The Seven Sisters of Moscow

In the late 1940s – early 1950s seven high-rise buildings were erected in Moscow. People call them the “Seven Sisters” or “Stalin’s high-risers”, monumental throwbacks of the past that are still used today. The sky scrapers were intended to symbolise the power of the Soviet People and to impersonate the city of tomorrow while the vertical outlines emphasised the major landscape points of Moscow. While not huge by today’s standards of sheer vertical height, these buildings are still colossal in design, width and depth resembling castles more than skyscrapers.

The first high-rise, the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Smolenskaya Square, was constructed during the lifetime of Stalin. The building’s height is 172 meters including the spire. During construction, the 27-storey “giant” was turned to overlook the square and the Borodinskiy Bridge. The high-rise was to become the landmark of the Garden Ring and the Moscow River’s bend.

Afterwards, the smallest but second-oldest sky scraper “grew up”, the 17-storey “Leningradskaya” Hotel. Together with the massive tower its height is 136 meters. The hotel astonished the visitors by its interior design made in the Muscovite baroque style.

Later on, the family of buildings was joined by a high-rise at Kotelnicheskaya Esplanade. The skyscraper consonantly matched the complex landscape at the confluence of two rivers. The central bulk of the building is 26 storey and 176 meters high. There are 540 apartments in the high-riser. The middle bulk is ornamented with obelisks, statuaries and figured ramparts.

The high-rise building at the Kudrinskaya Square has the name of “Gastronome”. Apart from the 452 flats, various shops, cinemas and garages were situated there. The building distinctly underlines the perspective of the Garden Ring and the radial streets channelling off from it. The central 22-story octagonal dome-shaped tower is topped with the spire. The building’s height together with the spire is 156 meters.

Another high-rise is located at Sadovo-Spasskaya Street. The “Red Gates” Metro Station exit is situated right in the building’s tower. The spire-topped central part is separated by massive pilasters. The austere composition is warmed by the outside ornament combining classic elements and old, Russian motives.

The most modest high-rise in terms of artistic design is the “Ukraine” Hotel. It was built with the purpose of emphasising an important area along the current of the Moscow River. The central building has 29 storeys and its height with the spire is 206 meters.

The all-round champion among Moscow’s high-risers is the 36-storey building of the Moscow State University built in 1955. A classic, Stalinist building, its monolithic silhouette can be seen from various points of the city at long range. The “Seven sisters” buildings are not only the traditional symbols of Moscow but they have also become tokens of the forever-gone 20th century. Moscow tours