Unmistakably Soviet symbols of Stalin’s megalomania… Visible proof of Stalin propaganda’s shift to nationalistic patriotism after the Second World War… And maybe even phallic metaphors of Stalin’s quest for recognition…
The Seven Sisters are seven skyscrapers that were built just after the war (when the Soviet Union in ruins had nothing better to do…) as a response to Stalin’s concern that foreign visitors would not be too impressed when visiting the Soviet capital.
They are still standing there, glorious and pompous. More tall buildings have grown around them including the super modern towers of Moscow City, but they are still a key part of Moscow’s urban landscape.
KOTELNICHESKAYA EMBANKMENT BUILDING (halfway between Kitay Gorod and Taganskaya)
This is my favourite Stalin Sister, perhaps because it’s so central and clear. It’s an appartment building and I’m dreaming of living on one of the top floors!
MOSCOW UNIVERSITY (metro Universitet)
This one is iconic, with its giant star at the top. Non less stereotypical is that gulag labourers were involved in its construction…
UKRAINA HOTEL (metro Kievskaya)
Now a Radisson hotel, this one is open to visitors and the entrance hall is really impressive, with a fabulous Revolution painting on the ceiling. Radisson has a ship that sails the Moskva river which can be a great way to see more of Moscow.
LENINGRADSKAYA HOTEL (metro Komsomolskaya)
Another hotel, a Hilton this time but the Soviet name is still written on its top, this one has a distinguished, more feminine look because of its pinkish colours.
KUNDRINSKAYA SQUARE (metro Barrikadnaya)
What I love about this one is the grace of its decorations and spires. Unlike all other Sisters, it also has a little garden with a fontain at its foot, which makes it a pleasant place to stop for ice cream.
KRASNYE VOROTA BUILDING (metro Krasnye Vorota)
White and inmaculate like the Soviet regime, this one has a beautiful hammer and sickle sign at the top of its base.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (metro Smolenskaya)
And last but not least, this wonderful building inspired by the big American skyscrapers of the 20th century is not so delicately decorated, but so massive that it makes the Empire State Building look quite skinny. That’s Soviet generosity…