FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Fading glory: The All-Russian Exhibition Centre

Posted in Moscow, Russia by folkestonejack on January 14, 2007

After making my way to the VNKh metro station I headed for the All-Russian Exhibition Centre, passing underneath the monorail and the impressive gateway (topped by the statue of a tractor driver and woman holding a sheaf of wheat aloft) to make my way into the park.

The distinctive entrance to the All-Russian Exhibition Centre

The All-Russian Exhibition Centre was constructed in the 1930s and evolved into an exhibition to highlight the achievements of the national economy. The pavilions exhibited displays about the Soviet republics or the pinnacle of Soviet technology from space to electronics and in its heyday it must have been quite something. Today, the place is a somewhat rundown retail/entertainment complex and whilst the buildings retain their glamour they are ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ by which I mean that the interiors disappoint terribly with their shop units and commercial enterprises. So long as you avoid the temptation to look inside, the place is incredible!

Lenin stands in front of the central pavilion

The splendour of the pavillions (even in a decaying state) was hard to hide. I felt like a big kid, running wide-eyed from building to building, enjoying the designs and the architecture. Apart from the stunning national pavillions I particularly liked the display of two Aeroflot jets and the space rocket suspended from a gantry in front of the old space pavillion (sadly nothing still hangs in there now). It was a shame that the giant statue of ‘Worker and Kolkhoz Woman’ holding a hammer and sickle was not on display, having been taken down for repair, but I could understand the reasoning all too well as much of the park seemed to be in a poor state of repair.

The combination of architecture and technology at the All-Russian Exhibition Centre

The usual site of the museum of cosmonautics was boarded up and undergoing heavy restoration so a hall in the complex was functioning as a temporary exhibition space in the meantime. I paid up and had a good look around, though sadly there were no english labels. The day was all but done, so I headed back to the hotel – satisfied with a very enjoyable (and tiring) first day.

The All-Russian Exhibition centre at night

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