Moscow – a city with millions of people, massive roads and pompous buildings. Some of the parts in town still reflect the former communist era of the country, whereas other parts are super shiny. A city of superlatives almost. Even though it is such a big city, Moscow also offers a great amount of parks that invite people to relax and enjoy a little bit of nature. From time to time the parks also mirror the grandness of the country and its rich history. Sometimes I get the feeling that the Russians really want to show off a little bit. But hey, I guess every city or country does or did that at some point ;)
In the short time that I have been here I really tried to make the best out of the ‘good’ weather and went to a few parks already. I assume that doing some exploring in minus degrees will not be as much fun as it sounds…
VDNKh (ВДНХ) – Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva
On one beautiful not too cold late afternoon we gathered a few people to explore the VDNKh ‘park’ (= Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy), which is actually more a permanent trade show and amusement park. It is spread over 237 hectares (bigger than Monaco!) and it was first opened in 1937. Since then it has been rebuilt, expanded, reshaped and renamed several times. The main idea of the park was the creation of several pavilions – one for each republic of the USSR and for each major industry.
Before entering the park itself we were already greeted by the 110 metres tall Monument to the Conquerors of Space, which was erected in 1964 as a celebration of achievements of space exploration. Inside the base of the monument there is also the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics.
To enter the park you go through the Propylaea – the central entrance gate. Straight after entering the park you already get the feeling of how big VDNKh is as you see the central pavilion and a great avenue with flower gardens and small fountains.
The sunset was just beautiful and we had to take advantage of that and made lots of pictures!
In Moscow there are around 600 fountains, and some of them are in VDNKh. The Druzhba Narodov fountain (‘the friendship of people fountain’) is one of them. Unveiled in 1954 it shows 16 young women, each symbolising a national republic of the Soviet Union.
We stayed in the park for a few hours and really enjoyed strolling around for a bit. We did not manage to see everything that is in there and we also did not enter the amusement park. It was a very impressive park with so many impressive buildings and I will definitely go there again :)