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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Soviet Kaluga 1974 -- Images of the city of Tsiolkovsky

Kaluga is a mid-sized city (pop. approximately 300,000) located about 100 miles southwest of Moscow that is best known for being the home of the rocket science pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Tsiolkovsky helped to lay the basis of Soviet rocketry and died in Kaluga in 1935. He was a fervent supporter of the revolution. In 1967 the world's first museum dedicated to space exploration was opened in Kaluga named in his honour. The foundation stone for it had been laid by Yuri Gagarin, though sadly he would not live to see it finished.

The innovatively designed Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics is one of the buildings on the 15 postcards we are looking at here. From the city in 1974 there are also shots of the Pioneer Palace, the stunning Victory Square monument, a really atmospheric night shot of a city hotel, the colourful housing complex on Lenin St. and others.

The postcards were aimed at a domestic audience and were in Russian. We have translated them.

Lenin Monument

Monument in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Pioneer organization / Yuri Gagarin Palace of Pioneers

The Pioneers were a Soviet youth organization that had free programs, camps and even resorts all across the USSR for children and teenagers. There were Pioneer Palaces, where kids came for programs, across the Soviet state. Sadly, with the fall of socialism the whole network was disbanded and many of the camps and palaces were abandoned or converted for private use. Disgracefully some were converted into casinos and brothels.

Monument on Victory Square

Bridge over the Oka

Monument at the grave of K.E. Tsiolkovsky

Residential buildings on Lenin Street

You can learn more about the incredible and humanistic Soviet housing program at: A look at Soviet housing policy & philosophy, 1982 (

Street Scene

Railway Station

Kirova St

Lunacharsky Regional Drama Theater

The Hotel Kaluga

The Regional Museum of Local Lore

Ancient House

Monument to K.E. Tsiolkovsky / Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics

Historic Stone Bridge

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