PHOTO by Darya Garnik /

The life of Yuri Gagarin, the first person to make a space flight, made him a cult figure in the Soviet mythology. The conquest of outer space was not only a priority of the domestic policy by the USSR, but also an object of rivalry with the United States during the Cold War. The rapid development of science and success in the space race gave the Soviet citizens a reason to be proud of their country and confidence in its greatness. And the figure of Gagarin, born in an ordinary family from the Russian heartland, served as an indisputable proof that "everything is possible" for a Soviet man.

Immediately after Gagarin’s historic flight, his native town of Gzhatsk opened a museum in his honour, and a month after his death the city was renamed Gagarin. The growth of Gagarin's life history into the space and urban memory of Gagarin-city gives this place a surrealistic vibe of frozen time and nostalgia of the great past.