Former Palace of Culture named Vasily Gerasimov, Narva, Estonia (Part 2)

A year ago, on the New Year's Eve, I hitchhiked with my boyfriend from Tallinn to Narva. We got a lift from a man who was driving a van and I spent the whole drive in the van's trunk seeing nothing but dark. I sensed the feeling of a great adventure bubbling all around and inside me. When we arrived in Narva it was evening already and we were exhausted from travelling. We had paid for an apartment where we were supposed to stay for three days. Unfortunately the person who was renting the apartment had decided to go out and was drunk when we called him. Regardless of our desperate requests he denied to give us the key or do anything to help us. Without smartphones or any other access to internet only thing we could do was to walk along and try to find a place to stay. My tiredness was overwhelming and I felt like crying when thinking that man's thoughtlessness and our crappy start for the new year. After some walking we saw a sign to a guesthouse and rang the doorbell. An old-fashioned style warm lady came to open and told they had a room for two. Even though it was way too expensive for us we decided to stay there and I felt like hugging the lady for saving us from the slushy, dark streets of Narva.

Because of the price of the guesthouse, we knew we could only stay there for one night. Next day we started our search for a cheaper accommodation. Being a holiday, the library and tourist info were closed and our plan was the same than the day before - walk walk walk and hope to find something. That's how we encountered this beautiful palace of culture. Surrounded by sleet and afternoon's grayness it still managed to enchant me with its old time's dignity and walls looking like painted with watercolors. Since the daylight was fading away and we were still without a place to sleep, we only took some outside photos and decided to come back later.

Next day we woke up early, took our torches and headed towards the palace again. One of the ground floor's windows were open and there was a cat sitting on the window sill like a guardian of the house. When we came closer, the cat sneaked inside and vanished into the shadows. The palace stretched endlessly to all directions and I had a feeling that we were like fireflies in pitch-black space. The light from our torches disappeared in the big mouth of darkness and we were able to see only a little part of the room at a time. I was nervous because of all the possible dangers hidden in dark corners and the cat who was always there watching us with its light bulb eyes. Our voices echoed from the main hall walls decorated with Lenin quotes and I imagined ghost people around us drinking champagne during the intermission between the acts of play.

Daylight welcomed us to the middle floor and faded out my nervousness. Time had liberated some of the windowpanes from glass but others were covered by dust, footprints of flies and spiders and unidentified stains. Somebody had tried to block some panes with cardboard to prevent cold but nature had been more unyielding. By the time we walked on the corridors of the palace wind, rain and cold had become permanent inhabitants there.

One of my favorite rooms in the palace was the one with red walls decorated with some Cyrillic letters which had told a story in the past (the photo is in the previous post). Now they were just disconnected alphabets with lost meaning. I had a feeling like somebody was telling a story underwater and I desperately tried to understand it but couldn't. Another impressive part of the building was a theater stage downstairs, walls covered by the shining ice and the sleet raining inside from the big hole on the roof. It was like there was a play currently happening - a play with nature acting the leading role. That thought made me somehow very happy. 


Former Palace of Culture named Vasily Gerasimov, Narva, Estonia (Part 1)

Visited by Skkye 3.1.2015.

This former Palace of Culture is named after Vasily Gerasimov, who was hailed as a revolutionary in Tsar times. He played an important role in Kreenholm's strike in 1872, which was one of the first in Imperial Russia. The strike was against the management of the textile factory (nowadays owned by Swedes) in a neighbourhood of Kreenholm in Narva. The hall, built for Kreenholm's workers in 1957, used to house small theatrical collectives and be exploited as a cultural venue. Therefore its architecture is inspired by theatres and its basic function was to serve as a haunt for factory's workers. Sadly, in the early 2000s, it was sold to an investor who wasn't interested in rejuvenating it and thus deserted it to decay over time. The palace of culture is surrounded by a park where is a bust portraying Vasily Gerasimov.

// Edit: I forgot to wish you all happy christmas! <3