Skip to main
Comrade Kyiv


Abandoned Kyrgyzstan: Aalam-Ordo, the Centre of the Universe


Along the southern border of Issyk-Kul lake, Kyrgyzstan, two shining golden gates and 1,500 metre long wall shield a giant hundred hectare complex. I scaled the wall and on the other side, I discovered hundreds of abandoned yurts, an outdoor theatre and a handful of colourful peeling murals. ‘Aalam-Ordo’, which translates as ‘the centre of the universe’, now sits abandoned. 

At the order of Kyrgyzstan's then President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a centre for culture science and spirituality was constructed in 2009. It was a bold vision. Young and old would live together in 365 yurts, exchanging ideas and learning from each other. These ideas would be accessible by all online. The hope was that these ideas would spread far and wide, and potentially even bring a Nobel Prize to Kyrgyzstan. 

Massive murals with traditional Kyrgyz motifs like eagles and horses feature prominently on the sides of walls and buildings. Others have a more symbolic meaning. One mural depicts a dragon stealing Kyrgyzstan's wealth as villagers desperately fight back. The villagers who fight back become ensnared in the dragon, and eventually become it, a visual metaphor for the vicious cycle of corruption. Ironically, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who commissioned the centre was removed from power in 2010, after corruption led to widespread protests which sparked the second Kyrgyz revolution. Today, the centre stands forgotten on the shores of Issyk-Kul, while corruption continues to ravage Kyrgyzstan.  

Further Reading


Exploring Budapest’s Dystopian Underground Water Reservoir

Rising above the banks of Budapest’s Danube river is Gellért Hill, an affluent residential area with elegant tree-lined streets. But, hidden beneath the surface is a strange and surreal sight - the József Gruber Water Reservoir. Every March, it’s emptied for its annual cleaning. With 106 stretched columns, the second basin makes for a futuristic and dystopian landscape.


Z is for Sorrow: How a Letter Became the Symbol for Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Scrawled on the side of tanks and military vehicles, the letter "Z" caught the world's attention in the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The letter is bold and can be painted in a single stroke, yet it doesn’t exist in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet. So what does this distinctive and ominous symbol mean?


Russia’s Vulnerability can be Shown with a Map

Russia is vast. Immense beyond comprehension. It spans eleven time zones and shares borders with 14 countries. Despite its colossal size, it is vulnerable. Russia knows this. The West also knows this. Any enduring superpower needs easy access to waterways and oceans to facilitate the movement of trade. It also needs to be able to protect its borders. Russia’s very existence depends on geography. The stakes are very high.


The Enduring Legacy of the Lada

It was the peak of the Cold War. Scientists on both sides of the Atlantic were building bigger and more powerful rockets. The Soviet Union had just sent the first human to space. Space was the next frontier. Cars, by comparison, seemed archaic. But, for the USSR, a Soviet mass-produced car was a matter of national pride.
+44 7397 297470
london, UK
london, UK
+44 7397 297470
We will never sell your personal information. Read our privacy policy.
condition guide
shipping & returns