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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

VDNKh Park

The former Exhibition of Economic Achievements of the USSR (VDNKh) is now the All-Russian Exhibition Centre.  The park has had various purposes throughout history.  Begun in 1939 is was used as a major agricultural exhibition.  Twenty years later it was chanted to a vast park to show off the nation's achievements in economics, science and technology.  After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the grounds and pavilions became private businesses.  Many of the exhibit halls are still used as retail showrooms, yet the complex is only a shadow of what it used to be.
Damon and I took the metro on Memorial Day to search out some memorabilia left over from the Soviet days.  We spent a few hours slowly wandering the park and gazing at the monuments.  They are all quiet impressive and speak of an ideal that never quiet worked out.  
A portion of the park is an amusement park complete with a midway, small roller coasters and a large, rather rickety looking ferris wheel.

Space Obelisk
built (1964) 3 years after Yuriy Gagarin became the first man in space 

Main entrance
tractor driver and woman collective farmer

the Russian way to water the lawn.  This truck drove around and around and around to water the grass!

Massive monument to Lenin

Beautiful fountain made of gold mosaic.
People are encouraged to swim!

This is what we came to see!  It was a bit of a hike once we spotted it but well worth the extra walking.  The statue Worker and Woman Collective Farm Worker is made of stainless steel.  Vera Mukhina created this for the Paris Exhibition in 1937 to symbolize the glory and power of the Soviet Union.  With the hammer and sickle raised far above the man and woman's heads, they scream Soviet to the viewing world.  This symbol was chosen to be used on posters for "Mosfilm", one of the most well known Russian movie studios, making it famous throughout the world.  This statue represents a main Soviet ideal where the government owned all the land and the people did all the work.  As soon as Damon saw the statue in the distance he exclaimed "I've seen that symbol before!  It's very famous."
A few nights later we happened to be out driving at night - stuck in slowly moving traffic.  I had a chance to look around and noticed that we were on the highway that goes right past this park.  Each monument was lit-up and looked stunning.     

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