Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Old TV's

Old Soviet TV sets from 1970s and 1980s don't have a retro value just yet.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Monday, 28 July 2008

When the Freedom Monument was free

There was a time when you could tease the guards at the Freedom Monument in Riga. In early 1990s the guards were not secured by police, at least not in the morning, so you could do whatever you want around the monument. Nowadays you cannot even sit on the stairs, whereas for this kind of a performance you would end up in prison.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Out of school

This kind of a table (in the center of the top image) and chair were used in schools up to mid-1990s. Today the survivors can be found in some garages or repair services.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Empty shops in Durbe

These abandoned shops are located in the center of Durbe, a small town in West Latvia. None of the shops that were operating in Soviet times has survived. Newly founded shops have not taken these places either.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Latvija's chairs

Somebody on a countryside has made a resting place using car chairs from minibus branded Latvija that in the USSR were produced by RAF factory in Jelgava in Latvia. Or are these chairs from a yellow Ikarus bus?
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 26 July 2008


In case of fire call 01, says the bottom sign in Russian. The above explains what to do if you have problems with drainage.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Friday, 25 July 2008

A place to disappear

Papers write that remains of the chemistry hull of Technical university in the Old town of Riga will vanish quite soon. In 1990s half of the building was demolished in order to raise extra space for the reconstruction of the Town hall (Rātsnams). I am sure in the near future they gonna build something much more ugly than this, with a lot of glass.
The black and white photograph from 1989 feature the place - it's that long dark building.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus, the bottom one - Latinform

Thursday, 24 July 2008


This window of a shoe repair service near Mārupes pond in Riga looks just like some 15-20 years ago. Unfortunately, the service itself is closed down.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Sexual revolution of 1980s

The March 1989 issue of the children's magazine Zīlīte (Titmice) caused something like a sexual revolution in Soviet Latvia. And not just for young boys and girls around 8-13, who all now got to know how a baby is made, but also their parents as they just did not know how to deal with this (sex was kind of a taboo in USSR). For instance, my grandmother was hiding the issue for a couple of days until she decided to let me read it.

A row from cinema

Somebody has thrown out a few rows of chairs on Maskavas street in Riga. They look like the ones that were used in cinemas or houses of culture throughout Soviet Union.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


"Dejot pēc cita stabules" is a saying in Latvian (literal meaning is "to dance while someone else pipes") to describe that one is extremely toady, so he/she does everything that is being ordered. In this photo from 1978 young pioneers play music for Latvian folk dancers.
Photo - Latinform

Old postboxes

The first one is an abandoned mail box on Latvian countryside, the other one is an old Soviet time postbox that has been repainted and still used today.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Monday, 21 July 2008


Somebody has left an used syringe in Maskavas forštate district in Riga. Heroin is quite popular around this area.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Olympic bear and crime books

I was walking around Āgenskalns district in Riga and on a garbage bin outside an old house saw this still life with Moscow's Olympic bear and a few old books in Russian.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Sunday, 20 July 2008

A sitting child

At the top of Children's health center in Ķengarags district in South Riga we can see a sign of a baby sitting in an upholstered chair. The sign that is probably made of neon light has been installed many years ago. You have to see the printed logo of the center to understand that this baby is not sitting in a chair, but is being hold in the palm of one's hand.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

One designer

It looks like both railway maps on trains have been made by the same designer. Indeed, both have kept the design from Soviet times. The first one (above) is from Latvia, the bottom one from Kaliningrad in Russia.
All photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Butcher's room

A room where butchers chop meat at Agenskalns' market in Riga.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Chess community

Chess players in Vērmanes' park in Riga meet almost every day regardless the weather, so it is obvious that traditions of their community cannot be disrupted even by events of National Song festival.
All photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Most expensive bridge

It is rumored that the new Southern bridge (Dienvidu tilts) over river Daugava in Riga will be the most expensive one in the World by counting how much money has been spend per square meter. It is estimated that the city has spend 1184 Ls (approx. 1600 EUR) per square meter or 220 655 552 Ls for the whole bridge in total. It is expected that the bridge will open at the end of 2008. It looks that it will be also one of the most ugliest bridges too...
The photos feature both coasts.
All photos by (c) Arnis Balcus