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The Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery – closed at 6pm. I was among the last to leave. See earlier posts, for example, here, here, and here for the 20th century collection.


The gallery is situated in the Park of Arts – Muzeon (МУЗЕОН) – so this is a part of it. Muzeon is formerly called the Park of the Fallen Heroes.



Outside on the right side of the gallery is a small area filled with rows and rows of sculptures – literally a very compact sculpture gallery that is in open air.


In the 2000s, the park began hosting symposiums for sculptors working with limestone; the sculptures they donated are displayed on a special square reserved for white-stone sculptures.



In October 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, smaller socialist realism statues of Soviet leaders and unidentifiable workers and peasants were removed from their pedestals, hauled to the park and left in their fallen form. They were rectified later, although missing original pedestals.




Located just down the footpath towards the embankment are giant busts of ex-Russian/Soviet leaders. From the Krymskaya embankment, one get the full view of the Peter the Great sculpture on Bolotny island.



I can imagine how popular and crowd this area can be in the right weather – Krymskaya (Crimean) embankment – where sightseeing boat on the river departs.


It was getting rather cold as the park is situated right next to the Moskva river. I was so glad to find a tiny coffee shop – Caffe Parco – which was filled with very cold people.


The Peter the Great Statue is a 98-metre-high monument, designed by the Georgian Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate 300 years of the Russian Navy, which Peter the Great established.  He also moved the Russian capital to St Petersburg.


In more than one occasion, it has been voted one of the ugliest building in the world. Moscow is reportedly keen to get rid of the statue, offered to relocate it to Saint Petersburg, but this offer was refused.


In the last few posts, I have been putting up photos of Russian modern art that are on display in the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery. This is part 5, the last one – various sculptural pieces scattered around the gallery.

Don’t miss part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

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This is quite an iconic piece, I liked it – it somehow made me think of a Star Wars movie poster – even the postures are not the same.

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There are several that are very dynamic.

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Many animals were presented.

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A few pieces invite the viewer to complete the scene mentally – clever and effective.

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Quite a few pieces used wood as the medium (see the cat and the dog above).

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Wish I could spend a little more time to look at each of the pieces but the museum was closing …

This post concludes my whirlwind tour of a great museum/gallery.

Several posts ago, I put up photos of Russian modern art that are on display in the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery. I have a couple more posts on this visit – this is part 4, and part one is here, part 2 here and part 3 here. I hope you enjoyed the posts so far, like the crowd in the painting below.

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Rather than showing the art work chronologically, I pulled these pieces together because they appear to have an overall darker theme.
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Some are more abstract than others.

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Some surrealistic.

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Some reflects societal issues ?
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Some political.

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All good stuff.

In these few posts, I am putting up photos of Russian art on display in the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery. Click to see Part 1 and Part 2.

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This section includes art from the period after the 1920’s.

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According to the museum guide, this generation of artist was brought up on the avant garde but they created a figurative and conventionally expressive style.

Y Pimenov – Get Heavy Industry Going !  – 1927

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K. Redko – An Uprising- 1925

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According to the museum guide, paintings depicted industrial labor, technology and sports channeling the notion of an utopia where man create the world by his force.

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The modern woman, strong, free and liberated was a prominent theme in the art of the 1930’s.
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P Konchalovsky, Portrait of V E Meyerhold, 1938

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A Gerasimov – Stalin and Voroshikov in the Kremlin, 1938

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V. Popkov – The builders of Bratsk – 1960

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ru art pt 3-9A Plastov, Spring 1954

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D. Zhilinsky – By the seaside, a family – 1964

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Y Korolyov, The Outer Space Brethern, 1981

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More art to come.

In the next few posts, I will put up photos of Russian modern art that are on display in the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery. This is part 2, and part one is here.

Kasimir Malevich – a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the avant-garde Suprematist movement.

Black square (1915) helped launched the concept of Suprematist.

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In this section of the gallery, on display are Russian avant-garde masters from the 1900s-1920s.

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Liubov Popova – Painterly architectonics.

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More Liubov Popova.

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Even more Popova.

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Ilya Chashnick

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I am particularly keen on the graphical work by El Lissitzky. His work greatly influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist movements, and he experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th-century graphic design.

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This is a small but interesting collection.

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Olga Rozanova

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This looks like something that could be made by Vasily Kandinsky but it is by Alexander Volkov.

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There was a corner full of abstract sculptures.

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Don’t forget to come back for the next post.

In this and the next five posts, I will put up photos of Russian art that are on view in the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery.

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As stated in an earlier post here, this gallery only exhibits 20th century Russian art.

Vladimir Tatlin, “A model”, 1913. He was a founder of Russian Constructivism.

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On display are Russian avant-garde masters from the 1900s-1920s who are famous internationally, such as Kasimir Malevich, Vasily Kandinsky,  Marc Chagall, Pavel Filonov and Liubov Popova.

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This section is titled from cubism to geometric abstraction.

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According to the museum guide, the main result of adaptation of Cubism in Russia was Constructivism and Suprematism.

By Lyubov Popova.

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This could have been a piece by Léger.

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and this …

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There is a piece – Over The Town by Marc Chagall.

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And a surprising detail of this painting, on the lower left corner is …

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Another by Marc Chagall.

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Cezanne-esque, it is by Ilya Mashkov painted in 1910.

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There are so many more pieces by artists who are not well-recognized in the west, and they are worth seeing but not easily seen.

More paintings to come in the next few posts.

Since I had limited time in Moscow, I went to one museum – the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val (Третьяковская галерея на Крымском Валу) – a branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery.

Entrance to Park Kultury (Gorky Park)

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The main gallery State Tretyakov Gallery is a huge complex, very popular, and shows Russian art from the 11th to the early 20th centuries. The gallery’s building on Krymsky Val houses the only permanent exhibition of 20th century Russian art in the country. Click here for the main gallery’s web site, from there you can navigate to the page about the Krymsky Val branch.

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The Krymsky Val branch of the gallery is located in a park of arts – Muzeon (МУЗЕОН) – between the Park Kultury and the Oktyabrskaya metro stations.

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I walked from Oktyabrskaya, passed the entrance to Gorky Park (Park Kultury as the locals know it) to reach this park next to the Moskva river.

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It was a sunny but chilly March day. There were lots of people about because the building that houses the gallery also has a wing that serves as an exhibition hall. And there was something going on  –  ? – they would let me in if I sign some form to order a magazine and give them my email address … not worth it.

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The building is a huge rectangular box.

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Main entrance

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The lobby is very spacious, open and sunny.

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The gallery has a small coffee area and book/souvenir shop – really quite small relative to the amount of art the gallery is displaying. It seemed like a communist effort in commerce when one compares it with the shops in museums in the west.

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The gallery management was also very particular as to what can be carried inside – the rule was strictly enforced by the docent.

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However, photography without a flash is not prohibited. Hence, I will use a few later posts to show some Russian art that are not easily seen outside.

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On the first floor before one goes further upstairs to the gallery is this familiar model/sculpture by Vladimir Taltlin for the project for the Monument to the Third International (1919–20). It was a design for a grand monumental building in St. Petersburg that was never built.

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Models of this hypothetical building have been erected also in the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

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This branch of the Tretyakov Gallery displays works by Russian avant-garde masters from the 1900s-1920s who are famous all over the world, such as K.Malevich, V.Kandinsky,  M.Chagall, P.Filonov and L.Popova.

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More artwork to come in later posts.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you would know that I(Chris) like to check out local bookstores when visiting a new city/country.  For example, in Budapest, London, Kuala Lumpur… for more bookstores, click on Books to find them.

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In Moscow, I stumbled upon this massive bookstore after having dinner in the touristy Arbat area.

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The street Novy Arbat is actually not so touristy as it is a major thoroughfare with 6-8 lanes of traffic. It actuality took me a while in the evening darkness to find a pedestrian underpass to go to the other side of the street.

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As I cannot read Russian, I was not sure that it was a bookstore – from a distance, I thought it could have been a record store – a Russian Virgin or Towers – well as it turned out, not exactly, it is a Russian Barnes & Nobles or Waterstones.

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It does indeed sell some music – CD, DVD – but it is a small collection.

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The store has a section selling vintage books.

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Downstairs are departments selling stationary, magazines and vintage books.

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They did not seem to mind me taking photos.

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Wish I could read Russian, I am so curious of all these books.

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I was happy to find that they stock a lot of sheet music – as gifts to IT who is learning a new musical instrument – I could easily pick up a few souvenirs.

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There was also a cafe (closed already since I was there after dinner).

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Similar to B&N, there was an area for talks, book signing, etc. which were filled with a small contingent of comfortably immersed readers.

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It is really a cozy place to hang out with books or a friend, away from the bitter cold outside. It was getting late and I needed to figure out how to get back to my hotel.

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Reading is good in any language.

If you have been following the blog, you would have read about two Moscow metro stations – Komsomolskaya and Mayakovskaya – as well as the exhibition Subterranean Monument at the museum of architecture. Click on it to read.

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As I did not really have a chance to explore many of the interesting stations during my several days in Moscow, I tried snapping pictures wherever I can.

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Despite the palatial design and decoration of the stations and platforms, the metro carriages themselves are pedestrian, beige and brown color scheme, nothing special … it could have been the metro of any 20th century city.

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The facilities for electronic ticket processing are highly variable depending on the station. The stored value RFID-based fare card is known as Troika (Тройка), like the Oyster in London, or Octopus in Hong Kong.

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These looked as if they are taken from a 50’s sci-fi movie.

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Below are a collection of photos (that I think) will give an impression of not only the beauty in the metro system’s designs and decorations but also the scale and diversity in its implementation across the capital city.

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Wall and ceiling decorations

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Light fixtures

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and heros …

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If you want to see more stations, goto this link on CNN.

Mayakovskaya (Маяковская) is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Moscow metro system. The name as well as the design is a reference to Futurism and its prominent Russian exponent, the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.

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The station was built as part of the second stage of the Moscow Metro expansion, opening on 11 September 1938.

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Dushkin is the archeitect who proposed the use of a special kind of steal elements which allowed metal to be used to support a large amount of load acrosss the full width of the station.

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Located 33 meters beneath the surface, the station became famous during World War II when an air raid shelter was located in the station. During World War II, Stalin took residence in this place.

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The station has two rows of columns serving as support for the three arched vaults and each section formed by the arches opens into a small oval-shaped dome.

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On the ceiling of the station, inside each dome is a mosaic.

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Photo from 1938 at the Moscow Metro Exhibition, see that post here.

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There are a total of 34 mosaics, all by Alexander Deyneka with the theme “24-Hour Soviet Sky” – four sections have been created –  morning, afternoon, night and morning again.

In this mosaic, the planes are lined up to form the letters “CCCP”.

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In 2005 a new second north exit was built, along with a new vestibule. The ceiling was decorated with a mosaic composition from Mayakovsky’s poem “Moscow Sky”.

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Parts of the poem is also displayed.

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A bust of the poet himself.

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This station is the middle of Moscow.

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Think of it as an Oxford Street tube station or 34th Street Herald Square subway station.

In case you missed it, part 1 of this post is here.


The Shchusev State Museum of Architecture is presenting an exhibition of the original plans and photos of the Moscow Metro (Метро, March 17, 2016 – August 14, 2016). It will close in less than a month’s time. So go see it or click here to visit the museum’s web site.

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The Shchusev Architecture Museum is celebrating the magnificent Moscow underground system with an exhibition called “Moscow Metro. Subterranean Monument.”

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Visitors can retrace the history of this symbol of Moscow in the exhibition halls of the Architecture Museum and be convinced once again that the metro system is not just public transportation, but a living museum.

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Because it came out of research in their archives, “Moscow Metro. Subterranean Monument” focuses on the first four stages of metro construction, between 1935 and 1954.

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The drawings of such renowned architects as Ivan Fomin, Alexei Dushkin, Dmitry Chechulin, Alexei Shchusev and Vladimir Gelfreikh are exhibited alongside photo chronicles from the TASS news agency, photographs and documents from the Shchusev Museum and the Moscow Metro Museum.

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Not only are the designs fantastic, the draftsmanship on display is superb.

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The exhibition presents the Moscow metro as an architectural and artistic wonder, an important part of Russia’s history and development. The curators hope that the exhibition will aid them in their efforts to include the main stations on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

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“We want to draw people’s attention to unrealized plans and the many variations of architectural design, and we hope that Muscovites and visitors to the city will appreciate our exhibition and see its value.”

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Stations such as Sokolniki, Teatralnaya, Mayakovskaya, Kropotkinskaya, and Komsomolskaya are presented in their first paper incarnations, and you can compare the original ideas to what was eventually constructed. You can also see structures and details that were torn down and lost.

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Many Metro stations and pavilions were erected as the result of architectural competitions, although winning projects were often altered in the building process.

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Particularly valuable in historical terms are original versions of Moscow Metro station plans and decoration designs that noticeably differ from their present-day appearance.

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Unique station projects entered in competitions but never implemented are exhibited here for the first time.

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These rare architectural drawings are complemented by photographs from different years, as well as photographic records of structures that no longer exist and are now lost to posterity.

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Beside baroque and neoclassical styles, the more recently proposed stations are modern and exude an uniquely Russian aesthetics, utopian and futuristic.

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The drawings are behind glass, hence some ghostly reflections in the photos.

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Although there were some English explanations on the wall, I wanted to buy the exhibition catalog. But the catalog was not yet ready.

This youtube video is a true gem – not only are the photos bright and vivid, showing so many of the stations, including the lesser known modern and hi-tech ones, the accompanying lounge-y music soundtrack is also superb. Don’t miss it.

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Going underground …


The Moscow metro system (Московско метро) is truly fascinating – essential for the citizens and a must-see for tourists. I(Chris) have always been interested in exploring bus and train transit network, especially the maps and stations. So, this is exciting for me.

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Opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) line running from Sokolniki to Park Kultury and 13 stations. As of 2016, it has 200 stations and its route length is 333.3 km. The average distance between stations is 1.7 km. 44 of the stations are national cultural heritage sites.


It was one of the USSR’s most ambitious architectural projects and the artists and architects worked to design an infrastructure that embodied the ideological and technological success of socialism. With the reflective marble walls, high ceilings and grand chandeliers, this palatial underground environment reminded riders that their tax had been well spent.


It was pure luck that on the weekend when I was there, the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture opened an exhibition of the original plans and photos of the Moscow Metro. Some photos of architectural drawings were taken from the exhibition which will have its own blog post later.


This was my stop – the Komsomolskaya (Комсомо́льская) station which is noted for its being located under the busiest Moscow transport hub, – Leningradsky (St Petersburg, Estonia, Finland), Yaroslavsky (western terminal of the trans-Siberian railway) and Kazansky (Kazan, Yekaterinberg) railway terminals. How does the real platform compare to the artist’s impression ?



The station and the square in front of the station vestibule was called Komsomolskaya to commemorate the Komsomol (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) members who helped build the metro.


The square was also named in 2003 as Tryokh vokzalov (Square of the three train stations). The capitals of the columns are decorated with the Komsomol’s badge “KNM”.


I can certainly testify on its level of activity – even after 11pm, there were a steady flow of riders – many heading for the late night long distance train departures to far flung corners of Russia.


Apparently, the station was designed to separate passengers leaving and arriving at the station.


Hence, two galleries are built along the walls over the tracks with bridges spanning the station hall.


One part of the station was opened in 1935 being one of the “first stage” stations.


Designed by Dmitri Chechukin, he won the highest honor for workers in science and arts, the Stalin prize grade 1.


At either end of the exit of the station are panels illustrating the labor of the Komsomol metro builders.


The second part (Ring line station) was opened in 1952 and designed to impress first visitors of the capital city arriving at one of the three train stations. 34 arches resting on octagonal columns covered by blue grey and pink marble.


Think of it as a subway station under a combo of Paddington+Euston+St Pancras railway stations or Grand Central + Penn stations.


The station’s decor is based on Moscow baroque motifs used before the revolution in the Kazan railway station above it. Lenin bust at one end of the platform.


So much history and artistry in the metro system, not to mention cleanliness and efficiency.


This station has its own video with lounge music on the a Moscow Metro youtube channel.

More stations to come.

This building in Moscow was my hotel for a few days. My host suggested it as it is within walking distance from their office.

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The Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel (Хилтон Москоу Ленинградская) designed by Leonid Polyakov, completed in 1954 is one of Moscow’s seven Stalinist skyscrapers built in the early 1950s. The Stalinist architecture abandoned modernity in favor of a mix of the Russian neoclassicalism with the style of American skyscrapers of the 1930s.

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Muscovites call them Vysotki or Stalinskie Vysotki (Сталинские высотки), meaning “(Stalin’s) high-rises”. Some were the tallest building or hotel in Europe at that time. These seven buildings nicknamed Seven Sisters which were completed include Moscow State University, Hotel Ukraina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Leninsgraksaya Hotel, the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, the Kudrinskaya Square Building, and the Red Gates Administrative Building.

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This hotel is relatively small compared to the other skyscrapers. There are 26 floors, of which 19 are usable. It was built to a similar style as the Kazansky railway terminal next to it.

Reception area

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Ceiling of the reception area

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The lobby is triple-height at least, and surrounded by marble columns and stone walls. The lobby ceiling is just as ornate.

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The ornately decorated lobby is lit in part by these lights with a translucent mineral lamp shade.

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The translucent minerals have visible veins. Eerily beautiful.

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The lobby staircase features one of the longest lighting fixtures in the world—apparently it was once in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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A dramatic space to have a drink.

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I ate a couple of meals in the restaurant. Good and convenient since there are few restaurants in the area.

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The hotel completed in 1954, was designed to be the finest luxury hotel in Moscow, joined the Hilton Hotels chain in 2008 after completing a multimillion-dollar restoration and renovation.

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My room was on one of the higher floors and looks over the three main railway stations of Moscow. It snowed for a few hours.

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Same view – different times of day

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The room and furnishings were business standard – nothing special – it is a Hilton after all.

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I(Chris) visited Moscow for a few days in March 2016.  Never been to Russia before – so these posts will sound a bit touristy. Please bear with me.

St. Basil’s Cathedral is a very iconic building of Moscow, if not the entire Russia (to non-Russians). Much of what I have included here came from Wikipedia.


The building located at the southern end of Red Square is, now a museum, officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat (Собор Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы, что на Рву).


It was built from 1555–1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan from the Tartars. The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, a design that has nothing comparable in Russian architecture.


The theory is that Italian craftsman at the time contributed to a design based on early Muscovite wooden and stone buildings, as well as elements of the Kazan Qolsharif mosque which had been the symbol of the khanate captured by Ivan the Terrible.


The original building, known as Trinity Church contained eight small chapels arranged around the ninth, central church of Intercession; a tenth church was erected in 1588 over the grave of the local saint Vasily (Basil).


Basil the Blessed (Василий Блаженный, Vasily Blazhenny) is a Russian Orthodox saint born in 1468. Originally an apprentice shoemaker in Moscow, he adopted an eccentric lifestyle of shoplifting and giving to the poor to shame the miserly and help those in need. He went naked and weighed himself down with chains. His reputation quickly grew, and people saw him as a holy fool, a man of God, and a denouncer of wrong. His body is kept inside the cathedral (photo below). For more info, click here.


Inside the church is a labyrinth of narrow vaulted corridors and low arches, marked by the heights of the chapels.





An urban legend says that Ivan the Terrible blinded the architect(s) so that he (possibly two people) could not re-create the masterpiece elsewhere. Not true.


The interior walls are painted in floral and geometric patterns.


There are two floors inside the cathedral.


Although the building looks rather large from afar, it seemed small inside.


In the 1950’s, Stalin wanted to demolish the church because it blocked the parade of soldiers en masse in Red Square. The architect Baranovsky protested, the church was saved but he was sent to jail for five years.


This is the view from inside the cathedral looking out onto Red Square. On the right is GUM (ГУМ), the former state-owned department store now a shopping mall which faces the Kremelin (not shown here). At the other end of the square is the State Historical Museum.