White House (Inner Northwest, near Kalinsky Bridge over the Moscow Rover, Krasnopresnenskaya Metro Station) was the site of two important events in recent Russian history: Yeltsin's speech on top of the tank after the August 1991 coup attempt and the blasting of the White House to thwart a nationalist rebellion in October 1993. The holes blasted by the tanks have been repaired and the building was repainted white. Now officially known as the House of Government of the Russian Federation, it housed the office of the prime minster and the national government.

The White house is a rather mundane looking office building, It was originally built in the 1970s for the House of Soviets (administrative headquarters) for the Russian Republic of the Soviet Union. In 1990, it became the home of the new parliament for the Russian republic and, in 1991, the parliament of independent Russia. After the attack in 1993, the Russian parliament was moved to the Duma building near the Kremlin. Visitors are not allowed to go in the White House

War Memorial (Marshall Grechko Prospekt) includes a church. A synagogue and mosque are planned. In 1996, the foundation was laid for a new synagogue in Moscow, the first in the capital since the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. The synagogue is built near an Orthodox church. There are plans to build a mosque nearby. The aim is to unite the three religion that fought together against Nazi Germany.

Sandunovsky Baths (City Center, a few blocks from the Bolshoi Theater, Kuznetssky Most Metro Station) is one of the most famous banyas (steam baths) in Moscow. Founded in 1896, it is oldest bath in Moscow and yellow plaster walls on the outside. The interior is lavishly decorated with mahogany benches, oval mirrors and friezes of plaster cupids on the pink walls. There are communal bathes and private booths. The ritual here is to take an ultra hot bath followed by splashes of icy water and swats with birch branches, followed by beer and red caviar on buttered bread. Remnants from 18th century banyas are used now by people who don't have hot water.

Russian Academy of Sciences Building (32A Leninsky Prospekt) is a unique Soviet project which is viewed as a bridge to post-Soviet postmodernism and has been nicknamed the "Golden Brains". The twenty-two-story building consists of two square towers, placed closely to each other on an extensive stylobate, hiding a winter garden and the concert hall. The metal decorations on the roof are the source of "Golden Brains" name. The RAS Building is seen as a symbol of late Soviet decline. The decision to erect it was made in 1966 but the construction didn’t start until 1974 and took 23 years to build. Construction slowed was slowed by complex soils and an effort to construct a high-quality, high-tech building in a poor location.

House with Beasts (on Chistoprudny Boulevard near Chistye Prudy.Metro station) is seven-story, pale-green brick apartment house with fabulous beasts on the fascade built in 1908-1909 and designed by the architect L. Krawiecka and civil engineer PK Meakin. On the third and fourth floors are terracotta bas-reliefs of fantastic animals, birds and plants made by an artistic team of "ants" based on sketches by the artist S. Vashkov, who lived in the house, and his student Vasnetsov. Examples of fantastic animals, birds and trees by Vashkov can also be seen on Demetrius Cathedral in Vladimir. The original House with Beasts was four stories tall. In 1945, more floors were added.

Prokhorov Manor is a mansion built more than 200 years by a rice merchant. After being left to decay it was restored in the 1990s by the Korean electronic company, Samsung, and turned into a US$25 million office. The Arab Hall boasts trim ornamented with hand-carved Arabic script. In other rooms are impressive marble pillars, crystal chandeliers, and ornately framed mirrors.


Major Squares in Moscow

Pushkin Square (up Tverskaya Ulitsa about 1½ kilometers from Red Square) is one of Moscow's main square. It is named after the famous Russian poet, considered to be the most important literary figure in Russia. The poet's statue graces the center of the park which is surrounded by 60s style glass facades include the massive Rossiya Cinema. Around Pushkin Square in the famous McDonalds, at one time the world's busiest, and the former offices are Investia and Trud.

Mayakovsky Square (Inner Northwest, on Tverskaya ulitsa, Mayakovsky Metro Station) used to be the closest thing Moscow had to Time Square in New York. A computerized neon sign with changing images warned citizens to look before they walked into the street, put their money in banks and take taxis. For a long time this was the only form of something resembling advertising that could be found in Moscow. The Tchaikovsky Concert Hall is located nearby.

Komsomal Square (Inner Northeast, between the Kazan, St. Petersburg and Yaroslavl train stations) seems rather odd for a square. On each side is a train station with trains leaving to a different place. The spired wedding cake Kazan Station is where you catch the Trans-Siberian Railway. On the other side of small green park between two highways are the St. Petersburg and Yaroslavl train stations which have trains to destinations in northern Russia.

Okyabrskaya Square (October Square) is the home of a 70-foot statue of Lenin. After the collapse of the Soviet Union many of the monuments to Marx and Lenin were pulled down. This one of the few that remains.

See Separate Article on Red Square

Manezh Square

Manezhnaya Square (off of Red Square, near the Kremlin, accessible via the Okhotny Riad and Ploschad Revolyutsii metro stations) is often crowded. Many events and celebrations are held here. The square runs along Mokhovaya and Manezhnaya (same-named to the Square) Streets. Under Manezhnaya Square is the“Okhotny Riad” shopping area. Manezhnaya Square is one of the biggest squares in the city. It has a 500-year history. Here in the 15th century tradesmen gathered to conduct business. “Manezh” means building. It was given that name after a structure built here in 1817 to the 5th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon’s army. [Source: Russian Tourism Official Website]

The Present-day appearance of Manezhnaya Square dates to 1932-1938 when a residential quarter on Neglinnaya Street was demolished in make way for a subway. The name Manezhnaya Square dates 1931. In the Soviet era it was renamed to “50 Years Anniversary of October Square”. In the 1990s its previous name was restored. From 1940 until 1990 the Square was empty and served as a huge parking place for tourists’ buses. Modern building development began in 1993 according to a project designed of M.M.Posokhin and Z.K.Ceretelli. The underground trading center “Okhotny Riad” took seven years to build.

Manezh Square Shopping Mall is an ambitious new US$340 million, 82,000-square-meter underground business and shopping complex with offices, stores and banks. Near Alexandrovsky Garden, it is one of Europe's largest shopping mall. Young people like to hang out at the fountain with bronze sculpture that illustrates Pushkin’s fairy tales.

The Roof of the shopping center features a glass dome that symbolizes part of the globe. Over the dome stands a sculpture of Saint George. Fountains and horses embellish the Square. The fountains were constructed in 1996 in honor of the 850th anniversary of Moscow. In the 1990s, the Voskresensky Gates, which were demolished in 1930s, were restored. The monument to Marshal Zhukov was erected to honor the 50th anniversary of the victory in The Great Patriotic War (World War II). The monument is now a popular meeting place. In 1993, a the “Zero Kilometer” marker was placed on Manezhnaya Square, making it central point of al of Russia. here is a custom that if you throw a coin here, it wil bring you good luck and you will come to the city again.

Victory Park

Victory Park (on Poklonnaya Gora, Minskaya Metro Station) is the home of a 340-foot obelisk topped by a copper angel and two horn-blowing cherub. Behind it is the fortress-like, Soviet-style military museum . On one side is an Orthodox cathedral (St. George the Victorious Church). On another side are a mosque (Memory Mosque) and a synagogue (Memory Synagogue). The obelisk replaced a statue of group of Russian generals, which had replaced a statue of Lenin.

A monument to the people's heroism was first proposed in 1942, but was unable to implement it in wartime conditions failed. In 1970-1980s 194 million rubles was collected from citizens to build the monument. Construction of the memorial complex began in 1984:and was completed in 1995, and opened on tthe 50th anniversary of Victory Day against the Germans on May 9, 1995. In April, an Eternal Flame on Poklonnaya Hill (Hill of Respectful Salutation) was lit from the Eternal Flame particles from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden.

Poklonnaya Gora is a park opened in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. There is a 27-ton statue of Nike being stabbed a huge bayonet, At night red lights shine on the fountain by the statue making it look as if vast amounts of blood are spurting out of Nike's body.

Victory Museum (on Poklonnaya Gora in Victory Park, Minskaya Metro Station) is a reportedly devoted to World War II officially called the Moscow Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. Located and at the centre of Victory Memorial Complex and opened in 1995, it contains military, historical and artistic expositions. There are six dioramas devoted to major battles as well as audio-visual venues showing original wartime documentary films, rare photos and cartographical and archive materials. The museum is equipped with an automated system — called the “Book of Memory” — for searching data on those who died in days in the war.. In Victory Park, you can see military hardware and engineering fortification of World War II.

Peter the Great Statue

The Peter the Great Statue (on an artificial island in the Moscow River) is a huge monstrosity erected in 1997 was part of the remaking of the Russian capital under its ambitious mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. The 98 meter-high (322 foot) goggle-eyedPeter the Great is the eighth tallest statue in the world. It is slightly taller than the Statue of Liberty and heavier (1000 tonns, with 600 tons of stainless steel, bronze and copper). The tsar stands behind the wheel of a masted frigate, clutching a golden scroll, is shown standing on a masted ship, looking more like an explore than a tsar. Other ships stick out from under his feet. Many Muscovites thought is was ironic that a 15-story, US$20 million metal monument was built to honor a monarch that didn't even like Moscow.

The Peter the Great Statue was smade by the prominent sculptor Zurab Tsereteli Mr Tsereteli, a controversial artists regarded by some critics as pompous and tasteless. Luzhkov clearly liked him and dotted Moscow with Tsereteli's statues while he was mayor. city. The Petere the Great is very unpopular. It has been described as a desecration of the skyline. One poll founded that it is the most hated monument in Russia. Yeltsin once said, "It's really ugly." The statue is so unpopular that bombs were planted under it by terrorists; police defused the bombs before they exploded.

Sergei L. Loiko wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Everyone here has an opinion about Moscow’s monument to Peter the Great. It’s pretty hard to ignore: 322 feet of stainless steel, bronze and copper sprouting from its own man-made island less than a mile from the ancient red bricks of the Kremlin wall. Tsereteli’s work depicts Russia’s modernizing Tsar clad in armor, standing at the wheel of a ship with furled sails, a map or document in hand. [Source: Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2010]

“The problem is, to many it’s by no means a great piece of art. In fact, Muscovites commonly observe that it looks more like Darth Vader, King Kong, Gulliver or the Terminator. Even Irina Bakulina’s poodle had a bad reaction: When she first started walking him along the Moscow River in Peter’s shadow, she said, the little dog seemed too frightened to accomplish his main mission.

“Tsereteli, who was born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, has both admirers and detractors here. In Soviet days, he was named a Hero of Socialist Labor. In post-Soviet Russia, he is the president of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. His works include a monument to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, built in New Jersey across from the World Trade Center site, and a sculpture at the United Nations headquarters in New York.. He has also made a statue of Mayor Luzhkov playing tennis and one of Vladimir Putin in a judo outfit and a gigantic apple that you can walk into decorated with naked figures..

“But some here think of him as the king of kitsch. One of the initial problems of the gigantic sculpture is its similarity to a statue of Christopher Columbus discovering America, which he tried — and failed — to bestow on several U.S. cities. The popular story here, vehemently denied by Tsereteli, is that with a different head, Columbus simply became Peter the Great. The structure is so remarkable that VirtualTourist website included the statue on its list of Top 10 World’s Ugliest Buildings and Monuments.”

Talk of Removing the Peter the Great Statue

In 2010, there was talk of moving the Peter the Great statue to St. Petersburg or some other place but in the end it didn’t happen. Sergei L. Loiko wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Peter might be heading for exile in the Russian Arctic. Or the scrap heap. Luzhkov has fallen out of favor with at least some of the current inhabitants of the Kremlin. After Luzhkov’s 18 years in office, President Dmitry Medvedev declared that he’d lost confidence in him and fired him. Without Tsereteli’s friend and patron to protect him, city officials say Peter may be dismantled as early as next year and moved elsewhere in Moscow or to a city somewhere in the provinces. Luzhkov’s acting replacement, Vladimir Resin, said that “a smart man learns from other people’s mistakes.” By “other people,” he clearly meant Luzhkov. [Source: Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2010]

Moscow sculptor Grigory Shpigelsky told the Los Angeles Times: “The statue must go, and there is no question about it because it doesn’t belong here in the first place,” he said in an interview. “It is so out of place here and so immense that it completely dwarfs the historic environment in its vicinity, which no monument should be allowed to do in a city like Moscow.”

But removing the statue is also a political decision. The head of the city council’s planning and development committee, Mikhail Moskvin-Tarkhanov, said the city’s chief architect has been ordered to look for a new home for the monument. “It is a very complicated and exceptionally heavy structure based on an artificial island in the Moscow River, and it may cost the city between US$25 million and US$30 million just to dismantle it,” he said. For that money, the city could build a couple of high schools or four excellent kindergartens, he said.

“I guess it would be best to first hold consultations with Muscovites and ask them whether they have already gotten used to the Tsar, to the extent that they may no longer want to part with him,” said Moskvin-Tarkhanov, who acknowledged that he’s never liked the statue. Tsereteli says it’s a shame that Moscow would even think of removing it. “Those who do not love their Tsars are not patriots,” he told the RIA Novosti news agency. For her part,Bakulina says she and her poodle have gotten used to it. “Now I am quite content with Peter, and I see tourists flocking here to look at him on foot and by boat every day and take pictures,” said the 43-year-old homemaker. “After all, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was at first denounced by many as a monstrosity too, but soon everybody grew to love it.“Why don’t we first start with removing the Lenin Mausoleum from Red Square and dismantling all the numerous Lenin statues in Moscow and across the country?” she said.

In the meantime, provincial cities are lining up. Arkhangelsk and Petrozavodsk in the far north and Voronezh to the south have asked for the disgraced Peter, Moskvin-Tarkhanov said. “In the provinces, they don’t understand how Moscow can voluntarily discard such a precious tourist attraction.”

Ostankino Tower

Ostankino Tower (North Moscow, 1.7 kilometers from VDNKh Metro Station, between Moscow’s city centre and Sheremetyevo Airport) is Europe's highest structure and Moscow's main communications hub. Built in 1967 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Revolution, it is 540 meters (1,772 feet) high, compared to 1,454 feet for the Empire State Building, and has four elevators, a 1,105-foot-high observation deck, and 1,095-foot-high Seventh Heaven restaurant.

The tower contains communications equipment for emergency services, television and radio, law-enforcement agencies and news services. There are so many antennae that the top resembles a giant hairbrush. In August, 2000 the Moscow Tower caught in fire. The fire was started by a short circuit at 1,518 feet. From there it spread downward. At 1,254 feet the fire burned through an asbestos firebreak. At 538 feet it burned through two asbestos walls. Flames were visible and crowds filled the streets to watch the action. Some drank beer and danced to music as if the whole thing was a big party.

Firewalls at 228 feet finally stopped the spread of the fire. Fireman who dodged balls of metal finally put out the fire. Many of them battled the fire with extinguishers carried by hand up more than 1,000 feet in stairs. The concrete ring that made up the tower's frame were intact but 80 of its 149 high tension cables, that keep the tower upright, were melted or warped by the heat. The restaurant was successfully evacuated. Three people died. The bodies of a fire fighter and an elevator operator were found in an elevator 23 feet below the ground. The elevator plunged over 1,000 feet sometime during the fire after the cable melted. The victims probably died from suffocation before that happened. A third body was pinned under debris. Other fighters were rescued from an elevator that plunged several hundred feet before stopped by emergency elevators 950 feet above the ground.

You can climb part of the tower as part of a guided tour. The cost ranges from 900 rubles on weekdays to 1,400 on weekends. The cost for climbing to the observation deck, including a guided tour of the maintenance route inside the tower, is 1,200 rubles. On weekends, tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to go online and purchase in advance.

For Ostankino Tower a while was regarded as the tallest structure in the world. In 1976, the CN Tower in Toronto exceeded the height of Ostankino. In addition to being a major tourist attraction, the tower is a functioning broadcasting tower that transmits radio and TV signals for millions of households in Moscow. Ostankino Tower lies in Ostankino Park, which includes Ostankino Palace and Park Complex, the Main Botanic Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences,VDNH Exhibition Center (the All-Russian Exhibition Centre), and part of the Yauza River

VDNH Exhibition Center

VDNKh (North Russia, VDNKh Metro station on the orange line, near Ostankino Tower) is the largest cultural and exhibition center and public park in Moscow. VDNKh stands for The Exhibition of Achievements of the People’s Economy. It is now formally called the All-Russia Exhibition Center (VVTs) and is spelled both VDNKh and VDNH.

VDNKh occupies 1-x-2-kilometer, 535-acre rectangle and resembles a former world's fair. It was built in the 1950s and 1960s to showcase the Soviet Union's technological and economic achievements and is comprised of pedestrian avenues and pavilions devotes to education, health, science, history and art. There are exhibits on everything from egg laying to computers, atomic energy to milking cows. Many of the pavilions reflect Russian architectural styles over the centuries as well as architectural style from all 13 former republic. There are many grand Socialist Realist monuments, many of them covered in layers of gold. It is estimated that over 10 million people walk past the gilded peasants in the Friendship of People's Fountain every year. Since the break up of the Soviet Union, funds for upkeep have been reduced and the exhibition looks a little careworn.

Jim Heintz of Associated Press wrote: VDNKh “is perhaps the ultimate example of Soviet propaganda kitsch.” Ir is a “500-acre spread of huge, elaborately decorated pavilions begun during Stalin's time. Although many are less than 60 years old, the pavilions' architecture is rooted in styles from centuries past, resembling pashas' palaces and Egyptian temples; one even seems to combine elements of mosques and cathedrals. But look closer and see the hammers-and-sickles entwined in the filigree; the friezes and statues are not of gods and mythical heroes, but of workers. The anachronistic architecture reflects the conservative, even reactionary, strain within Soviet authorities' claims to be boldly pushing into the future. Instead, the future came to VDNKh and worked strange changes.After the Soviet collapse, most of the pavilions were stripped of their propaganda exhibits and turned over to small vendors. [Source: Jim Heintz, Associated Press, October 12, 2009]

“The central pavilion — a classic Stalinist Gothic tower — still contains a Russian ethnographic exhibition, but it's difficult to find amid the kiosks selling cheap watches, glow-in-the-dark panties and other cheerfully tacky goods that would have given a dour apparatchik a fit. None of these sites can replicate the Soviet experience for more than a few moments, but for many visitors that's more than enough."I don't think I would have liked it here then," said Assumpta Abondo, a visitor from Dubai doing some desultory shopping at a souvenir stand.For her companion Yasmin Mazouzi, the problem isn't that the Soviet experience is hard to find, but that it still seems so prevalent."The people are rude, policemen stare at you," she said. "You're a bit scared, really."

VDNH is official known as the All-Russia Exhibition Center (VVTs) though its Metro stop retains the old name. To reach the park from the Metro station take the northern escalator out of the station and follow the crowds that are always headed for the site. In the summer, VDNH opens as an amusement park. Pedestrian spaces became playgrounds for roller skaters and cyclists. Outdoor concerts and performances are held at the Green Theater. In winter, the exhibition becomes the capital's main ice rink, covering 20,000 square meters. Ice skates and roller skates can be rented. There are also indoor and outdoor cafés, restaurants and food stands. The toilets

Museums and Attractions at VDNH Exhibition Center

VDNH has been described as a cross between an open-air museum and an amusement park. Flowerbeds are laid out along the alleys, exhibitions are organized in the pavilions, music blasts from speakers, and guests take pictures of fountains, the most famous of which are the Stone Flower and Friendship of Peoples fountains. The alleys are used for roller-skating and biking in summer and ice-skating in winter. Some of the most noteworthy places include: The Cosmonautics Museum, the Moskvarium Aquarium, the Polytechnic Museum, models of the Vostok launch vehicle and the Buran spacecraft, an urban farm. A little further away is the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman sculpture group. A short walk through the Ostankino park will take you to 540-meters-tall Ostankino television tower.

VDNH opened as an exhibition in August 1939 to showcase the achievements of the Soviet national economy and demonstrate the conviviality and vibrancy of life and work in the USSR. The exhibition has been a city-park from its inception. Each Union Republic had its own pavilion with colorful architecture in the traditional style of that republic with crafts and works by the republic’s its artists, jewelers, weavers, and wine makers. The sculpture Rabochiy i Kolkhoznitsa (Worker and Kolkhoz Woman) by Vera Mukhina was brought here from the 1937 World Fair in Paris and has been the symbol of VDNH ever since. During the World War II, the exhibition area housed workshops for assembling motorcycles for the war front and an intelligence school. The cult movie Svinarka i Pastukh (They Met in Moscow) was shot here in 1941. The movie was full of rosy images of the happy life of the Soviet people and their willing labor performed for the benefit of the motherland.

In old and new pavilions at VDNH are displays of culture, space, engineering as well as international book fairs and exhibitions. There is an interactive museum inside the Buran spaceship model, where visitors can walk its corridors and compartments and even land a rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. One can swim with dolphins and view rare fish at VDNH's Moskvarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world. Pavilion 75 has contains an architectural model of Moscow with 9,000 buildings, streets, and squares.

Ostankino Palace (North Moscow, 1.7 kilometers from VDNKh Metro Station, between Moscow’s city centre and Sheremetyevo Airport) is a pink-and-white, stucco-covered wooden mansion built by Count Sheremetev, one of the richest aristocrats in Russia in the 18th century and owner of hundreds of thousands of serfs. As you might expect it has a lavish interior. Visitors are required to remove their shoes and put on cloth slippers so they don't damage the inlaid floors.

Inside the palace are rooms filled with ornate furniture and paintings. The main attraction is a theater-ballroom used for performances by the aristocrat’s 250-member serf theater troupe. The Count built it for his wife, a former serf, who was a famous actress. During the Soviet era the palace, known as Sheremetev Palace, was filled revolutionary posters and visitors were told awful stories about Count Sheremetev. The estate includes an ornamental lake, hedge-lined alleys, a ruined greenhouse covered in vines and a garden graced with classical statues. Here ordinary Russians gather to stroll, sun themselves, drink beer and vodka and play cards in surroundings that once only the aristocracy could enjoy.

Moscow City (Moscow International Business Center)

Moscow International Business Center (MIBC, on the Presnenskaya Embankment of the Moskva River, 4 kilometers west of Red Square, just east of the Third Ring Road) is also known as Moscow City or Moskva-City. Located at the western edge of Presnensky District, it is a 60-hectare commercial development still being constructed in 2019.

The Moscow government first conceived the project in 1992, as a mixed development of office, residential, retail and entertainment facilities. An estimated 250,000 – 300,000 people will work, live and visit the complex at any given time when it is completed. MIBC includes six skyscrapers with maximum height of 300 meters or more. In comparison Shanghai has five building over 300 meters and Hong Kong and Chicago have six. Europe's second tallest building, the Federation Tower, is in the MIBC. The complex also includes the third-tallest, fourth-tallest, sixth-tallest, seventh-tallest, and eighth-tallest buildings in Europe. As of 2016, twelve of twenty-three planned facilities of MIBC had been built, seven buildings were under construction and four were in the design stage. [Source: Wikipedia]

One of the largest investment business projects in Europe, the Moscow International Business Center, Moscow City rises on the riverbank opposite Kutuzovsky prospekt and combines innovative architectural solutions and multifunctional infrastructure. The Moscow City’s breathtaking skyscrapers reflect each other with their thousands of windows. Although some of the buildings are not yet completed, there are enough hotels, offices, commercial centers, shops, theaters, and cinemas to provide the basic ingredients for a functioning urban community.

The 374-meter-tall Federation Tower is the second tallest building in Europe (the 462-meter-high Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg is the tallest). A local counterpart to La Defense in Paris, Federation Tower was designed by the German architect Peter Schweger (designer of the famous Main Tower in Frankfurt am Main), and Sergey Choban (a Russian architect who has been working in Hamburg and Berlin since the early 1990s).

The Imperia Tower is equipped with a sightseeing platform at a height of 352 meters. From observation deck here you can see the main sights of Moscow: the building of the Russian Academy of Science, Moscow State University, Christ the Savior Cathedral, the White House and Ostankino Tower. In the lobby of Imperia Tower you can see a model of the layout of the complex. Then elevator to observation deck travels at a speed of seven meters per second. Guided tours are offered there on various subjects, including: urban development; the construction of Moscow city; and the specific features of each of the towers. Quest tours are provided for children aged six and older. Tours are conducted every day from 11:00am to 11:00pm during the week, and from 6:00pm to 11:00pm on weekends.

The Afimall commercial and entertainment center is situated in the heart of Moscow City. It includes over 100,000 square meters of shops, cafes, and entertainment venues. One of the best concert halls of Moscow, “Crocus City Hall”, is located next to it.Afimall City is the central nucleus Moscow City. Here you can find not only extensive shopping, but 50 restaurants and cafes and numerous entertainment opportunities such as "Formula Kino", a multiplex cinema with theaters using 4D and 5D technology, and the first IMAX theater in central Moscow.

Stalin’s Bunker

Stalin’s Bunker (on the eastern outskirts of Moscow, 10 kilometers from Red Square, near Partizanskaya Metro station, where tours begin) is where Stalin set up an emergency relocation command post and living space for himself and the high command on the eve of World War II. The facility is still under military control. It can only be visited as part relatively expensive tour booked in advance.

According to Rather than digging deep underground or building massive fortifications, Stalin had a different idea: rely on camouflage instead. The bunker was placed at a newly built sports stadium. Stalin surmised that the Nazis would have no qualms about destroying the Kremlin but they were would thinks twice about obliterating a sports stadium, which they could later use for propaganda parades and rallies. [Source:]

“Whether Stalin really followed this reasoning or if it's just a myth is hard to say. The same goes for the claim that there is an over 10-mile (17 kilometers) underground road tunnel leading all the way to the Kremlin, or that there is a connection to the fabled Metro-2 system and that that's why nearby Partizanskaya station has a mysterious extra central track between the two main platforms and regular metro tracks. Metro-2 is the name given to an alleged mysterious system of top-secret underground railway lines paralleling the official metro that was started during Stalin's time and is rumoured to be still in existence or even active use. But that's probably more stuff for conspiracy theorists than reality.

Anyway, construction of the bunker and the stadium was started sometime in the mid 1930s but halted at the outbreak of the Russo-Finnish War in 1939. The stadium, originally intended for 120,000 spectators was never finished (only one grandstand for 20,000 was completed), but the bunker was ready for use by 1941. Whether Stalin ever visited the bunker, and if so how often, is also unclear and different claims about this exist. If he did visit then only briefly, and by December 1941, when the Red Army's counteroffensive began to drive the German Wehrmacht back westwards, the bunker soon lost its purpose.

“What happened with the bunker after the war is, again, not easy to ascertain. The stories one can find range from it being used as a warehouse to having continued to be in secret military service. The site is said to be still in the possession of the military, yet in 1996 it was first opened to visitors, after extensive 'refurbishment', and is now run as a branch of the Central Armed Forces Museum.”

Visiting Stalin’s Bunker

Stalin’s Bunker is not underground. For foreigners the price of the tour is a minimum of US$80 for individuals or couples; from 3 to 9 participants the price drops to US$35 per person. For 10 or more people the price is US$25. You have to arrange a tour by phoning the branch of the Central Armed Forces Museum or emailing them at:

According to “The entrance tunnel is almost level with the ground, just five steps lead down about a meter just behind the entrance. There are no blast doors or anything like that. But the inside is allegedly protected by a thick layer of reinforced concrete above the ceiling. You cannot see that, though. Inside, a colonnaded corridor leads to the main hall. Dotted in between the columns are dummy soldiers in a range of different uniforms, including (surprise!) a Nazi one (even SS, going by the skull on the cap). [Source:]

“The main hall is surprisingly roomy and has a large conference table in the shape of a ring in the middle, with seats for at least three dozen people. The walls are lined with paintings of Stalin and various war scenes. Behind the table arrangements there are dotted around a few bilingual information panels, clearly gleaned from the museum's website (they looked instantly familiar) and in rather imperfect (machine-)translation English. At the far wall is a kind of stage with a curtain, flanked by a rather oversized-looking PA system. So I guess other kinds of events must take place here too.”

“An interesting detail concerned the central domed ceiling in the centre of the room inside the conference table ring. Apparently it was constructed in such a way that it a) amplified Stalin's voice (apparently he was quite a soft-spoken guy) and b) make any whispered remarks more audible. I was invited to test the acoustic phenomenon by stepping right under the centre of the dome and making some noises (like clapping hands). The reverberation effect was indeed phenomenal!

“We were then led into a small room up a few steps to the one side of the main hall. This has been reconstructed as Stalin's study. You can even sit at his desk, pick up his phones and re-enact angry conversations with imaginary minions at the other end. Behind the desk, and coverable by a yellow curtain, hangs a map showing the front lines during the unsuccessful attempt by Nazi Germany to conquer Moscow in WWII (i.e. the time Stalin would most likely have been using this bunker … if he ever did – see above). The other walls are adorned with oil painting portraits of the usual suspects (Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc.).

“In one corner of the study there's a big white marble Stalin bust and in the opposite corner a special games table for some military strategy game that our guide explained, but I can't recall the details. I just noticed that the table came complete with little ashtrays you can pull out and I tried to imagine what the air in this bunker must have been like at the time (when everybody seemed to have been heavy smokers).

“Back in the main hall, we were led to one corner where a little table was stacked high with red-covered books (called 'Kniga Pamyati', i.e. memorial books listing the names of fallen soldiers) and next to it a steel helmet and a Kalashnikov were provided to pose for photos with. I'm not one for such prancing about but a couple in our group couldn't resist. They were having a good laugh.

“Note that not all rooms in the bunker are accessible to the public. The generals' room/High Command Room as well as service rooms remain off limits. Furthermore, one other room was temporarily inaccessible because it was undergoing restoration at the time of our visit, namely what the text on a panel called Stalin's “rest room” (by which I think they meant literally a room where he could have rested in, i.e. on a bed or sofa rather than what you may have thought …).

“But the final part of the tour took us to the so-called “canteen”. This turned out to be a full-on Georgian wine tavern, with heavy wooden tables and benches, a bar, stacks of (decorative) wine barrels and rustic decorations. Some in our group tried a door at the rear they presumed locked but found it open. Behind it a dimly lit party cellar zone continued. So I assume the premises are also hired out for corporate events, parties, perhaps even weddings and the like.”

Museum of the Cold War, "Bunker-42"

Museum of the Cold War, "Bunker-42" (Taganskaya pl, near Marksistkaya Metro Station, about three kilometers southeast of Red Square) was one of the most secret military facilities of the USSR. Known in Soviet times as Alternate Command Post "Tagansky" (GO-42), it is deep underground facility and has nothing to do with Stalin's WWII bunkers. The bunker can be visited only as part of an individual or group tour. During the tour you can go through the secret tunnels of the bunker, see samples of weapons and means of communication of the Armed Forces of the USSR.

Built in the 1940s with the goal of making strong and deep enoug to withstand a nuclear attack. After Stalin's death, the bunker became a center of long-range aviation management. In 1956, the facility was handed over to the Ministry of Defense. The bunker is still viewed as place where people can seek refuge in the event of a nuclear attack. It is completely self-sufficient, having its own power supply system, communications and can withstand any nuclear attack.

According to Lonely Planet: “On a quiet side street near Taganskaya pl, a nondescript neoclassical building is the gateway to the secret Cold War–era communications centre. The facility was meant to serve as the communications headquarters in the event of a nuclear attack. As such, the building was just a shell, serving as an entryway to the 7000-sq-metre space 60 meters underground. Now in private hands, the facility has been converted into a sort of a museum dedicated to the Cold War. Unfortunately, not much remains from the Cold War days.

The vast place is nearly empty, except for a few exhibits set up for the benefit of visitors, such as a scale model of the facility. Visitors watch a 20-minute film about the history of the Cold War, followed by a guided tour of the four underground ‘blocks’. Call beforehand to sign up for a tour. Guided Tour of Bunker 42 start at US$68.50. The Bunker 42 Admission Ticket and Cold War Tour stars at US$35. For more information: Tel: 495-500 0554, website:

Bunker 703

Bunker 703 (2-y Novokuznetskiy Ln., 14/1, Polyanka Metro Station) is a Cold War period facility that was only declassified and opened to visitors in 2018. Built at a depth of 42 meters just one year before the Cuban missile crisis, it was in use by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 2005. Inside, you can see a 10 ton door that would have protected the bunker against the shock waves of nuclear strike, as well as many hermetic doors that separate parts of the facility

The bunker is located in the center of the city at a depth of 43 meters and contains unique constructions and artifacts of the 1940s to 1980s. Currently, an interactive Museum of modern urban fortification is being created here, as well as educational exhibitions. Bunker-703 – it is the only place in Moscow, where you check out an iron mine from the 1950s, launch a nuclear attack warning siren with your own hands, or move the ten-ton special door with one finger.

The operating support systems and cast-iron tubing date to the Stalin era. For decades the bunker acted as a secure facility for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where, until recently, intelligence experts worked and important international secrets were kept. Only in 2018, after the facility was deemed technically obsolete, the first visitors were allowed in. The bunker can be see as part of a tour in which you will see unique Soviet equipment, get acquainted with the technology and artifacts of special fortification hidden under Zamoskvoretskaya courtyards and alleys.

The bunker’s museum of modern fortification presents models of protective structures of the nuclear age, special equipment and declassified documents on the creation of the first Soviet bunkers deep foundation. Historians, engineers and archivists have been consulted. not only on the bunkers and shelters, but also for a variety of types of artificial underground structures.

Shukhov Tower

Shukhov Radio Tower (near Shabolovskaya Metro Station and Donskoy Monastery), is a steel broadcasting tower with a unique Russian avant-garde design. Also known as the Shabolovka Tower and designed by Vladimir Shukhov, the source of its name, the 160-metre-high free-standing steel diagrid structure, comprised of hyperboloid lattice units, was built in 1920–1922 during the Russian Civil War.

Shukhov invented the world's first hyperboloid structure in 1890. Later he wrote a book named "Rafters" where he argued that triangular shapes were 20-25 percent stronger than than arched ones. After that, Shukhov filed a number of patents for his diagrid designs and then set about designing structures . He aimed not only to build stronger, more rigid structures, but also to make building such structures easier and cheaper. The first diagrid tower was built for the All-Russia Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. Shukhov used his designs to create new types of lighthouses, masts, water lines and transmission towers.

Shukhov Radio Tower was commissioned in 1919 by the Council of People's Commissars who decided to build a tower radio Comintern "to ensure reliable and continuous communication center of the Republic with the Western states and the border regions." Shukhov originally proposed a tower 350 meters in height (the Eiffel Tower is 305 meters), but given the lack of iron in the country, had to settle for tower comprised of six hyperboloid blocks that was only 150 meters in the height.

Much of the work to construct the tower was done in in the middle of winter under difficult conditions in 1921. Laborers worked in shaky cradles at a height of up to 150 meters, where their clothing is became covered with ice. For their achievement the builders of the tower were issued a decree of heroism that read: "With the construction of the tower on the Moscow radio station in Shabolovskaya period of 1919-1921 construction workers of the tower, in spite of the abnormally received rations and clothing, zealously carried out and brought to the end the work assigned to them, conscious exceptional importance of building the tower. Even in difficult times, being very hungry and poorly clothed.”

In 1939, before his death, Shukhov he said: "The tower will stand 50, and 100 and 200 years because it is riveted, not welded." In the late 1930s, a cable connecting the tower to a neighboring mast, was hit by plane. The plane crashed to the ground, but tower remained standing, as if nothing had happened. Shukhov’s name is attached to hyperboloid lattice towers built in Russia and abroad.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (official Russia tourism website ), Russian government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in September 2020

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