WORTH A SECOND GLANCE
AN AIRPORT IN DISGUISE
a postcard show has yielded little of interest, many collectors invest a bit of
time in flipping through boxes of cheap unsorted modern cards in the hope that,
among the beach hotels, landscapes and cathedrals, there may be the odd item of
aviation interest. It is likely however
that this card would be passed over in any such search – there are certainly
no aircraft to be seen. It appears to be either what the English call a stately home, or
maybe a church, municipal building or museum. The style is Classical, with 10
Greco-Roman style columns and
a bell tower and it is set in what appears to be a small town square,
with few cars and, as ever on postcards, the sky is blue.
So, what is it, a small town centre in the Mediterranean ?
- perhaps the answer is on the back. Partially,
as it has a pre-printed stamp from the old Soviet Union but everything else is
in Cyrillic script.
cut a long story short this is an Airport postcard, albeit landside. The “bell
tower” is in fact the control tower. The site is Lvov, then in the USSR in the
part of Europe that gave rise to the following story. A journalist is
interviewing the oldest inhabitant of a village, who describes how she was born
in Austria, then for a few years lived alternately in Poland
and Russia, then for a few years in Germany, then decades back in Russia
and finally, here in the Ukraine. He remarks on how much she has traveled in her
long life but she replies “Oh No, I have never left this village”. The “village” could have been Lvov. Founded in the 13th century
in Eastern Galicia, the city of Lvov was under Austrian rule from 1772 to 1918;
Polish, from independence in 1918 until annexation to Soviet Russia in late
September, 1939; German, after the German offensive of June, 1941; and in the
Soviet Union again, following the defeat of Germany in 1945. Presently it is
within the borders of the recently independent state of the Ukraine.
buildings in Lvov ( or its aliases of Lemburg, Lwow or Lviv)
would have survived WW2 and the airport was probably constructed in the
same phase of Stalin-era reconstruction that gave Moscow its “Wedding Cake”
confirm the diagnosis that this is indeed an airport, the same building is seen
on another Soviet card, this time from airside with the tail of an Aeroflot
Antonov An10 to prove the point.
To add to the confusion this latter card is also all in Cyrillic, but in this case only the Ukrainian form, while the landside card at least had both the Russian and Ukrainian forms, where the forms of Lwow are, as near as can be got on a western keyboard ^bBOB and ^bBIB.