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Everything about the Soviet Union was enormous: the land mass, the historical feats, the ambitions, and the mistakes. The USSR has fallen, but its obscure creativity still stands in the shape of massive concrete buildings that reflect the unique spirit of the socialist state. Here are nine examples of big, stark, extravagant Soviet-era constructions that look like science-fiction creations.

Photo: Michal Piec/Shutterstock

Created in 1983 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Georgievsk, which established eastern Georgia as a protectorate of the Russian Empire, the Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument (also called the Peace Monument) is located smack dab on the only road from Russia to Tbilisi. The arch stands on a viewpoint overlooking the deep ravines and immense mountains of the Caucasus range. Inside the stone-clad semicircle designed by architect Giorgi Chakhava (also the creator of the iconic Soviet-era “Ministry of Roads” building in Tbilisi) is a huge, colorful Soviet-style mosaic depicting scenes of Georgian and Russian history.

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