A country with a harsh climate, Russia, is home to the warmest of people and even cozier architecture. Most of its architecture gets its grandeur from the Communist era. The colorful & gilded baroque facades, canals, and factories from Soviet times. Forests of tall pines & birch also dot the landscape of the country. Amongst these are tucked meadows, and log houses (which are the true architectural marvels). Architecture in Russia is deeply significant of its glorious yet tumultuous past. Churches to museums, all speak of various contexts, philosophies, people, beliefs, and the masses.
1. The Winter Palace
To begin with, St. Petersburg’s most renowned structure, a typical baroque stone palace built in 1711. What we see today is a neoclassical update of the palace. Standing tall at the palace square, it has views into the Neva river. The standout feature is the facade, in resplendent green color looks beautiful at night too. It was for the longest time the residence of the Tsars, which later became a part of the State Hermitage Museum.
2. Bolshoi Theatre
Home to world-famous and oldest ballet companies and opera, The Bolshoi Theatre, is a major 240-year-old legacy. It’s a building with grand footage, to say the least. An imposing facade of neoclassical columns, an intricate pediment with galloping horses. It has been remade and restored multiple times, as it bore the test of times and war. Today, red velvet seats and gilded corners welcome you into the extravagant space.
3. Shukhov Tower
Also known as Shabolovka Radio Tower, it is an emblem of structural genius in the city of Moscow. Built during the industrial age, between the world wars, it is a 40-storey (160m high) tower designed as a lightweight structure. Built-in metal frame structure dominates the Moscow skyline. It was used for broadcasting up until 2001, post which it stands as a city landmark, and tourist attraction.
4. General Staff Building
The General Staff Building is a prominent architectural masterpiece located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is renowned for its stunning Empire-style design and stands as an essential attraction in the city. The building was designed by the distinguished Italian architect Carlo Rossi during the early 19th century.
One of the most notable features of the General Staff Building is its magnificent arch, which captivates visitors with its grandeur and elegance. The arch is an impressive element of the building’s facade and showcases the remarkable craftsmanship and attention to detail typical of Empire-style architecture.
5. Hermitage Museum
Another St. Petersburg classic, unlike many, is a very prestigious museum. Today, it is combined with the winter palace and a theatre to be called “hermitage”. It has close to 2000 rooms, which have been added over time. It even has satellite museums across Russia and Europe.
6. Neva Bridges
Engineering & architecture marvels of the city, these series of bridges in St. Petersburg are a sight to behold. Built-in iron, in an art deco style, is more functional than aesthetics. These are 12 drawbridges, most of which open in the evenings, to allow for ships to pass through.
7. Peter and Paul Fortress
Often overshadowed by the hermitage, it is what gave birth to the city of St. Petersburg. It served as a military base and government office. It also later became the burial ground for the Russian Imperial family.
It played a key role in the city’s turbulent history.
8. Loft Project ETAGI
More recent exhibit galleries in ST. Petersburg, with 3000 sq.m of space. It hosts contemporary works of lesser-known local young artists. A former bread factory was restored to bring the space to life. The space is home to one of its kind container city.
9. White Tower
The iconic tower is an emblem of the city of Yekaterinburg. Designed by M. Reisher, as a modernist tower, as a signifier of Soviet Russia. It was abandoned until 2010 when students of architecture took it upon themselves to revive it. It is now a public display gallery on the history and construction of the tower.
10. TASS Building
Home to a state-run news agency in Moscow, the ITAR – TASS building, is the media and broadcasting headquarters. Since before the fall of the USSR, it recently marked its 40th anniversary. It stands as a maker of a shining era in Russia’s history, in sandstone, black labradorite, and marble.
11. Stalin’s Skyscrapers
Gothic style, tall buildings almost imitating wedding cakes. One of the 7 is the Moscow State University, these were built post world war II. Many refer to them as 7 sisters as headquarters for the university, hotels, ministries, and two residential structures. They are heavily ornamented on the facade, with Soviet realist art and carving.
12. Sanduny Banya
A bathhouse from the 19th century, with a uniquely Russian experience. The exquisite oriental decor would rekindle memories of an old polo club or gymkhanas. An all-cream bath area, a wood-paneled steam room, and a parlor mark the space. This is a go-to spot for a pleasing bane experience in Moscow.
13. The Moscow Metro
Covering close to 180 stations, this is a spectacular underground railroad system. Established and laid during the soviet times, it is now the most reliable and used form of transport. The stations have an amazing architectural quality of their own. The arches, chandeliers, cornices, and marble-clad columns, speak of a different time.
14. Lenin’s Tomb
Lenin’s Tomb, also known as Lenin’s Mausoleum, is a famous landmark located in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. It is not a modernist building but a structure of historical significance. The tomb serves as the final resting place of Vladimir Lenin, the prominent leader of the Russian Revolution and the first head of the Soviet Union.
The design of Lenin’s Tomb is not an ode to modernist architecture; instead, it reflects a neoclassical style with clear influences from ancient Egyptian and Babylonian architecture. The architect, Alexey Shchusev, aimed to create a structure that exuded grandeur and solemnity, befitting the memory of the revolutionary leader.
15. St. Basil’s Cathedral
A postcard for not just Moscow but also Russia, the famous onion domes of the church are hard to miss. One of the best and most beautiful examples of the Russian architectural style – is whimsical and colorful. Bricks and ceramics with different patterns adorn the spires, arches, and domes of St. Basil’s, giving the building a dynamic flair.