Tuesday, 19 November 2013


This fascinating place, which is located about 8 kilometres north of Red Square, was established in 1935 as an agricultural exhibition centre. Failure to met deadlines and falling foul of ideological fashion got the architect and Commissar for Agriculture responsible for the project thrown in the slammer for a few years. Eventually the centre opened in 1938, but was closed during the war.

Entrance archway

Post-war, it reopened in 1954. Some industrial pavilions were then added and in 1959 the revamped centre became known as the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (abbreviated VDNK). This large park and its many pavilions was much used during Soviet times for exhibitions and conferences.

Today the official name is the All Russian Exhibition Centre (VVC), though I think of it as VDNK (Vay - Dey - En - the K is pronounced like the ch in loch), as the nearby Metro station has retained that name.

The Armenian pavilion

There is no charge to enter the park and wander around. It makes for a great afternoon exploring. A wonderfully eclectic and quirky collection of pavilions, fountains, statues and a Vostok rocket - together with a fairground (Muscovites are very fond of these). Often busy on weekends, those pavilions that are open tend to contain tacky markets, temporary exhibitions, fast food stalls and the odd show.

Very close to the Cosmonaut Museum and Monorail this park is certainly worth a visit.

Charming golden dancers surround the 'Friendship of the Nations' fountain. All the fountains in Moscow are shut down during the winter. Ostrankino Tower in the background. 

Pavilion of Ukraine

Detail of the Pavilion of Leningrad
Vostok rocket and the tail of a Tupolev aircraft.
The Stone Flower fountain. Central Pavilion in the background.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Moscow Monorail

A few months ago the Sydney monorail was dismantled. Having grown up in Sydney, I was always in two minds about that monorail. Obscuring some of the city's beautiful building facades at first floor level with a length of thick steel girder never seemed a very good idea to me. It also didn't serve any serious mass transit purpose - it was basically just a toy. And expensive to ride. So I'm sort of glad it's gone, though I will miss the occasional enjoyable jaunt on it around Darling Harbour.

The Moscow monorail was completed in 2004 and there is no danger of it obscuring any beautiful building facades. It is located about 8 kilometres north of Red Square in an area of apartment blocks, roads and parks.

Monorail view near Timirazevskaya.
Not much chance of people like me complaining about the track ruining the architectural ambiance out here.

The line is 4.7 kilometres long and links the grey Metro line (9) at Timirazevskaya (which I think of as Timmy-skaya) with VKND on the yellow line (6). So it serves some useful transportation purpose, though I suspect many of the people riding it are still just having a jaunt.

The monorail is integrated in to the urban transit ticketing system, so a regular ticket covers the journey (the public transportation ticketing system is something Moscow does seem to have got right).

Moscow monorail coming in to VDNK station

The monorail can be included as part of a fun day out. Catch the Metro to Timirazevskaya. Then catch the monorail (which goes right past Ostrankino Tower). Get off at VDNK (the monorail goes on one more stop). Visit the Cosmonaut Museum (see my last post) and have a wander around the VDNK Exhibition Park (see next post). End the day by catching the metro at VDNK metro station.

Sergeya Eisensteina Ulitsa station at the eastern end of the line. The train is just completing a small loop at the end of the track to commence its return run.

Monorail carriage interior

Telesenter monorail station. More utilitarian than attractive. As the station name suggests, there is a large television broadcasting station nearby (the gray building just visible in the background)