Nuclear Dubna. High tech and old school
Institute part — The Museum of a lock — Ratmino —Tridtsatka — Smolenskaya church

At the very end of a periodic table there is an element Dubnium. According to a famous legend, this name was given to it by American atomic scientists from Berkeley University in honor of their Russian colleagues (berkelium is already there). But in fact, it was created and got its name here in Dubna. A showcase of Soviet atom for peace, the city of scientists Dubna is an island of hypothetical imaginary Russia with high technologies, educated people and comfortable environment.

1. Institute part
  • The heart of Dubna — Joint Institute for Nuclear Research
Dubnians usually pronounce this abbreviation (JINR) drawlingly
The heart of Dubna is Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), and dubnians usually pronounce this abbreviation drawlingly. One of its parts is called Laboratory of Nuclear Problems (LNP). Synchrophasotron is hidden somewhere here and its functioning, according to a popular Soviet comedy, is based on «acceleration principle in magnetic field». Founded in 1956, the institute quickly became a world center of nuclear research and, unlike other Soviet «objects», was always open for everyone. The most famous of its activities is synthesis of new chemical elements, which has recently become a collaboration of Russian and American nuclear scientists. 

Around JINR there are Institute part, central district of Dubna with a terminal railway station, where railway track reminds of a tram road. Along Zholio-Kyuristreet there are 2-storey Stalin-style houses in the shadow of high trees, The House of scientists (JINR administration), a fountain with a pigeon figure in a public garden and a few cottages for science elite of the 50s. At the end of the street there is a huge recreation centre «Mir». A public garden next to it is decorated with mosaic panels by Nadezhda Leger, a belarussian artist, a wife of a French abstract painter Fernand Leger. Behind the recreation centre is a bank of the Volga with a beach and arbors. All over the Institute part you can see monuments of different great nuclear scientists: Bogolyubov, Kurchatov, Flerov and other geniuses. Many chemical elements, synthesized here, were named after many of them.
2. The Museum of a lock
  • The collection of the Museum of a lock is impressive
Don’t look for a castle in Dubna (in Russian «zamok» means both «lock» and a castle») — now we are talking about the museum of a lock
It is located in Institute part, near the railway and also functions as an antique shop. The collection of locks is very impressive, including authentic pre-mongolian ones (in those days in Russia it used to be the goods for export). In Dubna, not far from the railway station, there is also a museum of local lore — just one room on the 1st floor of a high-rise building, having a lot of interesting things though. For example, a model of old Russian Dubna, razed to the ground by Mongolians, findings of its occupation layers or original tools of the prisoners, who built hydrotechnical constructions. 
3. Ratmino
  • The church of the Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the only pre-revolution building in Dubna

A former village at the arrow of the Volga and the Dubna is remarkable not only for its landscape, but also for the remains of Vyazemskys’ manor — a park and a white church of the Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1824) — now it is the only pre-revolutionary stone building in the city. Near the gates there is a memorial stone to Old Russian Dubna, and near the river there is a site of ancient settlement.

4. Left bank or Tridtsatka
  • Mig-25P in Oktyabrskaya street
The part of Dubna over the river used to be a village from the building of a hydropower station until 1960. The last 2 years of its independence it was a town Ivankovo in Tverskaya region.
There was another kind of high tech here — a local car factory 30 produces hydroplanes in 1946—1953. Then «trophy» German specialists helped to develop rocket gliders, and their production is still on (KB «Raduga» and a factory named after Fyodorov). There was never a production chain here, so the majority of inhabitants of Left Bank are not working-class, but engineers, though those from the Institute part always looked down on them.
The factory entrance with an old factory kitchen is especially interesting (now there is a restaurant «Kamelot» here). There are also Stalin-style house blocks (recreation centre «Oktyabr» with a group of Leger’s mosaics in front of it is especially beautiful) and two monuments: a rocket H-22 «Burya» in Zhukovsky street and a plane Mig-25P in Oktyabrskaya street.
5. Smolenskaya church
  • Smolenskaya church is young yet beautiful
A newly built, yet very beautiful wooden church in a remote part of the district. Russian North style is easily recognized, and those experienced in architecture will think of its prototype — Nikolo-Korelsky monastery in Arkhangelsk region, which was the last in Russia to have wooden fortress walls. On its territory there are two churches and a cross in memory of the victims of a radiation accident. The intellectual atmosphere of Dubna is supported even by the beggary, who can discuss the camera lens you are using and show a few little known sightseeings.

Where to eat

There are many cafes in Dubna and the level is quite good, because the city itself is cultural and wealthy. A canteen in the House of Scientists is very authentic, but it is quite hard to get there. A restaurant in «Dubna» hotel is something similar, the hotel belongs to JINR, that is why there are many scholars there, too. Near the recreation centre «Mir» you can buy local pastry which are cheap and absolutely delicious.

Where to stay

Dubna is an international city, that is why there are no problems with finding a place to stay. There is a racy departmental «Dubna», consisting of two different hotels (where it can be hard to find a room for non-scientists, though) and 4-star «Park-Otel» and «Rezident-Otel» and unpretentious «Center-hostel» with a bed in a mixed room for 600 roubles. 

How to get there

By car: until the end of Moscow — Dubna highway.
By public transport: suburban trains from Savelovsky railway station and buses from «Savelovskaya» metro station every hour, the journey time is 2—2,5 hours. 

Author: IlyaBuyanovsky

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