Theatre named after Maxim Gorky, Rostov-on-Don. (Postcard, 1978.)

During the latter part of the 20th century Soviet tourism spread out to the roads. Train was the main means of transportation in the 1920s and 1930s, and remained important also after the war, but bus travel grew with the increase of tourism and improvement of roads. City tours with tourist buses were popular among Soviet tourists. Here are famous LAZ-buses, which were employed extensively in sightseeing trips (one can discern the word “TURIST” on the window), standing in front of the Maxim Gorky theatre at Rostov-on-Don.

Neptune Greets You. (Brochure, 1970s.)

During the 1950s Soviet tourism was still bit stiff and official, but in the 1970s it began to relax. People didn’t anymore go to Black Sea resorts to heal from sicknesses under surveillance of doctors, but to rest and have fun. This was reflected in the postcards and guide books. This photograph is from a 1970s brochure presenting Soviet Black Sea resorts to Finnish audience. Apparently, “Neptune parties” became a thing during that time. Intourist representative was dressed as God of the sea, Neptune, and he entertained Soviet and foreign tourists.

Welcome to the Soviet Union. (Brochure, 1963.)

It seems that the Soviet Union was a combination of Edward Hopper’s paintings and Aki Kaurismäki’s films, at least based on the cover image of the booklet here. This Intourist brochure was published in Finland in the early 1960s, when tourism from Finland to the Soviet Union was increasing. At this time, during the so called thaw era, the Soviet Union was represented to foreigners as an up-to-date but also serious country, which had all the advantages that the western world had, as the setting of the photograph and especially the red high-heeled shoes of the sitting woman propose, but without the frivolous traits of capitalist culture.

Moscow. Tours to the USSR arranged by Intourist. (Poster, 1930s.)

The Soviet travel agency Intourist was established in 1929. The main task was to promote the Soviet Union to foreigners, and at the same time control and surveil the visitors. During the 1930s Intourist organized a huge advertisement campaign in the United States to encourage western tourism in the Soviet Union. Moscow was depicted as the heart of the country, an age-old and hypermodern at the same time, as the poster’s combination of Kremlin towers, busy traffic and the brand new House of government at the background indicate.

Monument to the Builders of Communism at the Volga hydropower plant named in honour of the 22nd Congress of the CPSU. (Postcard, 1960s.)

Yes, it is a long title for a postcard, but it’s Soviet tourism, after all. Travel postcards depicting monuments to socialism and industrial achievements were common in the Soviet Union, and this card combines the two by presenting a memorial situated at the Volga power plant. Soviet tourists at the popular Volga cruises would stop here to admire the huge statue, the dam, and the power lines before continuing their journey.