Tourism Pt. II – Ulyanovsk Strikes Back

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today, I went on an excursion with many of the foreign students, half of whom live on my floor. We saw some of the sights of Ulyanovsk that I have already seen a few times. We also went into the museum of the school that Lenin studied in. It was somewhat interesting, but if you’ve seen one Neo-classical Gymnasium, you’ve seen them all. Desks and scientific equipment are pretty much the same. The only real differences are which paintings are on the walls and the name on the plaques in the various rooms.

Lenin took his exams in this room.

The excursion was somewhat relaxing in the sense that tour guide Russian is the Russian that I understand the best (well, except for the part in the Gymnasium when the tour guide talked about various laws and principles of physics, I mean, I barely passed that class in my native language and the only things I remember are f = ma and gravity = -9.81meters/second squared). My summer in St. Petersburg taught me all of the important words for trips such as this. “X was built/repaired/destroyed in Y under the orders of Z.” Today was the day that I understood the most of what was said in Russian without words being repeated, rephrased, or translated into English. I learned some cool things about a few sights in the city that I had yet to see. I also now know where a few other museums associated with Lenin are located.

Yet another house that Lenin lived in.

One observation from the excursion was that the people of Ulyanovsk are not used to tourists and foreigners in their city. During the Soviet era, Ulyanovsk was a somewhat popular destination for tourists making pilgrimages to the birthplace of Lenin. At the moment, tourism is pretty low, but the city is trying to once again bring tourists in. Currently, a Hilton hotel is being constructed in the center of the city. Owing to the lack of tourists, the people on the streets were a little confused by the presence of a group of roughly 30 foreigners and a tour guide wandering around and discussing important monuments and events from the history of the city.

The university and some of the kids who live on my floor.

An interesting tidbit from the tour was the issue of the name of the city. During the Soviet era, the names of many cities were changed. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, many cities reverted to their pre-Soviet names. This was not the case with Ulyanovsk. The city decided not to change the name back to Simbirsk because the Soviet era was what led to the development of the city. Around the time of the name change, the city had roughly 20,000 residents. Currently, there are over 600,000 residents in the city. The local government felt that the city had changed and grown too much to revert to the old name.

A former monastery, I think, I don't have a very large attention span.

  1. Your attention span is still better than mine.

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