17 Artek – Soviet Summer Vacation Camp

Artek – Soviet Summer Vacation Camp

Posted on April 11, 2010 by team


198 500x348 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

Kids in the traditional uniform.

The most famous PR image of the pioneria of the Soviet Union was a summer vacation camp situated in the Crimea (Ukraine), next to Gurzuf town. Founded as a sanatorium for the kids suffering and recovering from the TB by the Russian Society of the Red Cross, it first opened doors in 1925, June 16th, accommodating about 80 kids from Moscow and the nearest Ukrainian towns.

Then it was just a step ahead of a basic camping ground, with kids sleeping in tents out in the forest. However, it grew rapidly until in early 1930s a few permanent buildings were built. It was then Artek started working all year round due to its mild Mediterranean-like climate.

viezd v artek 1920s 500x341 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

One of the first lots to arrive, early 1920s

1927 osnov soloviev dir shishmarev 500x358 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

1927. Central – Artek’s founder Soloviev, next to him – GM Shishmarev.

1925 500x342 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

1925. The evidence of tent life.

1928 arrival from simfer 500x319 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

1928. Arrival from Simpheropol

For a regular Soviet kid, a ticket to Artek did not cost anything – yet it had to be well-earned. Within a school, for instance, only the top students were rewarded by the trip to Artek. During its heydays Artek accommodated about 27 000 kids a year, so from its first days to 1969 about 300 000 kids were able to enjoy the facilities. By then the area of the camp was about 3.2 km², there were more than a hundred bulidings including the sleeping quarters, three medical buildings, a proper school for those visiting Artek during the academic year; a movie pavillion Artekfilm, three swimming pools, a stadium seating more than 6000 spectators at a time as well as a park, a garden and some sporting and play grounds.

39 500x336 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

One of the permanent blocks on Artek’s territory

After the Collapse of the Soviet Union the popularity of Artek took a swing, due to the lack of funding and the overall mishaps of the Ukrainian country. But it quickly gained its status back and it is a popular vacation site for the kids from all over Russia and Ukraine – despite the fact that now the parents bear the costs of a vacation.

suuk su beach mb1940 diver 500x341 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

The seaside. Suuk Su Beach, the diver statue

na lineiku 500x343 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

The flag alignment

A typical day at Artek would have a 7 am start, regardless of the season, followed by the morning exercise and bathroom routines. After breakfast kids would go to the beach, be it summer – or to the school quarters in winter, where they’d stay till lunch – sunbathing or studying, depending how lucky they are. After lunch – and this has been reinforced quite seriously from the very early days of the camp – all kids, regardless of age, would have to take a two hour nap. Traditionally the Artek nap has been nicknamed as Absolut – because during the nap the supervisors would require absolute silence – even if one was awake, he could only read quietly in bed, no exceptions. After the nap and a wee snack (a glass of juice/piece of fruit/tea with biscuits) kids split up into their teams and prepare for competitions or concerts till dinner. After dinner – and the food was good! – the whole of Artek would get together. 10Pm was the bed time, and it would be much desired – after such an intense day.

1933 koster 500x313 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

1933. The Big Fire – the symbol of pioneria.

Structurally Artek was a group of ten smaller camps, each accommodating  kids according to their age, from 9 up to 16. Each team of kids would have two or three adult supervisors, who typically are students in training to become teachers. The supervisors are responsible for kids safety, entertainment and the nicest memories. Kids would have to defend the honour of their teams in sport, singing, dancing, theatrical plays and so on.

1937igrotekaold 500x302 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

Faces of 1937

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Morning exercise.

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Morning exercise

stol 500x357 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

Canteen. Most likely, lunch. The reputation of Artek’s food has always been very envious.

outing 467x500 Good Soviet Kids Go to Heaven? Nope, They Go to Artek!

Sea voyage. The boat is called Artek

More pictures at RealUSSR.com

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17 Responses to “Artek – Soviet Summer Vacation Camp”

  1. Baron says:

    FIRST!!!

    YEAH FINALLY IS IT A DREAM?

  2. Baron says:

    now i can comment on this topic… nice camp!

  3. Dovanov says:

    Wonderful photos!

  4. CZenda says:

    The trips to Artek were awarded to “pioneers” from countries subjected to Communist rule, too. I remember a classmate who, during 80s, was “awarded” the trip after she won some kind of competition (possibly in reciting Russian poetry). She returned deeply shocked and spoke of concentration camp-like discipline and tragic quality of food.

  5. golda says:

    Nice post..

  6. mad1982 says:

    Cool pix

  7. Cracker says:

    Isn’t the boat in the last photo called “Armek”?

  8. Alchemist says:

    Cyrillic T looks in handwriting like m

  9. My Name Is Nobody says:

    The trips to Artek were awarded to “pioneers” from countries subjected to Communist rule, too. I remember a classmate who, during 80s, was “awarded” the trip after she won some kind of competition (possibly in reciting Russian poetry). She returned deeply shocked and spoke of “concentration camp”-like discipline and tragic quality of food.

  10. UB says:

    Dobro pozhalovat, ili postoronnim vkhod vospreshchyon aka Welcome – Entry Forbidden
    A must-see movie about Artek from Elem Klimov.

    What a pity no torrent files. I want to see Inochkin again!

  11. Andre says:

    Great camp I spent the summer there in 1982
    wonderful experience.

  12. othman khefacha says:

    Great experience , I was there during summer 1978 in palivaya

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