What Moscow takes pride in, or some interesting facts about the Russian capital’s landmarks

What Moscow takes pride in, or some interesting facts about the Russian capital’s landmarks
In Moscow, you can tour the world’s largest museum, ride the most beautiful metro and have a skate date at a huge rink. This mos.ru article features fascinating facts about the most famous landmarks of the city.

The world’s largest skating rink opened at VDNKh on the first day of winter. Moscow is proud of this record-setting facility, while visitors enjoy skating amid architectural landmarks. What else does Moscow take pride in? Here are some of the records set by the city.

Skating rink at VDNKh

The skating rink at VDNKh opened on 1 December. It stretches from the Central Pavilion to the Farming Pavilion and has a total area of over 20,000 square metres. The rink can accommodate 5,000 skaters at the same time.

The subject for this year’s VDNKh season is the Winter of Your Achievements; winter sports are the theme of the rink decorations, including an installation with multicolour half-rings that are lit in the evenings. The 2017/2018 programme features competitions, workshops, concerts and photo contests.

The rink is the world’s largest, but its unique environment is more important to visitors: ice tracks run around unique pavilions and fountains, and skaters can enjoy the magic of skating to the pleasant music at an illuminated rink.

Каток самый большой не только в стране, но и во всем мире. Но не это главное для его посетителей. Намного важнее особая атмосфера, ведь ледовые дорожки расположены в окружении уникальных павильонов и фонтанов, памятников архитектуры. А в сочетании с вечерней подсветкой, инсталляциями и легкой музыкой катание превращается в настоящее волшебство.

Metro as art

It is commonly believed that the Moscow Metro is the most beautiful metro system in the world. Foreign tourists like to take tours of the most interesting stations. Only in Moscow is the metro both functional and aesthetically fascinating. The entrance halls and platforms feature rich chandeliers, marble-covered walls and bas-reliefs, panels and mosaics on the ceilings. Over 40 stations in the Moscow Metro are cultural heritage sites.

The Novoslobodskaya station is sometimes called “an underground fairytale” or “a stone flower.” The station has over 30 stained glass panels. The Taganskaya station is famous for its ceramic panels featuring Russian folk patterns.

The Komsomolskaya station of the Circle Line is an example of the Stalin Empire style; the ceiling is decorated with panels featuring the Russian people’s struggle for independence. The Teatralnaya station’s ceiling has ceramic gold-plated bas-reliefs featuring musicians from the various USSR nations.

The Mayakovskaya station stands out the most. It has 34 oval or domed niches with lamps and smalt mosaics inside. They were designed by artist Alexander Deineka. This station was also built in the Stalin Empire style, but with a hint of Art Deco with its avant-garde details.

Pieces of the airship built for Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s project were used to decorate Mayakovskaya. In 1939, the Mayakovskaya project won the Grand-Prix award at the New York World’s Fair. In 1980, the station received architectural landmark status.

The largest museum

The Moscow Kremlin is not only a symbol of Russian statehood with unique buildings in the centre of the city. It is also the world’s largest museum complex, which includes the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, the Armory, the Ivan the Great Belfry, the Church of the Deposition of the Robe, the Patriarch’s Chambers and exhibition halls in the Assumption Cathedral belfry and the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Chambers.

The Moscow Kremlin is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Some 2 million people visit its museums annually to see over 160,000 works of art.

The unique museum complex has many treasures: the Armory has Faberge eggs, the insignia of Russian tsars, their carriages, clothes and items from their treasury, the patriarch’s sacrarium with gifts from foreign ambassadors.

The Assumption Cathedral features a unique altarpiece and patriarchs’ graves. For a long time, this was Russia’s main cathedral and the burial vault of metroplitans and patriarchs. The Ivan the Great Belfry was considered Russia’s tallest building between 1600 (when it reached 81 metres) and the early 18th century. The Moscow Kremlin’s Architecture History Museum is currently located there.

The museum complex was established on 10 March 1806, when, in accordance with Emperor Alexander I’s order On the Management and Preservation of the Workshop and the Armory, the Workshop and the Armory received museum status. Full privy councellor Pyotr Valuyev led the development of the museum concept and managed the staff.

Upside down flower

It is 540 metres tall; it can receive signal at a distance of 120 kilometres; it can serve about 20 million people and has a spectacular view of Moscow. Also, it is Russia and Europe’s tallest self-supporting structure. We are talking about the Ostankino TV Tower.

The project was developed by famous engineer Nikolai Nikitin and architects Leonid Batalov and Dmitry Burdin. It is said that Nikitin came up with the conceptual structure in just one night. The tower was inspired by a flower: its shape reminds visitors of an upside down lily.

The tower was built between 1960 and 1967 with cutting-edge technology for that time, much of which was developed during the construction. The Ostankino Tower is an engineering and architectural masterpiece.

Its main purpose is television and radio broadcasting, but it also serves as a high altitude observation point with a great view of the city. The tower has two observation decks, one at a height of 337 metres and one at 340 metres. All Moscow landmarks can be seen from there.

The Ostankino Tower is the tallest in Europe, but not in the world. It is now slightly lower than TV towers in Tokyo, Guangzhou and Toronto.

Moscow roads

Last summer, PricewaterhouseCoopers published its annual comparative study of Moscow and other world megacities, including New York, Singapore, Hong King, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Berlin, London and others. The cities were compared in terms of urban development between 2009 and 2016.

The results of the study bring another reason to be proud: it says Moscow ranks first in Europe in terms of road building and construction. In 2016, 104.4 kilometres of new roads were built in the city; construction is underway on major projects like the North-West Expressway, the North-East Expressway and the Southern Expressway. They will form an irregular circle with a total length (including all roads, overpasses and parallel roads) of 240 kilometres, with the main roadway at 60.5 kilometres. The circle will have 125 interchanges and elevated roads.

A new record will be set soon: the Moscow Metro’s Third Interchange Circuit (TIC) will become a completely new circle line for the metro. It will connect all radial lines at the distance of about 10 kilometres from the existing Circle Line. The TIC will have 31 stations, 17 transfers to the metro’s radial lines, seven to railway stations and two to the Moscow Central Circle. The TIC will be built by 2021.

The length of the new line will be over 60 kilometres, which is a new potential record. It will be the world’s longest metro circle line. Currently, the Beijing metro, at 57 kilometres, is the longest.