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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Instagram, Photography, landscape, saint petersburg, russia, fort,

Exploring the Abandoned “Plague Fort” in Kronstadt, Russia

For more photos and videos from Fort Alexander I, explore the Форт «Император Александр I» (Чумной) location page.

In the Gulf of Finland, a tiny fortified island sits quietly off the coast of Kronstadt, Russia. The Russian military constructed Fort Alexander I in 1845 as a way to guard the waters near Saint Petersburg. Although the fort played a key role in resisting military tensions of the time, it was never used in actual battles. By the late 1800s, the entire island was handed over to the Imperial Institute of Experimental Medicine (currently known as the Institute of Experimental Medicine of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences), who then converted the fort into a research laboratory for plague and other bacterial diseases. Known as the “Plague Fort,” the facility is currently preserved as a public sightseeing destination that provides mysterious, abandoned spaces to capture by visiting and local Instagrammers alike.

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Photography, Instagram, Location Feature, landscape, ghost city, russia,

Exploring “Ghost City” (город-призрак) in Seredinkovo, Russia

For more bizarre and beautiful photos from “Ghost City” in Seredinkovo, explore the Город Призрак location page.

Old taverns, abandoned docks and ghost ships are all part of “Ghost City” (город-призрак), a park located in the small town of Seredinkovo in the Russian countryside. The park premises were originally constructed as a Russian movie set in 2010, and were designed to look like an 18th-century European city. Now open to the public, the former film set allows visitors to explore the “city” and dress up in period costumes. With replicas of prisons, gallows, hotels, cemeteries, a fort and more, the park offers opportunities to capture time-worn landscapes for visitors and Instagrammers alike.

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Instagram, Cars, retro, russia, ukraine, User Feature, roadtrip, travel, coast, Photography,

A Nostalgic Ride Through Russia with @dobryvolshebnik

To see more photos from Georgy’s journeys in his orange car, follow @dobryvolshebnik

"People on the road always spot this orange classic car. They remember their Soviet past—some of them had this model 20 or 30 years ago," says Russian Instagrammer Georgy Chernyshev (@dobryvolshebnik), who uses the retro vehicle to travel with his girlfriend across Russia and Ukraine. The car is a 1975 Muscovite (Russian “Moskvitch”—”Mосквич”), and Georgy says its distinctiveness helps him meet interesting people in his journeys. He also feels inspired to travel more. “You can feel a special nostalgia traveling in this car which you wouldn’t get in a modern car,” he says. “I feel its soul, character and history.”

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Photography, Instagram, Location Feature, ossetia, russia, itsbaat, User Feature, landscape,

Exploring North Ossetia with @itsbaaat

For more photos and videos throughout North Ossetia, follow @itsbaaat and browse #exploringossetia hashtag on Instagram.

“I do not post just beautiful photos of nature,” Russia Instagrammer Batraz Butaev (@itsbaaat) explains of his love for the inspiring natural beauty of the North Ossetia region. “I share my memories of the most important moments spent with my friends in my favorite places, such as the snow-covered mountains, deep forests, mountain roads and waterfalls.” Following Baltraz’s lead, the local Instagram community uses the #exploringossetia hashtag to share their own picturesque photos of the area. As he explains, “I wanted to have a common gallery with my friends, showing how beautiful nature is in the North Ossetia region.”

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islam, ramadhan, mosque, russia, Location Feature, Instagram,

Discovering Kazan’s Kul Sharif, One of Europe’s Largest Mosques

To view more photos and videos of this mosque in Kazan, Russia, explore the Kul Sharif location page.

Shimmering like a blue and white jewel, the rebuilt Kul Sharif mosque (Кул-Шариф) is the Islamic heart of the Russian city of Kazan. Its striking architectural features include four towering minarets, marble and granite exterior facades, alabaster carvings, stained glass windows and a central dome inspired by the ancient crown worn by Kazan khans. With a capacity to accommodate 1,500 worshippers within and 10,000 more outside on the two adjacent pavilions, Kul Sharif is one of Europe’s largest mosques.

Despite its recent completion in 2005, the mosque has a long history. The original Kul Sharif mosque was a cornerstone of the city’s civic and religious activity in the 16th century until it was destroyed in 1552 during the conquests of Ivan the Terrible. Today, the mosque stands as an important symbol for the city’s Islamic past and for the region’s vision as a peaceful home for its multiethnic populations.

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Cosmonautics Day, russia, current events,

Celebrating Cosmonautics Day (День Космона́втики) in Russia

For more photos from Cosmonautics Day, explore the Памятник Гагарину (Yuri Gargarin Monument) and аллея Космонавтов (Cosmonauts Alley) location pages.

Every year on April 12, Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day: a commemorative event to remember the achievements of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961. The 27-year-old circled Earth in the Vostok 1 (Восток-1) spacecraft for one hour and 48 minutes, making the first manned space flight and marking a new chapter in space exploration.

On Saturday, a ceremonial procession in Moscow will visit a number of important commemorative landmarks including Gagarin’s statue, then his grave in the Red Square’s Kremlin Wall Necropolis and through Cosmonauts Alley before concluding in Novodevichy Cemetery.

More recently, the celebration on April 12 has spread to communities worldwide as “Yuri’s Night”—an occasion to inspire public interest in space exploration.

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russia, user feature, urban exploring,

Viewing the World from Above with @raskalov and @makhorov

To see more photos and views from high above, follow @raskalov and @makhorov on Instagram.

Standing on the roofs of buildings that reach higher than 500 meters (1,640 feet) tall would be terrifying for most, but for Russian Instagrammers Vitaliy Raskalov (@raskalov) and Vadim Makhorov (@makhorov) great heights are a daily adventure.

"One day my friends took me on a roof trip," explains Vitaliy. "That was the start of my long journey. It was a hobby at first, but now it has became a kind of work."

Vitaliy and Vadim post photos to Instagram from the top of some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, including China’s Shanghai Tower and Russia’s Moscow City Tower. This daredevil activity, not to be tried at home, is known as urban exploring.

"I use Instagram because it’s fast and easy to save such beautiful moments—and I enjoy the responses from the community," Vitaliy adds.

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Ostankino Tower, location feature, Russia, Moscow, Architecture,

Floating Above Moscow in the Ostankino Tower (Останкинская телебашня)

To see more photos and videos from Moscow’s Ostankino Tower, explore the Останкинская телебашня location page.

Soaring 540 meters (1,772 feet) into the sky above Moscow, Russia, the Ostankino Tower (Останкинская телебашня) provides radio and television signal as well as an astounding view for those who venture to its top.

Completed in 1967 and named after Moscow’s Ostankino district, the tower was the world’s first freestanding structure to top 500 meters. Today, visitors can snap both panoramas of Moscow and the earth 360 meters (1,180 feet) below the tower’s glass-bottomed observation deck.