KDNKh used to be an exposition site to show off the wondrous achievements of the Soviet Union. Now the imposing and grand buildings have been given over to shops. If you've come to Moscow looking for Soviet ghosts, this is a place to find them, living cheek by jowl with the ferocious new consumerism. And love of cats, apparently.
VDNKh or the All Russia Exhibition Centre is worth a visit for it's homage to economic & scientific accomplishments of the former Soviet Union. The displays represent different fields such as space, eduction, agriculture, technology etc. with outsized monuments depicting idealized Soviet Comrades. Some of the pavilions are now closed & others have been turned into kiosks or shops, but nevertheless still interesting. The picture taken is of a relief on the side of the Space Obelisk which stands outside VDNKh metro station.
This Space obelisk statue is in a similar vein to the Uri Gagarin statue. This one can be found at the USSR Economic Achievements Exhibition which is commonly abbreviated in Russian to VDNKh.
VDNKh is the country's largest museum, and is a huge park containing pavilions, aircraft and rockets amongst other things. I like the grandiose sculptures that were created in the Soviet era as I feel they have a certain style to them, even if a lot of them appear to be created for a megalomaniac!
The main entrance is a triumphal archway surmounted by towering statues of a tractor driver and a farm girl brandishing sheaves of wheat, which sets the scale for the avenue of fountains that leads to a Lenin statue and the Central Pavilion
The VDNKh's genesis was the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) of 1939. This display of the fruits of Socialism and showpiece of Stalinist monumental art was intended to open two years earlier, but was delayed by the purging of many of its leading participants.
The exhibition was so successful that it was revived on a permanent basis in 1954, with some eighty pavilions spread over 578 acres.
Gradually, Western goods started appearing and the Soviet pavilions lost whatever conviction they might once have possessed. Shorn of ideological pretensions, it has now been renamed the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VVTs) - but everyone continues to call it the VDNKh.
Conceived as a cross between World Fair and Theme Park, with monuments to Soviet science, fountains, amusement-park rides and national pavilions for all the republics of the USSR, the former Exhibition of the Achievements of the People's Economy has been denuded of most of its original exhibits and filled with goods for sale
In early 30-s (of XX c) an agricultural exhibition appered on this territory. Later agricultural subject-matter was replaced with general exhibition concerning all industries. Abbreviation VDNKh means - Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy.
But one can still see agricultural subjects in architecture and sculpture.
This fontain is called - "Freindship of Nations" and those women in folk dresses symbolize all republics of the USSR. Many of you knows that after the WWII there were 15 republics, but there are 16 figures! 16-th is Karjalo-Finnish SSR that was dissolved in years. There was an old joke: "Why there is no more Karjalo-Finnish SSR? Because there are only 2 Finns left there - FINancial inspector and FINkelstein. But more thorough investigation found out that those 2 appeared to be the same man." ;-))
Some of the more distinctive hotels in Moscow are Ukraina, National, Moscow, Renaissance & Cosmos.
Aside from its architectural design, its size is a main distinctive feature. HUGE!!!
You've seen earlier the Stalinist-Gothic style of Ukraina Hotel.
The Cosmos (Space) hotel was where our group stayed in. Today, it's not an ultra fanciful hotel if you've frequented Las Vegas. However, its size is comparable to those from Vegas. Considered it was built in the 70s, it's quite something. With 3600 rooms & a casino, Cosmos was built by Russian & French architects around 1976-79. It's located in Mira (Peace) Prospect.
This is another classic examples of Soviet architecture from the 30s-50s period. The present Exhibition Complex is the former Exhibition of National Economic Achievements (ie VDNKh).
The monument "Worker & Collective-farm Woman" standing in front of the main entrance is one that expressed the once Soviet ideal.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the 2 fountains "Friendship of the Peoples" & "Stone Flower".
Why? 'coz I only caught a glimpse of this place from my hotel window!!! We were staying around its vicinity, at the Cosmos!!! ;-)
The All Russian Exhibition Centre (VVC) was opened in 1959 and was originally opened to display exhibitions about all the Soviet states (Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan etc).
Today, it is the largest and most frequently visited place in Moscow.
The website is only in Russian but I've linked to the photos page so you can see what the place is like at it's best.
I have always been fascinated by the space race, so it was really exciting seeing the Cosmonaut museum in Moscow. The building is a magnificent piece of architecture recreating Vostok 1's launch into the stratosphere. Inside I have to admit I was disappointed by the small size of the museum, although the displays, models and memorabilia are very good, there is nothing in English, except for one short badly dubbed documentary. Still, a must see for a space enthusiast
If you are going to the VDNKh / VVT then go to the Space Musuem. Its only 20 rubles to get in and you can wear a replica of Iuri Gagarin's space suit - which is a laugh for about 2 minutes!
Its a very basic and small musuem - everything is in Russian and don't go expecting amazing multi-media stuff (like the London Science Musuem), but if you understand a smattering of Russian or are extremely knowledgeable about the Soviet Space programme then knock yourself out and visit the place.
This is a massive park built by Krushchev, I believe, in order to wow Nixon on his official state visit to Russia of the technological prowess of the Soviets.
The space museum is there with a huge 100-metre high statue with a rocket on the end of it. I tried to climb it but slid off all the time!
The park had various Soviet rockets and airplanes and has beautiful gardens with fountains. Loads of people hang out there and it is easy to just chat to people and make friends with Russians. There are market stalls selling souvenirs too.
You have to go and see the 'All Russian Exibition Centre' (VDNKh)!
It is very strange and somehow typical for today's Russia. It was build by Stalin to represent all Russian republics and the most favourite sciences. It is fantastically huge and great - or better: it was. After the revolution in the 90's nobody saw any sense in it anymore and they thought about what to do with it. Well, they rented it to businesses. Now in every temple there is something on sale. See my travellogue about it for more pics.
This former Exhibition of Economic Achievement was at one time a permanent World Expo of the great glories of Soviet--and particularly Stalinist--rule. It began in 1939 as the All-Union Agricultural Exposition, a celebration of the fruits of Stalinist progress, and many of its most grandiose elements date from that period.
When leaving the metro at this station, you can have a walk to a park with a huge monument. Watch it!
I remember it as the Exhibion of economic achievement, but i think it closed down some time in the mid 80s, I wonder what happened to all the Space stuff? anyone know?