Wandering Camera

Album 121
(Translated by Svetlana Guzeeva)


Place of our today's walk is Moscovskaya (Moscow) square and situated at it House of Soviets (sometimes it's called "Palace of Soviets"). 
The whole ensemble is one of the best monuments of soviet times.


House of Soviets was built in 1936..1941 according to architect N.A. Trotsky project.

Some history:

In 1930s they planned to remove administrative center of Leningrad to the south (one of the serious reasons is that historical center of the city periodically suffered from floods).
House of Soviets, Moscow square and Moscow prospect as well (which crosses this square) were supposed to become the most important in the new center.

This was the period when the real power was being passed from the people (in the form of Soviets) to bureaucracy (under the direction of I.V. Stalin). Ruling over the country became similar to the activity of the emperor in the empire, of course, on the higher organizational and technical level.

In accordance with this architecture of buildings started changing. Style of constructivism (when paying most attention to the geometry forms - 1920s) was gradually passing and stalin's neo-classicism was becoming firmly established (columns, bas-reliefs), alike classicism of the beginning XIX century in many respects. 

Building of the House of Soviets was built right in this transition period - there are features of both styles in it. 

It's interesting that originally square was supposed to be much larger (38-50 hectares instead of 13 hectares), triumphal arches and many other things were planned.

However scheduled transfer of administrative center never came about. Probably, because city was expanding in the south direction not quickly enough, and even now Moscow square is by no means the center, you see.

In the shot:

Emblem of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) in the center of the building (11 meters high).
Once there was a sign below "USSR is a socialist state of workers and peasants".

Presumably it disappeared after 1977 (in the new constitution it said "public state").

Frieze by N.V. Tomsky.

Formerly there was a sign above the frieze "LONG LIVE LENINISM!"

As to the building itself, it's the biggest administrative building in Saint-Petersburg and one of the biggest in the USSR.

For instance, only one main conference hall is intended for 3,200 people.

There was a board with a sign saying the year of the construction completion - 1941 - over the main door.

НThere are two 10-storeyed buildings on the opposite side of the square. Built much later - in 1956, according to the project of group of architects under the leadership of S.B. Speransky (by the way, there is customs-house with zigzag roof at the boarder upon Finland - work of the same architect).

Pay attention to the upper storeys of the building - reminds House of Soviets itself in style.

Monument to Lenin was established on the square in 1970 (work of M.K. Anikushin and V.A. Kamensky), though it was planned originally according to the project.

As I already mentioned above, the center of the city was never removed here. Correspondingly, building of the House of Soviets was not used on original purpose. Command post of the Leningrad army group commander was situated here during the war.

After the war - defense enterprise "Leninets" (in particular, first soviet computers were created there).. Nowadays premises are leased for offices (the owner of the building is holding company "Leninets").

Concrete structure in the left is war times pillbox.



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