The Metropol Hotel

Perhaps there is no such other building in Moscow that’s associated with so many outstanding people and events. From Bolshevik leaders to modern stars such as Michael Jackson, the hotel has always been the scene of important occurences.
The place where the hotel is situated today was a passage way until the beginning of the 19th century. This passage was mentioned in the 15th century records. In 1838 a rich Moscow merchant named Chelyshev built a three-storey hotel with baths at this place which Moscow used to call “Chelyshy”.

The St. Petersburg Insurance Society, established by the famous Russian industrialist and patron of arts Savva Mamontov, bought the Chelyshy in 1898. In place of the Chelyshy Mamontov decided to build a grandiose cultural centre consisting of Europe’s biggest theatre, exhibition halls, skating-rink, interior garden and, of course, a hotel. The construction started without a moment’s delay. The project did not provide for the demolition of the old hotel but its radical reconstruction and integration with new buildings by means of common facades. The first two-auditorium cinema, “the Theatre Modern” was opened inside the hotel in 1906.

The hotel building was almost finished by 1901 when a fire broke out. The renewed hotel, an example of the Art Noveau style, was opened in 1905. Out of the 400 rooms there were no two similar ones in accordance with the Art Noveau era.
Muscovites gave the hotel the name “the tower of Babel” due to fancy its ornaments, the most important of which is still the “Dream Princess” ceramic panel made after the famous picture of Michael Vrubel. Famous writers, composers, musicians and actors visited the Metropol’s restaurant. The great Russian bassist Fyodor Shalyapin performed at the restaurant’s stage many times. Major Russian industrialists entered into million-rouble contracts in the rooms of the hotel.

The second House of the Soviets occupied the hotel’s building in 1918. There were also governmental offices and statesmen apartment at the hotel. The meetings of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee used to take place in the building’s halls until 1919. The main restaurant of the Metropol had become a place for meetings where Bolshevik leaders made their speeches. The hotel status was returned to Metropol in 1920’s.

The Metropol’s building was in disrepair towards the end of the 20th century. The comprehensive repair and re-equipment works started in 1986. A new main lobby was built during the reconstruction and elevators were replaced. The antique furniture was restored in the Hermitage. Starting from December 1991, the renovated Metropol, ‘the Art Noveau Pearl’, appeared again in all its beauty. Travel to Moscow