Stalin High Rises

Stalin Classicism is the name of the architectural style of Moscow high rises characterized by their rich decoration with Soviet symbols. The idea of putting eight high rise buildings in Moscow appeared in 1940s, and the new edifices were meant to proclaim "the grandeur of the Stalin era." The construction of seven of the eight high rises was made possible thanks to the grand scale of post-war socialist construction projects.

Each Stalin high rise is a unique architectural construction that presented formidable difficulties to erect. A structure of large dimensions requires a solid foundation and many of today's sky-scrapers are built on rocky strata. These strata do exist in Moscow but they are located deep underground. The surface layers consist mainly of sand and clay, thus rendering the technological know-how of American architects irrelevant. To provide a solid foundation for the new buildings enormous metal frames were dug into the ground to rest on the rocky strata and reaching all way to the surface level.

Perhaps the most famous high rise is the one located in Kutuzovsky Prospect. It was the preferred address of many of the Soviet party leaders and the top echelon of the Communist party. Other high rises were mainly occupied by prominent Soviet scientists, famous actors, and party apparatchiks of a lower rank. All of these elite blocks were equipped with security systems, had en-suite concierge and the maid service. The interior is richly decorated with various Soviet symbols and wartime regalia.

Another well-known high rise is Ukraina Hotel. It was officially opened during the days of 1957 International Youth Festival. Up to this day Ukraina is Moscow's tallest hotel offering excellent views from its 930 rooms. The hotel staff has painstakingly preserved the original furniture and interior decoration of the Stalin era, and hotel guests have an opportunity to delve into the Russian history right upon arrival.

The building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was built in 1953. The original plan provided for a rectangular dome but Stalin ordered a triangular-shaped construction. A 144 sq. m. concrete coat-of-arms of the Soviet Union decorates the main facade of the building. Other high rise buildings include the building of the Moscow State University, Hotel Leningrad, administrative building in the Red Gates Square, and a residential building on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment.

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