The greatest city in the world, a portal, a place bringing me to life, making me. Looking at the same buildings, in the same misty light, as Dostoevsky and Rand looked at, and Peter the Great: his masterpiece.
A city built on a swamp in a miserable corner of the world, disgusting wind from the half frozen sea, never a real summer, always cold, damp, brutal. A geopolitical disaster for Europe; would have been easier if Peter’s vision would have never been manifested.
A beautiful pearl for the primitive Russians, a symbol of progress and Europization: a gateway for civilization to reach the backwaters of the world.
Civilization came in the form of nazis and siege, million deaths in the humiliated city. Babushkas eighty years later remember the piles of frozen bodies, and the rats they ate to survive.
After the second Russian empire collapsed, and the third started: the American money came in and made Russian girls prostitutes. Russians starved again, and became a joke.
A portal forms where the energy concentrates, the beauty, death, creative powers, geniuses and criminals. You can hear the footsteps on the courtyards, you can sense the hunger, and the philosophical mastery, rifles aimed at people, children living in the sewers, politicians murdered in street corners, dead bodies floating in the canals, crazy dreams, transcending ambitions.
In Peterburg suicides are committed in the most romantic atmosphere. Criminals are caught when they fall into the Neva while trying to hide body parts. The crazies sing and dance in accordance and go unbothered.
Perfect decay, ruins of the past still full of people, old trains gliding through the scenery of history so cinematic it takes a dead soul to not be sentimental. Everything is enhanced by the city, by the eyes of history looking at you: the city is alive and you’re never alone, your love story is recorded into the walls and river banks. Your train station at the Neva is always a symbol and a memory, even if the statue of Lenin still stands there, and the Russian artillery core studies next to him. Just like in the Abyss, greatest love and beauty live right next to the greatest evil and ugliness.
No art is complete without the dark side. Love and hope live and are born in ruins of the past.