The All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VVC) known in Soviet time as Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) is filled with the spirit of commerce today. If to remove all billboards and traders from its territory and return to pavilions their original national flavor it would be one of the most attractive places for tourists in Moscow. I can’t help admiring its architecture and fountains. They are worth to look at.
On the 18th of May Moscow will celebrate the Day of historical and cultural heritage. A lot of museums will be open for free and many historical buildings and architectural monuments that are usually inaccessible will open their doors to the public.
Once on the 18th of May I had the pleasure to visit the Morosov’s mansion at 21 Podsosensky Lane. It was built by M.N.Chichagov and the interiors were remodelled by an outstanding Moscow architect F.Shekhtel in 1895-1900. Five panels on the subject of Goethe’s “Faust” were painted by M.A.Vrubel for its Gothic study. They included “Mephisto and the student”, “Margaret”, “Faust”, “The Flight of Faust and Mephisto”, and a lost fifth panel “Faust and Margaret in the Garden”. Currently the four panels from the study are shown at the State Tretyakov Gallery. For A.V.Morozov Vrubel also painted the panel “Philosophy”.
Two days after returning from space – on April 14, 1961 – Yury Gagarin planted an oak in the Kremlin. They say when Gagarin died 7 years later and was buried on Red square, the oak became ill, and for some time gardeners didn’t even believe in its recovery. However, we are lucky to see Gagarin’s oak alive in Tainizkiy garden of the Kremlin. I would like you to show this 50 years old tree, which commemorates the first ever space flight.
BTW, Gagarin’s eldest daughter, Elena Gagarina, is director of the Kremlin Museums starting from April 12, 2001.
January 25 is known in Russia as a holiday of the students. It is the day of St. Tatiana and the day when Moscow University was established by a decree of Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, in 1755.
Today rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Victor A. Sadovnichy expressing deep sorrow for the victims and survivors of the Domodedovo airport attack changed the program of the holiday, canceled all entertainment events, and encouraged everyone to humanism and responsibility.
It’s not for the first time when the question of burying Lenin was raised again in January on the eve of the Lenin’s death anniversary. He died on January 21, 1924, but was not buried according to his wish next to his mother in St. Petersburg. The body was embalmed in a special way to be shown to all wishing to take a look at the leader of October Revolution and Soviet Union founder.
Partizanskaya metro station (the dark blue metro line) was opened during World War II. Originally they were going to call it “Stalin Stadium”. In fact, because of that never built stadium with 120000 sits the station was planned with unusual three tracks and two island platforms intended for crowds of fans. It was completed in 1944 and adorned with statues of heroic partizans: Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Matvey Kuzmin who repeated the feat of Ivan Susanin, but was renamed from Izmailovsky park into Partizanskaya only in 2005.
Today I’d like you to tell about Sts. Mary and Martha Convent of Mercy founded by the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Romanova, an older sister of Alexandra, the last Russian Empress. Both of them were granddaughters of Queen Victoria. She was married to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, who was assassinated in 1905 by a terrorist Ivan Kalyayev. After his death she sold everithing she had and devoted herself to charity and spiritual life.
I received the first question and a very good one:
Olga, I would like to know the orgin(s) of the name of the metro stations “Sokolniki” and “Sokol”.
Sokolniki is the name of an old settlement of falconers (sokolniks) – people who took care for falcons and trained them for hunting. Since the XV century the local forests used to be the favorite hunting place of the Moscow princes and tsars. So, Sokolniki district has inherited that historical name of the place.
The origin of the name Sokol is associated with the first communal settlements in the Soviet Union when a group of artists and painters received some land in Moscow as a private property. First it was planned to be located in Sokolniki. A lot of documents were prepared for registration, even a stamp was made with a flying falkon, when the authorities for some reason changed their minds and artists settlement received another place – near the village of All the Saints. It is not confused the artists. They decided not to change the documents, keep the name and save the stamp. Later the surrounding districts received the same name and the newly built metro station was called Sokol (Falcon) as well.
Let me show you some photos taken at Sokolniki.
The church of the Resurrection of Christ in Sokolniki (1909-1913) built by the architect P.Tolstyh is located in the vicinity of the metro station Sokolniki and the park of the same name. It was not closed even in Soviet time hence a lot of precious icons were preserved in it, some of them taken from other churches.
A rare Moscow sample of the house decorated with wood carving on Gastello St. in Sokolniki.
Holiday Inn hotel with the Fire tower of the XIX century on background.