August 01, 1997

Unknown Moscow

Moscow, in spite of and perhaps because of all its economic and industrial hugeness, is certainly capable of concealing the more than occasional weird and wonderful oddity. So Russian Life decided to turn to its three experts for their lists of Unknown Moscow sites worth visiting.

Robert Greenall: My favorites include the home of the great constructivist architect Melnikov just off the Arbat. Made of two concrete cylinders cut into each other and dotted with hexagonal windows, it was built in 1927, one of the last bursts of individualism before Moscow was engulfed in Stalinist monumentalism.

The charming Old Believer’s Church in Tokmakov pereulok (metro Baumanskaya), in the East of the city, was another last gasp, this of the art nouveau style forgotten by war and revolution a decade earlier. Its unusual exterior, with a triangular roof raised on pillars above the church itself, reflects the oddness of the Pomorye sect which used it, worshipping without priests or altars and hanging their icons all round the walls.

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