The All-Russian Exhibition Center

Abbreviated in Russian as the VVC, the “Vserossiyskiy Vystavochny Centr”, the All-Russian Exhibition Centre is a huge trade expo that once demonstrated top industries, scientific endeavours and professionals from Russia and the former Soviet Republics, and still does to this day. These events attracted around 11 million visitors annually with 600,000 from overseas. Today the expo occupies over 2,375,000 square metres of land.

The history of the country’s main exhibition centre dates back to February 1935 when the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition was held in Moscow and over 250 000 applications for participation were received. The seeds occupied approximately 20 hectares and about 10,000 plants were bedded in the exhibition garden. A total of 260 cultures of over 3000 breeds were displayed at open exhibition areas. The grand opening of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition took place on 1 August 1939. The first visitors entered the arch that was constructed in the traditions of Roman triumphal arches. The pavilions which had been built palace-like were intended to demonstrate the vast expanse of the USSR, from the ice-fields of frigid Arctic regions to the evergreen subtropics, from Kamchatka to the Baltic.

Each pavilion had its own distinctive features; national motives were utilised in the design. There was a working model of a kolkhoz water power plant, a concert hall, a circus and two cinema theatres in the exhibition area. The exhibition temporarily closed and all its items and library were evacuated to Chelyabinsk during World War II. The All-Union Agricultural Exhibition accepted its visitors again only on the 1st of August 1954. By that time the exhibition’s architectural look had totally changed. The old pavilions had been reconstructed and the new ones had been erected including the Pavilion of the Baltic republics. The total area of the exhibition had increased to 207 hectares. Virtually all of the Soviet Union’s plant life was represented at the exhibition with 40,000 ornamental trees and 450,000 bushes decorating the area.

Starting from 1956 the All-Union Industrial Exhibition was opened for visitors at the territory of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. On the 28th of May 1958 a decision was made to merge agricultural, industrial and construction exhibitions into the Exhibition of National Economy Achievements of USSR (VDNKh of USSR).
Every year about 300 exhibitions and exposition were opened at the VDNKh where over 100,000 exhibits were displayed.

At the order of the President of the Russian Federation the major exhibition complex, the VDNKh, was renamed to the “All-Russian Exhibition Centre” on the 23rd of June 1992. The exhibition was not only renamed but it was also re-oriented. One of the most important goals of the Centre is to preserve the architectural ensemble of the exhibition which is justly acknowledged as a valuable, national asset of Russia.

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