Perhaps the wings of this bird can provide some shelter at this stop near Karakol, Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan – Been There

The strange charm of Kazakh bus shelters

Photo by Christopher Herwig

Kazakhstan – Been There The strange charm of Kazakh bus shelters

Sometimes what you need as a photographer is an eye for detail. Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig is the living proof; he spent 15 years documenting bus shelters in the former Soviet Union.

Julia Nolet
Julia Nolet Editor

The architects of these peculiar structures in Kazakhstan seem to have spent all the money on appearance rather than utility. Some stops don’t have roofs – you could say one of the essential features of a bus shelter. Others are in desolate areas where no one wants to stop. But these beautiful photographs provide a unique insight into one aspect of life in the former USSR.

The colorful stops gave Soviet architects an opportunity to express themselves freely without upsetting political regimes. Christopher Herwig explains: “They wanted to have fun and brighten people’s lives and have an outlet to experiment with.”

He was first taken by the unusual architecture during a bike ride from bike ride from London to St. Petersburg in 2002 when he challenged himself to take one good photo every hour. He kept traveling and, 12 years later, had covered some 18,000 miles in 14 countries of the former USSR, using cars, bikes, buses and taxis to hunt down and photograph the more unusual stops.

“Typically the bus shelters I really like are the ones in the middle of nowhere that make you think why there’s even a bus stop here," he says. “In Kazakhstan there was one that didn’t have anything else close by apart from another bus stop. Both of them had been relatively freshly repainted, so someone had cared for them.”

Travel more. Save up to 65% on hotel rooms with TRVL

SOVIET BUS STOP 2

Unique and colorful – although impractical – design near Charyn, Kazakhstan. Photo by Julia Nolet

Julia Nolet

Julia Nolet

Unique and colorful – although impractical – design near Charyn, Kazakhstan.

TRVL Favorites

…from the TRVL community