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Moscow’s dominant sisters

Since the end of World War II, these 7 buildings have proudly dominated the Moscow skyline. With the construction of these legendary high rises, nicknamed 'the Seven Sisters', leader Joseph Stalin sent a powerful message to the rest of the world. His architects’ taste was anything but conservative; the dominant sisters are a bold combination of Russian Baroque and American high-rise architecture.

The construction of the Sisters was Stalin’s attempt to create a Moscow skyline that rivalled those of North American cities. He asked architects for a creative design of 8 buildings: a state university, apartment complexes, government buildings and luxury hotels. Seven towers arose in the city, but the 8th sister was never built. The planned ‘Zaryadye’ skyscraper would overshadow the Kremlin too much. At the location that had been reserved for the tower, the Rossiya hotel was built in 1967. However, the design for the Zaryadye skyscraper was not discarded: it was used for the Palace of Culture and Science in Warshaw.

The Moscow State University
The Moscow State University

Moscow

Communist paradises

These mega-structures are indeed sister buildings. Although the buildings have Baroque, Gothic and Orthodox style influences, they all feature a central tower with adjacent wings. The ‘Sisters’ have garnered numerous accolades: one is the tallest hotel in the world, another contains the largest chandelier, and the university is the highest educational building in the world. The lavish interior features many opulent decorations. Everything is stunning, from the marble stairways in the university building to the ceiling paintings in the hotel and the lavishly decorated towers in the apartment buildings.

The Kotelnicheskaya embankment building

Real Russian ambiance

The Leningradskaya was built in 1954 as a luxurious Soviet hotel. In recent years the building underwent extensive restorations and has been transformed into an international Hilton hotel. The Russian ambiance has been preserved: bronze chandeliers and marble pillars dominate the lobby decorated with frescos and ornamental mouldings. The rooms today are more spacious and furnished with contemporary Russian design. Book a room on one of the higher floors in the tower for a spectacular city view.

One of the other Stalinist towers now houses the Radisson Royal Hotel. The original ceiling paintings in the lobby and classic décor of the 497 rooms evoke the ambiance of a palace on the Moskva River. Indeed, the rooms are priced accordingly. But even if you choose to stay elsewhere, you can still visit the Mercedes Bar on the 31st floor. Everyone is welcome for a cocktail with a view.

The lobby of the Hilton

Photo credits

  • The lobby of the Hilton: Pavel L. Photo and video, Shutterstock