Snaking through Russia’s wild and unforgiving Far East, small towns dot an otherwise barren and lunar landscape. A single road, the Kolyma Route, connects the furthermost outposts of the former Soviet empire. But, the road is also known by a more sinister name, the ‘Road of Bones’.
High above the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake, in east Kyrgyzstan, we wait and watch for movement on the rocky hillside below. Movement means prey. And that means that the hunt is on. For centuries, the nomadic people of Central Asia have used eagles to hunt for food and fur. On one a freezing morning in December, I went hunting with Nur-Sultan, Kyrgyzstan’s most famous eagle hunter.
A flea market in Kyiv was where it all began. I stumbled across a collection of almost 100 posters and instead of buying just a few, I bought them all. In that moment, I knew I had to share them with the wider world. Over the past few years, I’ve built a purpose driven business selling original vintage posters from Ukraine and many of the other former Soviet Republics. Today, I’m righting a wrong by changing our name from Comrade Kiev to Comrade Kyiv.
A few hours drive from Istanbul is a remote valley with soft rolling slopes that is surrounded by woodland. What sets it apart from other valleys in the area, is the hundreds of identical chateaus. More than 500 palatial homes sit abandoned on a 250 acre site. I have a deep interest in the Soviet Union and abandoned places. While this town isn’t Soviet, it’s too bizarre to not write about.