Friday, 31 October 2008

Banka Baltija

These are the adverts of infamous Banka Baltija bank in children magazine Zīlīte. The adverts teach to kids what is a credit card, where does the bank gets money and how the money is counted. In 1995 when the bank went bankrupt almost every second Latvian had savings in it. It is still considered as the biggest economical disaster in Latvia to date.
Photos from Zīlīte

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Garbage bins

In ex-USSR garbage bins can have very creative design, while some of them have served for more than a few decades. This is a selection of bins from Latvia, Belarus and Russia.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 25 October 2008


In Soviet Union almost every town used to have a monument of Lenin. In Latvia they were even more than in neighboring countries Lithuania and Estonia, however none of them has survived the changing time. But in Belarus you can still find the monument of Lenin in every major town, in Minsk even three.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Friday, 24 October 2008

Happy wall

A built-in decor of an ideal Soviet family: a husband, wife, three children (the youngest one of them holding a white pigeon - a symbol of peace) can be found on a house in Ziepniekkalns district, Southwest Riga.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Second hand in Rumbula

There are not as many second hand stores in Latvia as in 1990s, but still to be found near markets, in suburbs and smaller towns. Normally you buy a piece, but in this place in Rumbula in South Riga, which is not that easy to find, one can buy second hand clothes in kilograms - a kg cost 0,50 Ls (~0,70 EUR).
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Kino Riga

Cinema Rīga was founded in 1923 and is the oldest cinema in Latvia. It is probably also the only cinema in the country that still hires an artist to paint film ads.
(c) Photos by Arnis Balcus

Monday, 13 October 2008

Pre-WWI mural

Whenever this sign in Old Russian and Old German that warns not to consume alcoholic drinks has remained in a yard on Pētersalas street in Riga since Tsar times or is a modern remake is a mystery.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Kemeri sanatorium

In Soviet times the sanatorium in Ķemeri in Jūrmala, Latvia was a posh place to be. Since the collapse of USSR it has been gradually vandalized and today the place is a popular destination among photographers and urban explorers.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 11 October 2008

20 years ago

The mural made in 1988 in Sarkandaugava in Riga has survived the factory it advertised.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Riga's tram

This is an experimental tram that was build in Riga and was even seen taking a drive but in the end was never put in mass production. Today it rots behind the walls of some factory.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Public toilet at the market

The public toilet at the Central market in Riga has not changed at all since my childhood.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The shop No. 16

This is a closed shop in Daugavpils that reminds the Soviet times when shops were numbered - this one is No. 16, and salesmen had a lunch break (from 1.30 until 2pm).

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Tram depot in Liepaja

In town Liepāja there's a single tram line and a small depot that on a weekend looked very much like abandoned.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus