Moscow State University

Moscow State University - Dmitry A Motti

Moscow State University – Dmitry A Motti

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Moscow State University

The main building of Moscow State University (Russian: Гла́вное зда́ние МГУ) a 239-metre (784 ft), 36-level (in its central part) skyscraper in Moscow, Russia. Its roof (182 metres (597 ft)) is topped by a 58-metre spire which ends with a 12-ton five-pointed star. Lateral towers are lower than the central one; two 18 and 9 storey dormitory wings define, with the central corpus of the complex, a cour d’honneur courtyard. Designed by Lev Rudnev as the headquarters of Moscow State University, it is the tallest of seven Moscow skyscrapers in the architectural style constructed between 1947 and 1953.

Among the statues which decorate the building is a sculpture by Vera Muchina representing a couple of students [which sit either side of the main entrance facing the city of Moscow]. The University premises cover around 1.6 square kilometres.

Moscow State University - 03

Moscow State University – 03

The Main Building of Moscow State University is not open to the general public.

The leading architect Boris Iofan bid for the skyscraper project in 1947 but the job was assigned to Lev Rudnev, because Iofan made the mistake of placing his draft skyscraper right on the edge of Sparrow Hills, a site which raised concerns over a potential landslide hazard. Rudnev had already built important edifices like the M. V. Frunze Military Academy (1932–1937) and the Marshals’ Apartments (Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya, 28, 1947), earning the esteem of the Communist Party. He set the building 800 meters away from the cliff. The chief of the engineers’ team was Vsevolod Nikolaevich Nasonov.

Moscow State University - 04

Moscow State University – 04

The main tower, which used over 40,000 tons of steel for its framework and 130,000 cubic metres of concrete, was inaugurated on September 1, 1953. At 240 metres tall, it was the 7th tallest building of the world as well as the tallest in Europe. Its European height record held until 1990 when it was surpassed by the Messeturm in Frankfurt, Germany. It was also, and still remains, the tallest educational building in the world.

Moscow University is probably the best known of Rudnev’s buildings, for which he was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1949. The University skyline inspired various buildings in the socialist countries, like the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, and also the logo of 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Text above from Wikipedia.

Moscow State University - 01

Moscow State University – 01

This is a vast structure. From pictures you can get an idea that we are talking about a large building but it’s only when you’re up close and actually walk around the whole of the building you realise what a truly monumental building it is.

The entrance for students and others who have business in the building is actually the ‘back door’ the main entrance being further from any transport links and seems to have been neglected in recent years.

Moscow State University - 02

Moscow State University – 02

The actual main entrance is that which faces the river and the city of Moscow. This is presently (May 2024) undergoing a major renovation after years of neglect. This would appear to be in readiness for the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Moscow University. It doesn’t look like the renovation will not alter the original design and it is hoped that the statues and monuments that adorn the entrance will be retained and restored to their former glory.

Moscow State University - 05

Moscow State University – 05

This vast building has restricted access to those not connected to the University so the nature of the internal decoration is unknown.


Lev Rudnev

Structural Engineer:

Vsevolod Nikolaevich Nasonov


1 Leninskie Gory

How to get there;

The nearest Metro station, about a 10-15 minute walk from the main University building, is Universitet, south west of the city centre on Line 1, the red one.







239 m (784 ft)



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Radisson Ukraine Hotel, Moscow

Hotel Ukraina, Moscow - Gennady Grachev

Hotel Ukraina, Moscow – Gennady Grachev

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Radisson Ukraine Hotel, Moscow

Radissson Ukraine Hotel (Hotel Ukraina) is a five-star, luxury hotel in the city centre of Moscow, on a bend of the Moskva River. The hotel is one of the ‘Seven Sisters’, and stands 206 metres (676 ft) tall. It is the tallest hotel in Russia, the tallest hotel in Europe, and the 52nd-tallest hotel in the world.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 02

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 02

Hotel Ukraina was commissioned by Joseph Stalin. It was designed by Arkady Mordvinov and Vyacheslav Oltarzhevsky (the leading Soviet expert on steel-framed high rise construction), and is the second tallest of the neoclassical 1950s skyscrapers. It was the tallest hotel in the world from the time of its construction until 1976.

Domestic architects began to discuss the possibility of building high-rise buildings in Moscow after the 1917 revolution. Very shortly thereafter, there were interesting projects; for example, the skyscraper project of the Supreme Economic Council building on the Lubyanka Square, designed by Vladimir Krinsky in 1923. In the same year, the Vesnin brothers proposed a project for the Palace of Labour, whose high-rise building was a tower 132 meters high.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 05

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 05

The government supported the desires of architects to rebuild the capital of the Soviet Union. In 1940, architect Dmitry Chechulin published a draft of a 24-story public building on the Dorogomilovsky Bend of the Moscow River – the Hotel Ukraine subsequently appeared at this place. The sketches were published in Issues 11–14 of the magazine Construction of Moscow. All the preparatory work on this project progressed very slowly, and with the start of World War II, work was completely frozen.

On January 13, 1947, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B), Joseph Stalin, signed the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR ‘On the Construction of High-Rise Buildings in Moscow’. Clause 4 stated that a 26-story building with a hotel and residences was to be built on the Leningradskoye Highway near the Dynamo Stadium. Mordvinov, as a representative of the Committee on Architectural Affairs, submitted the construction plan to the government for approval. Construction work was transferred to the Ministry of Construction of Heavy Industry Enterprises.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 03

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 03

Later the government decided to transfer the construction to the Dorogomilovskaya settlement, which was built up with barracks and wooden houses. This was due to the desire to create a high-rise which would dominate the intersection of the Moskva River embankment and a proposed major highway, Kutuzov Avenue. The designers took into account not only the location of the roads, a pier for the river fleet was also created near the hotel.

Such skyscrapers of the same time were not built in a separate area, they were distributed mainly in the historical centre of the capital. New high-rises should serve as architectural dominants of the capital. Church bell towers and domes performed a similar role in pre-revolutionary Moscow. The chief architect of Moscow, Dmitry Chechulin, also took into account that future skyscrapers could ‘overlap’ with each other.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 04

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 04

Like all skyscrapers built in this period, the first stone of the hotel was solemnly laid on September 7, 1947, on the day of the 800th anniversary of Moscow, but work did not actually begin until 1953. The construction of high-rise buildings in Moscow was complicated by three circumstances. The first problem was weak Moscow soil (sandy loam), for which reason it was necessary to build strong foundations. The second difficulty was that the Soviet experts, except Oltarzhevsky and a few other architects, did not have the relevant expertise. Finally, the country lacked the necessary technical base.

Considering Stalin’s attention to the project, the necessary technologies and mechanisms were developed for high-rise construction from scratch or improved. Especially for the 1950s skyscrapers, an original ‘box foundation’ was developed, which allowed the building to be erected without gigantic reinforced concrete massifs and vertical sedimentary joints. The workers received a concrete pump capable of pumping fresh mortar to a height of 40 meters and UBK tower cranes with a lifting capacity of 15 tons, capable of lifting themselves from floor to floor as the building grows. During the construction of the hotel, these cranes were used in the construction of walls and for the installation of large elements of reinforcement blocks. In addition, with the formwork of the bottom slab of the foundation, the crane pedestals were part of the reinforced concrete structure of the building and subsequently became part of the basement. In Lyubertsy and Kuchin, special factories for the production of reinforced concrete slabs were organized, and the use of a metal frame required the creation of new wall materials: ‘multi-hole’ bricks and hollow ceramic stones. An enterprise was set up in the village of Kudinovo to produce these materials.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 01

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 01

Since the hotel was built later than the other skyscrapers, engineers and ordinary specialists took into account previous experience in order to optimize the workflow. At the construction site, most cargo delivery operations were mechanized from the moment they arrived at the facility until transportation to the workplace. The building was erected in close proximity to the Moskva River, therefore, additional work was needed to drain the soil around the future foundation.

Long before the commissioning of the building, it became known that by order of Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the hotel would be called ‘Ukraine’ and not ‘Dorogomilovskaya’ (the design name is ‘Hotel building in Dorogomilov’) as originally intended. The reason was the desire to make a symbolic gesture in the context of the celebration in 1954 of the 300th anniversary of the reunification of Russia and Ukraine’

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 06

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 06

The grand opening of the hotel on Dorogomilovskaya Embankment took place on May 25, 1957. In early June, the newspaper ‘For the cultural trade’ noted that in the Hotel Ukraine – the largest hotel in Europe – there are 1,026 rooms. The hotel was considered prestigious and was focused primarily as a residence for foreigners.

In 1964, a 10-meter monument to the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was erected in the square in front of the main façade of the building. Sculptors Mikhail Gritsyuk, Yu. L. Sinkevich, A. S. Fuzhenko and architects A. A. Snitsaryov, Yu. A. Chekanuk worked on the monument.

In the 1930s, a new architectural style was formed in the Soviet Union. Its characteristic features were the massiveness of buildings and the abundance of decorative elements, even on residential buildings. The decoration was eclectic: along with the use of classical orders, modern symbols were used, such as images of sickles, five-pointed stars and generalized images of Soviet workers. According to the richness and character of the architectural composition, this is not only an image of a hotel – it is a monument of the greatness of the architect Oltarzhevsky.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 08

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 08

Including the 73-meter spire the maximum height of the building is 206 meters. The Hotel Ukraine is a U-shaped building. The central building is occupied by the hotel itself, and in the side buildings, with a variable number of floors from 9 to 11, there are 255 apartments with 2–4 room apartments. In addition, there were two five room apartments in the building. The tower of the central building has 34 floors. The hotel differed exclusively expensive decoration. Initially, there were rooms of different sizes: from a single room of 12 m² to three-room suites, each of which had a living room and two bedrooms, with separate bathrooms.

In addition to the luxurious interiors, the hallmark of the Hotel Ukraine has become a winter garden with a fountain, arranged on the second floor. In the building of the hotel there was a post office, telegraph office, savings bank and several shops – a bookshop, a florist and a theatre. Since the opening of the hotel, there was an enclosed cafe on the upper floors, around which there was an open terrace with a panoramic view of the city. The hotel employed 800 people.

The building had advanced engineering systems. In addition to the ventilation system, there was centralized air conditioning. The air from the street was filtered and moistened, its temperature reaching 15°C. The whole building was equipped with a centralized dust removal system, which was a system of brushes and hoses located in each room and in each apartment. On pipes laid along the building, the dust fell into the vacuum cleaner station installed in the basement. The collected dust was filtered and discharged into the sewage system, and the purified air from the system got into the street. The hotel was additionally equipped with hand-held vacuum cleaners. To ensure the heating of the building in the basement were boilers. Also in the hotel building was a telephone exchange with 10,000 numbers.

Radisson Ukraine Hotel - 07

Radisson Ukraine Hotel – 07

The hotel has 505 rooms, 38 apartments, 5 restaurants, a conference centre, executive floor, banquet hall, library, spa and wellness centre with a 50m indoor swimming pool and a fleet of Moskva River yachts.

There are about 1,200 original paintings by the Russian artists of the first half of the 20th century, and on the first floor the diorama, Moscow – Capital of the USSR in 1:75, scale shows the historical centre of Moscow and the city’s surroundings from Luzjniki to Zemlyanoi Val in the year 1977, when the artwork was created.

Text from Wikipedia. (As it is Wikipedia there is some contradictory information. If I get definite statistics I’ll make revisions.)

You can even buy a Rolls Royce on the ground floor.

How to get there;

The nearest metro station is Kievskaya, west of the city centre on Line 3, the dark blue line, about a ten minute walk.


2/1 Kutuzovsky Prospekt





May 1957


206 m (676 ft)



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Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow - Frank Baulo

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow – Frank Baulo

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia main building is one of seven skyscrapers from the 1950s, (the ‘Seven Sisters’) designed and overseen by Vladimir Gelfreykh and Adolf Minkus.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 01

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – 01

The skyscraper was laid down in 1948 and completed in 1953. According to the biography of the architect Minkus (published in 1982), draft plans were first drawn up in 1946 and ranged from 9 to 40 stories. In 1947 two designs were proposed: one utilized layered setbacks while the other called for a more streamlined construction which culminated in a blunt rectangular top. In the second and approved design a metal spire was added to the tower’s roof. Currently the building houses the offices for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (and access is restricted at the back of the building).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 03

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – 03

The building has been attributed similarities with the Woolworth Building in Manhattan. The architectural appearance dates back to the English Gothic: its feature is the rigid ribs that emphasise the height of the building and its upward thrust. The building has a tiered structure with the masses gradually narrowing and easing upwards. The ends of the tiers, unlike other high-rises, are flat – without towers or vases and decorated with merlons.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 02

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – 02

The central part of the building consists of 27 floors and its height is 172 metres. The plinth is clad in red granite and the façade is in light ceramic blocks. On the main façade, at a height of 114 metres, there is the coat of arms of the USSR mounted in reinforced concrete and covering an area of 144 m2. The portals of the building are decorated with metal lattices and stucco made by sculptor Georgy Motovilov. The portals are flanked by large obelisks of dark grey stone. The central part of the high-rise passes into side 16-storey wings through ledges of tiers, and behind them into 6-storey wings. These enclosures link the massing of the building to the surrounding residential area.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 04

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – 04

The total area of all the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is 65 thousand m2 (a cubic footprint of 402,000 m³), of which about two thousand are working and service rooms. A total of 28 lifts were installed in the building at the time of its construction, including 18 high-speed lifts.

The lobby is lined with light marble. The walls, columns, friezes on the walls as well as the floors are carpeted in polished black granite. The stained glass doors, door frames, capitals and grilles are made of brass and brass-anodised aluminium. Four escalators lead from the vestibule to the underground cloakroom.

The walls of the assembly hall, which can seat 500 people, are clad in artificial marble. The furniture and woodwork are made of Karelian birch and polished walnut, the armchairs and drapes are upholstered in red velvet.

Text from Wikipedia.


Vladimir Gelfreykh and Adolf Minkus


32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square

How to get there;

The nearest metro station is Smolenskaya on the Lines 3 (the dark blue line) and 4 (the light blue line), west of the city centre. 







172m (564ft)





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