1 VDNKH

Timeless Travels Magazine - - RUSSIA -

The Ex­hi­bi­tion of Achieve­ments of Na­tional Econ­omy or “VDNKh,” as it is more com­monly known, opened in 1954, and its in­tended func­tion was some­thing akin to a Soviet theme park. Lo­cated in Moscow’s Os­tank­in­sky District, the park is enor­mous as Soviet plan­ners sought to evoke the im­mense size and space of the for­mer USSR. (VDNKh cov­ers over 2 mil­lion square me­tres, which makes it larger than the Prin­ci­pal­ity of Monaco!)

Al­though VDNKh con­tains over 400 build­ings, the most im­pres­sive struc­tures within the park are its mon­u­men­tal pav­il­ions. These pav­il­ions are in­tri­cately dec­o­rated and ded­i­cated to all the for­mer Soviet re­publics; a few other pav­il­ions com­mem­o­rate so­cial­ist in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing ev­ery­thing from ge­ol­ogy to rocket science. Cu­ri­ously, while the vis­i­tor to VDNKh can find busy shops, restau­rants, and even travel agen­cies in­side many of these pav­il­ions, oth­ers are vir­tu­ally empty. Two foun­tains sit­u­ated in the cen­tre of VDNKh — the Peo­ple’s Friend­ship Foun­tain and the be­jew­elled Stone Flower Foun­da­tion — are mas­ter­pieces of so­cial­ist art, which epit­o­mize the im­por­tance of the pro­le­tariat in the con­struc­tion of their so­cial­ist par­adise. After years of ne­glect, the park is be­ing lov­ingly re­stored, and an ex­cur­sion to VDNKh from cen­tral Moscow makes for a sur­real but un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence. VDNKh is also ar­guably the best place to peo­ple-watch in Moscow out­side of Gorky Park.

Pre­vi­ous pages: A model of the Vos­tok Rocket class. This group of rock­ets was de­signed by the Sovi­ets for their hu­man space­flight pro­gramme. Yuri Ga­garin, the first man in space, or­bited around the world in such a rocket. (Sput­nik also be­longed to this rocket class)

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