Should you show up with a camera in the backyards near Minsk Tractor Works, kids, asking you to photograph them, will immediately approach you. They may also be telling you their address so that you could send a snap. Local kids say they are often photographed by journalists, yet no one ends up getting a photo...
The Tractor Works quarters were built in order to provide housing for tractor-makers. The buildings were designed by Soviet architect Zinovy Rosenfeld. The whole operation was in the spotlight of Soviet central press: the post-war reconstruction of Minsk was the symbol of recovery of the Soviet Union on the whole. No wonder that Tractor Works quarters even today stand out for their somewhat unrepeatable feel: according to Soviet ideologists, even an ordinary person was entitled to living in a palace.
The houses in Kašavoha street (named after Ukrainian Soviet member of the youth organization Oleh Koshovyj who died of German tortures) imitate the looks of Italian palazzos, while the fish shop in Klumava street features Neptune on a bas-relief. Today, Tractor Works quarters are treated by pro-active residents who buy up estate property here as well as by journalists and architecture experts as a Soviet architectural sanctuary. The state seems to pay little-to-no attention to the unique quarters. The government reportedly plans to demolish several buildings to clear way for prospected high-rises.
Photo by Eva Vajtouskaja, kulturaenter.pl
Read more: ‘Tractor’ à la bohème in the shadow of the new order
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