For anyone with an interest in the Soviet Union, the All-Russia Exhibition Centre in the north of Moscow is a must. The centre was officially opened in 1939 as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, but after the Second World War this was reconstructed and in 1959 the whole centre was reopened as the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR. The centre was envisaged as a showcase for the achievements of the Soviet Union in various spheres and for this purpose many extravagant exhibit halls were built each dedicated to a different branch of science or technology, or to a different area or republic of the USSR. In 1992 the exhibition centre was renamed the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. Throughout the 1990s it appeared that the exhibition centre was destined to turn into a market and a tacky fairground, although since 2009 there have been plans to redevelop the centre which will hopefully preserve this unique place and keep this time capsule of the Soviet Union and Stalinist architecture intact. The Main Entrance to the exhibition centre is formed by a massive 32-metre arched gate. It was built in 1954 and is topped with a statue of a two agricultural workers holding a bale of hay above them and it also features several reliefs.
Vladimir Lenin Monument
A short while behind the main entrance is the obligatory statue of Vladimir Lenin which stands in front of the grand Soviet-style Pavilion 1 which was also built in 1954. Previously there was also a statue of Stalin here.
Peoples Friendship Fountain
Behind Pavilion 1 is the Peoples Friendship Fountain, also dating from 1954. The beautiful fountain features 16 gold-coated statues of girls symbolising each of the then 16 republics of the Soviet Union (at that time the Karelo-Finnic Soviet Socialist Republic had not yet been demoted to an autonomous republic).
Stone Flower Fountain
A short distance from the People's Friendship Fountain is the Stone Flower Fountain, also built in 1954, whose centrepiece is a flower carved from stones from the Urals and covered with pieces of coloured smalt. Along the side of the fountain's pool are various bronze sculptures.
Pavilions to Regions of the USSR
All around the centre are the buildings of the old pavilions dedicated republics, regions or cities of the USSR. Many of these have since been closed and are now used for a different purpose, although the architectural styles recall the original theme. Still functioning pavilions include the Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Belarus Pavilions.
Pavilions to Achievements of the USSR
In additional to pavilions dedicated to regions of the USSR, economic and scientific achievements also had their own pavilion. Although the majority of these have since closed, once there were pavilions dedicated to eduction, physics, chemisty, metallurgy, health, beekeeping, space exploration, geology, fishing, agriculture and animal husbandry to name but a few. Near the back of the park outside what was once the Space Pavilion is a copy of the Vostok Rocket.
Another interesting place at the centre is the 360 degree Circular Cinema. It was built in 1959 and since 2006 it has once again been showing various films which were especially made for the cinema during the Soviet era. The cinema is located near the centre's southern entrance.
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