SM Kirov House and Museum – Leningrad (Saint Petersburg)

Sergei Kirov Apartment Museum

Sergei Kirov Apartment Museum

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SM Kirov House and Museum – Leningrad (Saint Petersburg)

Kirov’s museum is located in the famous ‘House of Three Benois’ on the second entrance of the house number 26/28 on Kamennoostrovsky Prospect, on the 4th and 5th floors.

‘The House of three Benois’ is one of the largest pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg tenement buildings. It was constructed in 1911-1914. for the First Russian Insurance Company, designed by architects L. Benois, A. Benois, J. Benois and A. Gunst.

After the revolution of 1917, many apartments in this house became communal. Some of the apartments have been given to the Party and government leaders.

In April 1926, Kirov started to live in a service apartment number 20 in the house 26/28 on the Krasnyh Zor’ (Red Dawn) street (former Kamennoostrovsky Avenue). Sergei Mironovich Kirov was head of the Communist party organization in Leningrad. There he lived with his wife, Maria Lvovna Marcus until the last day of his life, up to December 1st 1934. In 1955, the apartment became a museum.

In addition to the memorial five-room apartment (in four of which authentic furniture are fully preserved ) you will see two hallways, bathroom and kitchen (which were renovated in the 2000s.). In the former maids room is an interactive educational game ‘Take what you are given’, which dedicated to the food supply and rationing system in 1920-1930 Leningrad. In another room of the museum is an exposition ‘Kirov’s office in Smolny’.

Text from the museum website.

Location and information:

5th floor

Kamennoostrovsky Avenue, 26-28,

St. Petersburg,


Metro: Petrogradskaya, Gorkovskaya

Opening Hours

Everyday: 11.00 to 18.00.

Ticket Office: from 11.00 to 17.30

Closed: Wednesday


Adults 200 rouble

Students 150 rouble

Guided Excursion:

(individuals) 600 rouble + entrance

(group 3-5) 1,500 rouble + entrance

To Book a Guided Excursion: (812) 346-02-89



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Uaxactun – Guatemala



More on the Maya

Uaxactun – Guatemala


Uaxactun is accessed via a dirt track from Tikal and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes. The distance is 24 km and the track is passable, but a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended during the rainy season. There is also a daily bus to Uaxactun. The site is divided into two parts by the houses of the modern village and the visit lasts several hours.

History of the explorations

At the beginning of the 20th century, the place was known as San Leandro and Bambonal by the local rubber tappers. Its name changed to Uaxactun following its discovery by the Mayanist Sylvanus G. Morley on the morning of 5 February 1916. That same day Morley discovered Stela 9 and on deciphering the date of the stone realised that it began with the sign for Baktun 8, which in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to the year 327 BC, making it the oldest sculpted monument discovered to that date. In honour of this stela, Morley decided that the site should be named Uaxactun, which literally means ‘stone 8’. Recent epigraphic studies have revealed that the original name of the city was Sian Kan and that it enjoyed great prestige due to its antiquity and ancestry.

Uaxactun is one of the most important Maya archaeological sites as it was the among the first to be investigated and laid down a series of guidelines for future explorations. The ceramic spheres defined at Uaxactun continue to be used to establish the timeline and culture of the main periods into which the history of the lowlands is divided. It was here that the Carnegie Institution in Washington detected the first observatory in the 1920s. Such observatories are known as Group E complexes in honour of the discovery of this structure in Group E at Uaxactun. They are also known as astronomical complexes because they were used to observe the sun’s cycle, enabling the ancient Maya to understand the seasons, define solstices and equinoxes, perfect the calendar and predict the arrival of the rainy season. The first explorations were conducted between 1926 and 1937 by Oliver Ricketson and Ledyard Smith of the Carnegie Institution in Washington. The second project was undertaken by Guatemalan archaeologists between 1983 and 1986, led by Juan Antonio Valdes of the Tikal National Project; during this campaign, 11 buildings were restored and are now visible in groups A, B and E. In the meantime, around 1970, Edwin Shook and Enrique Monterroso had renovated the famous structure E-7-Sub.

Site description

The present-day village, also called Uaxactun, has an old airstrip that cuts through the urban centre and the pre-Hispanic site. It was used for decades during the mid-20th century for the extraction of chicle or gum, which used to be the region’s principal product. Situated to the south are groups D, E, F and a little further away Group H, all of which correspond to the oldest construction periods. North of the airstrip, on the hilltops, lie groups A, B and C, which boast the best architectural ruins, palaces, an acropolis and a wide causeway connecting groups A and B.

The oldest section of the site is Group E, which dates from around 600 BC. Its earliest inhabitants built wattle-and-daub houses on small limestone platforms, marking the beginning of social differentiation in the core area of the group. Nearby lay the crop fields and several chultunes excavated in the limestone for storing grain after the harvest. The city grew and made significant progress under the guidance of rulers with great vision, who built plazas and large acropolis complexes with buildings that showed off the latest advances in the local architecture. Between 400 and 200 BC, several versions of the astronomical complex were built and a vast plaza to accommodate gatherings of hundreds of people for public ceremonies. Another space with religious functions and strictly reserved for the elite was also built, namely a plaza with three buildings that defined the triadic pattern associated with the three gods of the creation. This place was filled at the beginning of the Early Classic for the construction of buildings E-4, 5 and 6 on top of a huge platform. The prosperity achieved by the local rulers gave rise to the construction of the most beautiful acropolis at Uaxactun during the 1st century BC. The seat of power was transferred to Group H, composed of two plazas, North and South, situated 900 m south of Group E. All the artistic manifestations combined to show human ingenuity: architecture, sculpture, painting and stucco work fused to embellish grand platforms, palaces and pyramidal buildings, which required vast quantities of human labour to transport the clay used for the fillings of the buildings from Juventud, 1 km away. Artists decorated the facades with masks, friezes and human figures painted in red, black, orange, yellow and white. The enormous masks represented the Sun God, the Jaguar of the underworld and the Sacred Mountain. The disposition of the buildings repeats the triadic pattern as a symbolic element, and because of the modest proportions of their spaces they are thought to have been reserved for officials involved in rituals and the administration of the city. Uaxactun boasts the first buildings totally made out of stone, with one or two corbel-vaulted rooms, which again are among the first known examples in the Maya region. For reasons we have yet to discover, Group H was buried and abandoned around the 2nd century AD.

At the beginning of the Early Classic, the nobility decided to move to the hilltops where groups A and B are located. However, the course of the history of Uaxactun changed dramatically when it was subjugated to Tikal in AD 378 at the hands of a nobleman called Siyaj K’ak’, apparently from the Mexican plateau. The short distance between Tikal and Uaxactun, combined with the progress achieved by both cities, had led to increasing rivalry to maintain prestige and territorial control of the region. After this defeat, Uaxactun was overshadowed and successive sovereigns wrote on the sculpted monuments that they were the descendants of Siyaj K’ak’, the dynasty’s ancestor.

Groups A and B, expanded during the Classic period (AD 250-900), exhibit the best examples of architecture, broad access causeways and the only ball court. Palace B-13 revealed a polychrome mural with two sovereigns, their noble companions and a group of women chatting; unfortunately, it was destroyed by plunderers. Group B is distinguished by several sculpted monuments, but especially by Stela 5, the front of which shows a portrait of Siyaj K’ak’. The Ball Court adopts the north-south orientation of the courts built during the Late Classic and unusually displays a smooth stela that has been reused as part of one of the walls at the north end. From here, a wide and exquisitely made causeway leads to Group A, which is raised, passes in front of Building A-3 and ends at Building A-2 in the Main Plaza, all built during the Late Classic. The Main Plaza also contains several stelae and fragments of smooth and sculpted monuments. Stela 9, discovered by Morley, shows the oldest known sovereign of the site. Opposite Structure A-2 are stelae 12 and 13, the latest sculpted monuments at the site.

Rising next to the Main Plaza is the Acropolis comprising several buildings known as A-5. This was the seat of power during the Classic period and it is here where five of its famous sovereigns from the Early Classic were buried. The East Plaza is distinguished by Palace A-18, the most handsome construction on the whole site, built on a platform and comprising two storeys and 18 rooms. An internal staircase leads to the top storey, where it is still possible to see the remains of a stone throne on which the sovereign would sit to observe his subjects gathered in the plaza. Four causeways that connected the main urban groups on the site have been discovered, as well as three aguadas, a pre-Hispanic well with fresh, crystalline water and various quarries that provided blocks of stone for construction purposes. The last Uaxactun rulers were Olom Chik’in Chakte and K’al Chik’in Chakte, who reigned in the AD 830 and 889, respectively. The references to the latter ruler appear on Stela 12, which also mentions the visit of Hasaw Chan K’awil II, the last king of Tikal, who came to participate in a ritual. Stela 12 was the last monument sculpted at the city, a few decades before Uaxactun was abandoned forever.

Juan Antonio Valdes

From: ‘The Maya: an architectural and landscape guide’, produced jointly by the Junta de Andulacia and the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, 2010, pp220-223.



1. group A; 2. Group B; 3. Group C; 4. Group D; 5. Group E; 6. Group F.

Getting there;

From Santa Elena. Each day there’s a bus that is scheduled to leave Santa Elena bus station at 13.00 – but it will often leave later and take a long time to get out of the city and on the main road. Be patient. It will arrive in Uaxactun at around 17.00. Foreigners will have to get out at the National Park entrance (about 18km before the archaeological site of Tikal) and pay the park entrance fee. This is currently Q150 per day. You will need at least 2 nights in Uaxactun to visit the ruins there. That means 3 days in the park and consequently Q450. You can combine a visit to Tikal on the way back to Santa Elena at no extra cost. (See Tikal post for details of how to negotiate your visit there if you have luggage.) Santa Elena-Uaxactun Q60, Uaxactun-Tikal Q15, Tikal-Santa Elena Q50;

There are three places to stay in Uaxactun, Hostel El Chiclero (which looks down on what used to be the airstrip, on the left side as you enter the village), Aldana’s Lodge which is in a street behind El Chiclero and Eben-Ezer Hospedaje (which I think is run by the bus owner). El Chiclero also houses a small museum with finds from the site. (In the summer of 2023 most of the 570 items in the collection were in boxes. There’s no money to display them properly but it’s still worth asking to see the museum if you are there. I saw some items I hadn’t come across before.)

The archaeological sites are on either side of the airstrip, clearly marked from the village ‘centre’ but you have to keep your eyes open for the subsequent turn-offs.

The bus from Uaxactun for Tikal/Santa Elena starts to pick up people at 06.45. The journey to Tikal takes about 45 minutes. Q15.


17d 23′ 28″ N

89d 37′ 47″ W

More on the Maya

The Petén Regional Museum of the Mayan World

Museum of the Mayan World

Museum of the Mayan World

More on the Maya

The Petén Regional Museum of the Mayan World

Tayasal Archaeological site –

…. is very much a working site and, in the summer of 2023, there was little for the visitor to see. However, a very complex walkway was close to com0pletion at the time of my visit so there are obviously plans to make the area more visitor friendly.


This site played an important role in the history of the region and is situated at the end of a peninsula, immediately north of the island of Flores. Tayasal lies north of the village of San Miguel, some 150 m above sea level.

History of the explorations

There is some controversy about the location of Tayasal, the ancient capital of the Itza group. Maler was the first person to identify it, in 1910, on the peninsula of the name, although other researchers defended the hypothesis that it must have been situated on the island that the present-day city of Flores occupies. Although there is still a certain amount of doubt, the majority now believe that the island of Flores is too small for the number of settlers that the Spanish conquistadors described in the ancient city, while Tayasal is a much larger and more imposing city with plazas and groups of buildings that accommodated dwellings for thousands of people. The balance is therefore tipped in favour of the Tayasal peninsula.

Thanks to the Fifth Letter of Hernan Cortes to the Emperor Charles V, we know that he and his army passed through Tayasal in 1525, en route from Mexico to Honduras to quash a rebellion. Subsequently, there were several forays by Spanish monks and spokesmen to conquer the land, which were all to no avail until 13 March 1597 when Martin de Urzua conquered Tayasal and the environs, subjecting the population to the new political order of the Spanish crown. We also know that prior to this conquest the Spaniards made several visits to the central area of Peten, including an exploratory phase, a propaganda phase and a commercial and military phase, and that all of these took place between Cortes’s visit in 1525 and Urzua’s arrival, the first investigations at the site were conducted in 1910 and 1938 by Teobert Maler, followed by an expedition from the Carnegie Institution in Washington and another by Sylvanus Morley. All of these reported the existence of pyramid temples, temples on platforms mid simple platforms, palaces, astronomical observatories, ball courts, platforms for dancing, plazas with columns, steam baths, adoratoriums, monumental stairways, platforms for theatrical events, causeways, bridges, aqueducts, cemeteries, tombs, ossuaries and stadiums for public entertainment. In 1921 and 1922 the researchers at the Carnegie Institution determined that the structures at the west end of the peninsula were mainly from the Late Classic, although they also recovered odd materials from the Post classic. This was reaffirmed in 1986 when Miguel Rivera Dorado excavated Structure T-100 in Group 23 and determined the existence of construction and funerary features from the Early and Middle Post classic. During the same campaign Stela 3, dated to the Early Classic, was uncovered north of T-100.

Various studies have related the architectural features of the Post classic structures with those at Mayapan, based on the fact that they include benches along lateral and rear walls that were used for family fidoratoriums. The elongated buildings and open, more elaborate halls have masonry columns that once supported roofs made of perishable materials. These were found near the main temples. In 2004 new excavations were conducted in Group 23, specifically structures T-95 and T-99B, and the conclusion was reached that both contain Post classic architecture. T95 is a rectangular platform on which stands a room with three west-facing entrances, while T-99B is also a rectangular platform but with C-shaped benches and open at the front. Burial 1, discovered under the central stairway, contains a fragment of a vessel that confirms the site’s occupation in the middle or late Post classic. Other similar constructions have been found in central Peten, at sites such as Topoxte, Zacpeten, Macanche, Ixlu, Candelaria and Punta Nictun.

Pre-Hispanic history

This site represents the last enclave in the Maya region which after several failed attempts was finally subjected to the Spanish army in 1697, much later than the conquest of the Guatemalan plateau region in 1524 and the north of the Yucatan Peninsula in 1531. Tayasal, the capital of the Itza group, therefore had a much later occupation that the other sites in the region. Archaeological research supports the hypothesis of a long occupation stretching from the Middle Preclassic (800 BC) to the beginning of the 18th century.

Site description

The site was declared a National Monument by government decree on 24 April 1931. It comprises 11 sections: 1. Tayasal Main Group. 2. North Central Tayasal. 3. Tayasal Cove. 4. North-West Tayasal. 5. West Tayasal. 6. South-East Tayasal. 7. Trapiche Point. 8. West San Miguel. 9. San Miguel Aguada or natural depression. 10. East San Miguel. 11. El Jobito. The protected area is bounded to the north and west by Lake Peten Itza and to the east and south by the village of San Miguel. The site boasts more than 200 structures associated with ceremonial plazas and residential groups. There are plazas with large, open courtyards for public spaces, palace-type buildings, pyramids, residential precincts, fortified walls and a cenote or natural well.

Juan Antonio Valdes and Miriam Salas

From: ‘The Maya: an architectural and landscape guide’, produced jointly by the Junta de Andulacia and the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, 2010, pp226-228

Getting there:

From Flores. Take the colectivo launch from the closest point of the island to San Miguel. Cost – Q10. The site is off the road that comes up from the dock. Turn left at the corner of the football pitch and then left again after about 200m.

There’s not a great deal to see at Tayasal as what is of interest is currently a working archaeological site. There are many ‘explorations’ taking place around the central area. There are obviously plans to make the site more visitor friendly as in the summer of 2023 the authorities were in the process of constructing a very extensive wooden walkway system which would allow visitors to look down on what had been already uncovered.

Petén Regional Museum of the Mayan World

However, what is of interest is the town’s museum. This is in a structure which is also the towns cultural centre. This is about a 15 minute walk from the landing stage for the launches from Flores. Go up the steep street directly behind the Stone Horse (at the dock) and keep straight ahead. The Museum is on the left hand side – just after a bar with a Gallo sign outside on the right.

Entrance is free.

Be careful if visiting on a Monday. Most state museums are closed that day.

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