried in a pan and specially chilled multicolored coffee.

In general, Amursk is a nice Far East city with its own desire. The main attraction can be called the bright and beautiful botanical garden, which resembles a tropical jungle that is completely atypical of the cold Far East region. Another advantage is the convenience of the location of the infrastructure – you do not have to waste time on traffic jams, because everything is within walking distance.

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