Almost 100 years ago: Moscow Main Archive presented the history of VDNKh

November 9

VDNKh is the successor to the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV), opened in 1939. But it also has a predecessor - the All-Russian Agricultural and Handicraft-Industrial Exhibition of 1923. The documents of the Glavarkhiv tell about how the main exhibitions of the country were held.

On March 9, 1922, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree on holding the All-Russian Agricultural and Handicraft-Industrial Exhibition in 1923. The leadership was entrusted to the Agricultural Commission of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, headed by Mikhail Kalinin.

For the exhibition, the site of vegetable gardens near the Crimean Bridge, the garden of the Golitsyn hospital, the Neskuchny garden and the Vorobyovy Gory were selected. The master plan was drawn up by the academician of architecture Ivan Zholtovsky, who also designed the exhibition pavilion "Mechanical Engineering", or "Hexagon".

At the site of the future Gorky Park, 38 pavilions were built, and a total of 255 buildings were located on an area of ​​more than 27 thousand square meters. The exhibition was created by architects Alexey Shchusev, Ivan Fomin, Vladimir Shchuko, Konstantin Melnikov, Fyodor Shekhtel, as well as sculptors Sergey Konenkov and Ivan Shadr. Alexandra Exter, Vera Mukhina, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Aristarkh Lentulov and almost two thousand other artists from all over the Soviet Union participated in the decoration.

The grand opening of the exhibition took place on August 19, 1923. It was attended by manufacturers from 19 republics, 11 autonomous regions and 50 provinces. According to the report of the RSFSR People's Commissariat of Agriculture, 1 618 882 people attended the exhibition from August 19 to October 21.

In June 1930, in one of the pavilions left over from the 1923 exhibition, opposite the main entrance to Gorky Park, the Permanent All-Union Building Exhibition was opened. New samples of building materials, lightweight wall structures, projects of industrial enterprises and residential buildings, samples of new construction mechanisms were presented here. More than 40 thousand people have visited the exhibition in three months.

Five years later, soviet government decided to hold the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSHV) in Moscow. At first, about 450 hectares were allocated for it around the educational campus of the Agricultural Academy named after K.A. Timiryazev. But in August 1935 it was decided to hold the exhibition at the free Rostokino area near Ostankino Park (then it was called the Dzerzhinsky Park of Culture and Leisure).

View from the main entrance of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSHV) towards the Central Pavilion and a square in front of it. Photo by M. Trakhman. 1954. Moscow Glavarchiv (Moscow Main Archive Department)

Even at the stage of preparation, the Main Exhibition Committee of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition received about 250 thousand applications from potential participants. As a result, 15 059 collective enterprises, 11 004 collective farms, 208 machine and tractor stations, 795 state farms and more than 155 thousand people were selected as participants.

The opening ceremony of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition took place on August 1, 1939. More than 10 thousand people took part in it, and the head of the Soviet government, Vyacheslav Molotov, cut the symbolic ribbon. The exposition lasted 86 days and was closed to visitors on October 25. During this time, more than three million people visited it. The following year, in five months, 4.5 million people visited the exhibition.

Due to the war, the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition was closed and opened only on August 1, 1954. And in 1957, the All-Union Industrial Exhibition was opened at this site.

Then, on May 28, 1958, it was decided to combine the All-Union industrial, agricultural and construction exhibitions into one Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR. This is how VDNKh appeared in 1959.


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