Trans Eurasia travel

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Victory square

This sun-bleached plaza with an immense yurt-shaped WWII monument, erected in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, sprawls across an entire city block. It was built on the site of the former central market. The structure, like a half a yurt frame, is topped by a tunduk surrounded by a wreath for the dead. On cold evenings you might see a knot of young men passing the bottle and warming themselves at its eternal flame. On weekends it’s yet another destination for the endless stream of happy wedding parties.

The nearby Circus on Frunze, that once played to packed houses in Soviet times, looks like a 1950s UFO that crash landed and never had the impetus to move again.

A Russian Log House, at 145 Moskovskaya, is a well-preserved example of the type of building prevalent before the advent of Soviet architecture.