The House of Soviets is a building located in the city of Kaliningrad and was built on the original territory of Königsberg Castle. The castle was severely damaged during the bombing of Königsberg in World War II. Following the war, as the city came under the control of the USSR, the site of the castle was redeveloped as part of the reconstruction of the city. Construction began on the House of Soviets in 1960, and was intended to be the central administration building of the Kaliningrad Oblast.
Continuation of development was stopped in the 1980s after the Regional Party Committee lost interest in the project and cut off funding. The building was left unfinished for many years, and earned notoriety as one on the worst examples of post-war Soviet architecture.
In 2005, for a visit by President Vladimir Putin, the exterior was painted light blue and windows were installed. However, the interior remains unfinished and unusable. A German consultant has recommended tearing down the entire structure and building anew as cheaper and safer than attempting to repair and finish the existing shell.References:
Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.
In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.
The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.
Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.
The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.