St. Petersburg and Finland

Hello friends! This time a very short trip to Saint Petersburg (Leningrad, for the nostalgic) and Finland. Unfortunately, after a couple of days my camera stopped working, maybe for taking too much rain, so I didn’t take many photos. I took some pics with mobile after.

Anyway, let’s see them.

In a coffee. Behind the window, the Kazan Cathedral. Saint Petersburg is a majestic city, with broad avenues and huge buildings.
Founded in 1703 in a marshy and inhospitable area, as a military and commercial outpost on the Baltic Sea, it expanded in a few years at the request of the tsar Peter the Great, who for its construction brought together serfs and workers from all over Russia. At least 30,000 workers died in those years due to terrible working conditions.
The city took on a European, modern, imperial aspect, and the Russian aristocracy soon began to prefer it to old Moscow. Already in 1712 it became the new capital. It will remain until 1918.
In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, the name was changed to Petrograd, because St. Petersburg sounded too German. In 1924, a few days after Lenin’s death, the name was changed again, this time to Leningrad. In 1991, following a referendum, it took back the old name, St. Petersburg.


Inside the cathedral in the fortress of Peter and Paul, the place of the first settlement. Almost all of the tsars following the founding of the city are buried in this cathedral.


Little sailors.


Some metro stations are so deep that seems like a descent into the underworld. They are very elegant.


Mosaics on the ceiling of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, so called because it was founded in the place where, in 1881, the tsar Alexander II was assassinated by the revolutionary group, of anarchist and socialist tendencies, “Narodnaja Volja” (“People’s Will”). From the nineteenth century to the 1917 revolution, St. Petersburg was a crossroads of fervent philosophical and political disquisitions, as evidenced for example by Dostoevsky’s novels, which contributed to the flourishing of countless revolutionary groups.


Autumn trees stand out behind one of the city’s 340 bridges.


An old woman greets me from a bridge under which our boat was passing. But after she spat! (I’m joking :D )


The crusier Aurora. One of those cannons fired the blank shot as signal to the various Bolshevik groups scattered around the city to start the October revolution.


One of the few locals that has remained as it was from Soviet times, when workers used to come to drink a few glasses of vodka. On the wall, there are still portraits of Lenin and Marx.


At dusk. As I said, it is a very spacious city, with wide avenues.


St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.


Inside the Hermitage, one of the largest and most extraordinary museums in the world, perhaps the most elegant. It is located in the Winter Palace complex, the former palace of the tsars, among splendid rooms like this. Its name comes from the fact that paradoxically at the beginning it was born as a small place in which Catherine II wanted to stay sometimes by herself, in peace from the court pomp and just surrounded by some work of art. Year after year the art collection expanded immensely, until including all the greatest European artists.

Photo taken with the mobile, because as I said, the camera stopped working from now on.


And as you can see there is also Dekaro exposed at the Hermitage! On the left, instead, a modest sculpture by Michelangelo, moreover unfinished.


On a frigid and stormy morning we took the train to Helsinki from a station that is famous because there, in April 1917, returned from Europe Lenin, after 10 years since the last time he had fled.
He was welcomed by many people, testifying to the fact that the small faction of the Bolsheviks was gaining more and more support among the population. A few days later Lenin exposed the “April Theses”, with the famous “all power to the soviets”, in which he proposed the definitive break with the bourgeois, capitalist, aristocratic and reactionary forces of the current provisional government born of the revolution of February (the soviets were the workers’ councils, later including also peasants and soldiers, and were part of the provisional government). He asked also for the immediate exit from the “predatory imperialist war”. The further worsening of the Russian situation in the following months due to the absurd First World War brought most of the popular consensus towards the Bolsheviks who in October felt ready to take power.
For the full story of the revolution, I suggest to see one the great masterpieces of Eisenstein: October.

I did instead the reverse path. From St. Petersburg I arrived in Helsinki, where I exposed the “October Theses”, in which, synthesizing, I say: capitalism won, let’s give up and let’s watch football in tv. Ehhhhh … I’m kidding !! Nothing could be more false, indeed. Despite what they want us to believe, I see around more and more a great desire to fight against this disgusting system in a constructive way, especially since now is at stake the survival of the entire planet. And in fact, as I write right now, rebellions are igniting the streets of Chile, Ecuador, Catalonia, Lebanon, Hong Kong, etc. … etc …
The point is to converge our heterogeneous forces against the true common enemy: capitalism, especially in its most blood-sucker form: the international finance.


And here we are! You saw already Giamma in a couple of posts. About Riccardo, is now a regular guest of Dekaro Diary.
We were in Lapland, in northern Finland, on the parallel that marks the Arctic Circle, on a tour where we hoped to see the Northern Lights. But unfortunately we didn’t see them because, although it seems there was activity, the sky was covered with clouds.


I took this photo with a camera and a tripod kindly lent by the tour organizers, over a bridge where we stopped to take pictures. Even if appears a light in the background, we were completely in the dark.


Again with mobile’s camera, an autumn road in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. The city is also known for stealing the birthplace of Santa Claus, who instead is, as we know, Turkish.


And in the end Helsinki, capital and largest city of Finland, with 650,000 inhabitants of the approximately 5.5 million Finns.


Internal staircase of the splendid Helsinki public library. As you see, it’s not really necessary to have expansive cameras to take interesting photos. It is just necessary that bit of intuition, artistic glance, creativity, aesthetic sense and experience.


Lastly, a group selfie where there is also Antonino, a Sicilian friend who was working in Malta and now has moved to Helsinki with the Finnish girlfriend, in this eternal precarious diaspora of us young, and not anymore young, Italians.

All power to the soviets!

Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia

Hello friends! This is the last post of the journey, which ended after three and a half months with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. This is the map of the places visited:

As I said previously, I had a 1250 euro voucher for flights to waste, so I had a lot of them.


From Uzbekistan I came to Baku , the capital of Azerbaijan, where my friend Riccardo joined me.
In this photo we can see the various phases of Baku’s history. In the foreground you can see part of the palace where the rulers of the Shirvanshahs dynasty resided since the 15th century. In the middle buildings from the Soviet period and the usual radio tower. Behind, the modern Baku, with spectacular skyscrapers.
The history of Baku is closely linked to the oil fields around it, exploited since the end of the nineteenth century, which have brought great wealth but also wars to conquer them. Besides oil, Azerbaijan is also rich in gas.


Baku by night. The three skyscrapers are called “Flame Towers”, and at night their external LED display the movement of a red and yellow fire, plus other animations.
Like almost all the capitals visited since I arrived in Central Asia (such as Dushanbe, Tashkent and later Yerevan) it is a very modern and clean city, where it is very pleasant to walk among the parks and the new buildings.


Around Baku there are mud volcanoes.


Inside the Bibi-Heybat Mosque, rebuilt in 1990 on the site of a previous mosque destroyed by the Soviets.


A petroglyph in the Gobustan National Park, where about 6,000 drawings were found in the rocks, some of which date back to around 30,000 years ago.


From Baku we went to Sheki. This is a room of the the 18th century winter palace “Shaki Khans”.


Elders playing Dominoes.


Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
In the foreground you can see part of the old city. At the top right, the majestic and recent Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. A modern bridge comes close to two strange large tubes that have never been used for anything.
The most beautiful part is the old city, with narrow streets full of bars and taverns. The culture of wine is very strong in Georgia (also for religious reasons) and the vine plant is among the national symbols.
The photo was taken from the fortress overlooking the city.


A guy does acrobatics on the fortress.


A woman confesses to an Orthodox priest. Religious sentiment is very strong among Georgians.


Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia.


Riccardo, with the cathedral of Mtskheta in the background.


In Gori, the city where Stalin was born. He lived with his poor parents in the rented apartment on the left. Behind the house there is an interesting and controversial museum dedicated to him, left as it was in Soviet times. There is also the wagon he used for his train journeys.
After the recent war against the Russians of 2008, which lasted luckily only 9 days and in which Gori was bombed and occupied because near the border with the disputed South Ossetia, it was decided to permanently remove the museum but later also this decision was revoked.
Probably the inhabitants of Gori themselves have an ambivalent feeling in front of that fellow citizen that became one of the most important figures in contemporary world history.




The archaeological site of Uplistsikhe, an ancient city carved into the rock, founded around 3000 years ago and inhabited until the 13th century.


The mountains around the village of Gergeti.


Mountain path.


Children playing in one of the many fountains of Yerevan, the beautiful capital of Armenia.


Since the early Middle Ages, Armenia has a tradition of “khachkar”, stones carved with religious motifs. Still today there are craftsmen producing them.


In Armenia we rented a car.


The Sevan lake.


The Mount Ararat, over 5,000 meters high and where, according to biblical legend, Noah’s ark landed. Although located in Turkey, its two peaks are a permanent view in Armenia when looking towards the southwest.


The monastery of Khor Virap, with Mount Ararat in the background. Next to where the monastery now stands, under a deep ditch, there is the cell where Gregory the Illuminator, the main architect of the Christian conversion of Armenia, was imprisoned for 13 years.
The conversion happened already in 301, so Armenia was the first nation to have adopted Christianity as the state religion. His Church is unique, having been aligned neither with Catholics nor with the Orthodox over the centuries.
The religious belief is very strong among the Armenians and was the main reason for the genocide suffered by the Turks during the First World War, which caused about one and a half million Armenian deaths. Genocide that Turkey continues to deny shamelessly, despite there are innumerable evidences and proofs.


The medieval monastery Geghard, whose first foundation, destroyed in the 9th century by the Arabs, dates back to the 4th century.


The 13th century monastery Noravank.
The monastery is located above a long and spectacular canyon. At the beginning of the canyon, in the village Areni, there is an archaeological site inside a cave where, among various finds, were found tools for wine production dating back to 6000 years ago! What other good thing has humanity created since then? Nothing.


A Counter-Dekaro made by Riccardo.


Now I’im in Maleventum, the place where I was born. The day after tomorrow I will return to Malta to work. But there is nothing wrong with this, you can’t be always on the road and in life everyone needs to work. It is right like that. That said, when in a few days you will hear about Kamikazdekaro blowing himself up in his office, remember that I have always loved you. Obviously I will try to maximize the damage. It won’t be a vain sacrifice.