The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #173


A reader writes:

Looks like a dump; Ford Capri on one side; Victorian brickwork, dome, and chimney stacks. Then the Jesus and Mary Chain came on my stereo at random, which I took as a powerful omen.


Bilious looking weather, the first signs of fall already on the trees, a general air of damp – it’s definitely northern Europe.  But where?  There’s an almost total lack of landmarks in this one. Instead, I’m going with style – the Hanseatic League-ish old architecture, the slightly Germanic style, the Eastern Bloc recent architecture, what I can make of the license plates on the cars, what looks like a Russian-made Lada Samara hatchback parked in the alleyway, the Baltic Sea-like cloud cover, the obviously flat terrain – so I’m going to go with Szczecin, Poland.  I’m open to the idea that it might be a smaller, more farming-oriented town nearby due to the prominently parked tractor, and maybe a bit inland what with the wall-mounted AC units, but Szczecin is my bet for the closest major city.


Here’s an “above-the-fold” guess for you: Indianapolis. That dome … I swear it’s the Indiana statehouse. Where the rest of the skyline went, I cannot say. Nor can I explain the Lada in Indiana. I’m writing it off as the mother of all red herrings. And those air conditioner units sure look like the ones from the Procredit Bank contest (number 147?). But that dome. Indianapolis.


The closest I got was Belgrade, Serbia, with the Soviet-style buildings, satellite dishes and split ACs. Could be the Serbian national assembly building with the dome in the background.  Ah this was fun, even though I did not find the location.


I’ve spent a lot of time in Russia, and a combination of the crumbling plaster, doors, fencing, overcast sky, the red car foreground right, and general look of the interior courtyard (dvor) makes me think Russia. The dome on the horizon looks to me like the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, and that just might be a Russian flag flying from it.


It’s City 17. I knew this immediately, having spent hours in this place during the Uprising. Pretty clever of the photographer, though, leaving the Citadel out of the frame. I’ve attached another view from down the block where it’s nice and prominent:


You can also see a Combine police officer in the street.  I don’t think the street has a name.


That looks like the steeple of an Orthodox church on the skyline, which is all I’m really going on. At first I thought it might be Yerevan, Armenia, but the flora seems too lush and the general apparent level of prosperity seems too high to be Armenia, so I’m going with Georgia. Tblisi?


The architecture of some of the buildings feels a little 1960s Eastern Bloc. But the industrial smoke stack in the middle of apartment buildings reminds me of places I’ve seen to in China.  So I’ll guess Guangzhou.

I’m speculating that the only possible way to locate the view would be for someone to recognize the dome with the cupola and flag.  But that’s beyond me.  Plus the scene is so depressing it inspires no wanderlust at all or the desire to go Googling.  However, in addition to trying to figure out the view, recently I have started to guess how many people, if any, I think will get the correct window.  This week I say no one gets it.

A reader gets it:

Hi, this is my second entry and the second time I’ve actually solved it! It’s Lviv, Ukraine. The window looks north toward the Lviv railway station tower peeking just over the darker red tile roof in the right-center of the frame.

Our window is on the back side of the gray building whose wing comes into view at the right edge of the frame. The front of our building (facing south) extends along the north side of Fed’kovycha Street, between Smal’-Stots’koho Street to the west and Yaroslava Pasternaka Street (intersecting one block to the east). I couldn’t actually find our building on Street View, but I found that red tile roof building, and its neighboring structure (to the right in our frame) with the yellow and white two-toned exterior. The fronts of both those buildings both face a square (”skver”) with street names that aren’t indicated in Google Maps, but the square is marked. Judging from our view of that yellow and white building, I think our window is on the fifth floor.

I started by looking at Eastern European church towers, first Riga and Vilnius, and then looked at the map of Ukraine and decided to start with Lviv. There is just enough of that dome, showing in our picture, to allow for a match and also a decent guess about our distance. It took several minutes, but I actually found the dumpy, horizontal white building on the left of our frame (behind the smokestack) in Street View.

I can report that I am definitely not yet jaded or blasé about being able to solve these! I am getting better, but still suppose that anything I can solve will be obvious to several hundred others. I will still keep fingers crossed!

Only one other reader correctly answered Lviv, and not only did she get more specific than the previous reader, but she has participated in four times as many contests, so she’s the clear winner this week:

The last few weeks I’d gotten discouraged, and not just because my husband had found the right site for the Portugal one and let me spend several more hours wandering around France in Google Earth.

This is Lviv, Ukraine. The picture was definitely taken from this building, listed as Turoperator TATUR ulitsa Fedkovicha, 60, 433 Lviv, Lvovskaya oblast’, Ukraine 79000, but from inside the lot/courtyard area. I haven’t been able to find a picture of that side of the building, but it looks like it was taken on the 3rd floor, ENE side of the building? There are a few businesses with names in English listed on the side of the building, PWC office, Tebodin, and others, which might be good candidates for Dish readers, but I can’t tell which one would be on the right floor and side of the building. Or maybe this is a stairwell? Bathroom?

It felt like Eastern Europe – I spent a lot of time in Poland, then Latvia, then Lithuania. I thought the old factory-type setting would be the key, and figured the dome in the background was too generic. Not so – turns out, that shape is pretty unique and most domes like that are from churches and have crosses on top, not flags. I’d almost given up last night to do my real work when I took one final stab and did a Google image search for Lviv to see if anything stood out, and I yelped when I saw the railway station dome with the flag on it.

Lesson learned: Always avoid your work just a little longer to work on the VFYW contest.

From the submitter:

Imagine my surprise when I saw my window on the weekly contest. I am based in the US and spend 4-6 weeks a year in L’viv. This is the view from my window of the team room I work from, at Fedkovycha Street, 60a. The photo was taken from the third floor, second window from the left, at 7:00pm local time, 9/27/2013. The area is a mix of commercial office buildings and flats with old manufacturing thrown in. The dome in the distance is the train station a little over .5 KM away.

I’ve attached a picture to show the window it was taken from:


Thanks for posting my window!

One more notable entry:

This week’s contest subject was particularly sadistic, but I suppose there have been a few easy contests in a row, so I suppose one like this was due.

The scene has a particular post-industrial ex-Soviet feel to it, with the funky windows on the prefab building in the background, the rusty ex-chemical or gas plant at left with the dilapidated stack, and the dead giveaway … the unofficial national mascot of Russia – a Lada hatchback parked in the foreground!

The only real unique identifier this week was the flagged dome over the top of the buildings. The dome topped with a flag was unique enough – very few domes seem to be adorned with flags – most have statues or religious icons. The flagged domes I could identify that also had a prominent cupola were: The Indiana Statehouse, Munich’s Hofgarten, The Serbian Parliament in Belgrade, and St. Isaac’s Cathedral in Petrograd.

Indianapolis made no sense given the Lada and the shape of the license plate, but the other three weren’t so easy to eliminate. The Hofgarten isn’t very tall and surrounded by other, taller buildings, and the scene seemed too shoddy be in gentrified Munich. The spire wasn’t the right shape to be the Belgrade parliament, so that left the cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Placing the smokestack wasn’t so straightforward. Based on the facing of the satellite dishes we were most likely looking north – as the northern hemisphere must look south to see the Clark belt satellites. This put us in a relatively small cone of St. Petersburg – but based on the attached photo, I couldn’t ascertain where our stack was located:

St-Petersburg stacks circled

So, I patrolled the area on Street View, but couldn’t find any matching architecture, so I’m pretty sure this is St. Petersburg/Petrograd, but in a back lot within a 1-2km radius cone south of St. Isaac’s.