Soviet bus stops

The Soviet Union sought to master nature. It built roads and towns where no human civilisation had ever succeeded. It took pride in its colourful bus shelters, symbol of its interconnected world. The roads we take in Kyrgyzstan have no shortage of daring bus stop designs. 

Built at a time of architectural monotony, bus stops emphasised a sense of place, they emphasised the local. (Vera Kavalkova-Halvarsson) Fusing engineering, utility, architecture and art, they were monuments to the planned industrial economy in the deepest reaches of the countryside. (Owen Hatherley) Every bus stop came with its own personality. (Christopher Herwig) They were structural or aesthetic experiments that certainly didn’t lack grandeur or audacity. (Jonathan Meades)

Kyrgyzstan has some of the most stunning bus stop designs in the former Soviet world. Our favourite are the kalpak shelter (Kyrgyz male hat), just outside Kemin village, and the bird bus stop, just outside Karakol. There are many others, too: in the shape of birds, animals, boats and vegetables.