An estate, an airfield, a river terminal: Good walks in the Northern Administrative Area

September 25
Parks and pedestrian areas

Today’s Moscow parks that have been beautified under the My District programme offer various types of leisure activity. This article is on interesting places in the city’s northern districts.

Severny Rechnoy Vokzal Park

The Northern River Terminal (Severny Rechnoy Vokzal) opened in 1937 on the shore of the Khimki Reservoir that was created at the same time. The Stalin-era Empire station building was designed with a spire with a star and gems as well as proletarian sculptures. But earlier it had elements that were atypical of Stalin-era architecture: arched galleries with columns resembling the Doge's Palace in Venice and floral patterns in the rooms. A lot of stories are connected with the terminal: such Soviet films as Volga-Volga, Citizens, Domestic Circumstances and Vertical Race were shot there; thanks to this, people started calling Moscow the “port of five seas” because ships were able to sail from the Baltic, White, Azov, Black and Caspian seas via a new system of canals.

Architect Alexei Rukhlyadev’s concept was that the terminal would be a relaxation place as well as a transit hub for those who come to Moscow.

This idea was realised in a picturesque park with an axial composition: numerous paths converge on the main walkway in the centre. In 1999, the park received regional cultural heritage site status. The terminal itself was closed in 2010 because it was dilapidated.

In 2017, the building was given to the city, and preparations for renovation began. The work started in August 2018, and on City Day 2020 The Northern River Terminal or Severny Rechnoy Vokzal opened for its first visitors.

Anyone can sign in for a tour where they will learn about the terminal’s history and its most important architectural elements.

There is the iconic restaurant Volga-Volga in the building and bike rental near the main entrance of the park.

During the renovation, the historical architecture was preserved as much as possible while outdated infrastructure was renovated. A 400-metre-long stream, a model of the Moscow Canal with its gates, is one of the most interesting sites on the embankment. The model canal has the same system of pumps as the prototype to imitate the flow of water. A dry fountain covering over 110 sq m was installed in front of the main building square. At night the reservoirs are illuminated.

Two more fountains were restored in the park us the archived blueprints and photos. Playgrounds were built for children. The largest one, covering almost 900 sq m, is based on the film Volga-Volga: a multi-deck ship resembling the Sevryuga cruiser with stairs, climbing elements and tunnels in the centre. There is also a sand factory with a conveyor line and an excavator as well as a music zone with a xylophone and an aerophone at the playground. The playground area was initially designed by project creator Timofei Shafransky.

Another playground was built in the southern part of the park. It has six play areas covering 200 to 270 sq m with climbing complexes, swings resembling animals, a tiny train, a trampoline and an obstacle course.

There were plans to build a sportsground at the park in the 1930s, but it was only been now. Visitors can play streetball or table tennis, work out or play chess in the northern part of the park. There is a chess floor in the southern area, as well as an ice hockey rink covering over 1,150 sq m where local and city ice hockey tournaments will be held in winter and that will be used as a volleyball court in the summer. There will be multifunctional pavilion with a dressing room, equipment rental and a bathroom near the rink.

Druzhba Park

Another large green zone, Druzhba (Friendship) Park, can be found on the other side of the Leningradskoye Motorway from the Northern River Terminal.

The park’s name sounds inviting but it’s also symbolic. In 1957, the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students was held in Moscow, so it was decided to establish a park around Festivalnye Ponds to celebrate the friendship of nations and mark this event. The opening ceremony was attended by several thousand guests and foreign delegations, who planted trees together as a sign of agreement and collaboration.

A sculpture of a boy and a girl holding olive branches and releasing doves reminds visitors of Druzhba Park’s history. There are medallions symbolising the five continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australia, at the base of the statue.

Other monuments in the park include Children of Peace designed by Finnish sculptor Anti Neuvonen, a monument to mark Soviet-Hungarian friendship, the stela “For the Heroic Deed of the Soviet Union, Danish gratitude. 1941–1943,” as well as sculptures Bread and Fruitfulness designed by Vera Mukhina, the famous architect of the Worker and the Kolkhoz Woman sculpture at VDNKh.

After the beautification project in 2019, Druzhba Park was different and became more up to date. Now there are places for family recreation in addition to walking paths on bridges across Festivalnye Ponds and among the sculptures.

There is an entire city within the city at a children’s playground, with a huge ramp with rope towns, interactive training panels, swings, slides and climbing walls. Next to this there is a music zone with xylophones producing different notes and a mirror labyrinth where unusual photos can be taken. In addition, the park has a circular swing, where 20 people can swing at the same time, a workout area with horizontal bars, exercise equipment and tables for table tennis. The ponds’ embankments serve as a comfortable lounge area for those who enjoy more relaxing rest; there are large stone benches on the grass near the water, similar to elements in a Japanese Zen garden.

Levoberezhny Park

There is another large recreation zone in Levoberezhny District: Levoberezhny Park is located on the shore of the Khimki Reservoir, which could be called a city resort. It has all necessary beach infrastructure: lounges, wooden decks and summerhouses where people can lie down and have a sunbath, sun pergolas, dressing rooms, showers and a pavilion with a summer café and a picturesque observation point.

For active recreation, there is a large sand lot for football and volleyball in the park, as well as a workout area with sports equipment and a table for table tennis. There is an eco-style children’s playground near the beach that has wooden playing complexes: swings, balance beams, an obstacle course and hammocks. In the forest part of the recreation area, visitors can walk along paths, ride skateboards and scooters in the skatepark, or ride bicycles on the bike paths.

Khodynskoye Polye Park

Today one the best Moscow parks is located in Khodynskoye Polye, Khoroshevsky District, but not all visitors know its rich history. In the last century, the first airport in Moscow, the Frunze Central Airfield, opened here. This is where the first international flight in Russia, Moscow-Koenigsberg (Kaliningrad), started, before the war. Bombers flew to protect the Motherland from there during World War II and where they returned with the Victory Banner in 1945.

After the airfield was closed in 2003, there were plans to build an aviation museum there, but the locals were against it and asked for a park instead. It opened in 2018. Although flights became a thing of the past, the place preserves the memory of its air history. A lot of park elements support an aviation theme: there are artificial hills to look around, a long central walkway where a taxiway used to be, and trampolines and a play complex resembling an Il-18 Ilyushin plane at the largest children’s playground that looks like the sky with clouds and a rainbow.

There are other sights in Khodynskoye Polye Park such as a LED musical dry fountain covering over 700 sq m with 245 jets, a mirror labyrinth with pillars of various heights where amazing photos can be taken, as well as a circular swing for children and adults. There also are jogging and cycling paths in the green area, a skate park, workout areas and courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis and ping-pong, as well as a space to practice parkour elements. Children can enjoy a 24-metre-high double rope swing. Visitors can also walk their pets in the park; there is a special area for dogs in the northwestern part of the park with training equipment.

Svyatoslava Fyodorova Park

For many years it were a green zone of little significance in Beskudnikovo District, but after a comprehensive urbanisation in 2018, it turned into a most interesting local landmark.

There are four children’s zones in the northern part of the park connected by walkways and with a bicycle path around it. There are small slides, sandboxes and nest swings for the little ones as well as climbing complexes for older children. One of them is built to look like a ship with a rope swing. There are also two recreation zones with benches. At the heart of one such zone, there is a monument to ophthalmologist Svyatoslav Fyodorov after whom the park was named; he founded a world-class eye microsurgery clinic in the district. The design of the monument reminds visitors of the scientist's specialisation in an unusual way: flowerbeds resembling an eye have been planted around him with the bronze figure on a round pedestal looking like the pupil.

There are three workout areas in the park as well as a place to play basketball and an ice hockey rink that is used to play futsal in the summer, a skate park and a parkour zone. There also is a stage with a dance floor for local holidays and a beautiful LED dry fountain covering 192 sq m.

There are several interesting places in the southern part of the park as well, such as an umbrella walkway with unusual benches covered with glass shelters as well as a garden of aromas covering about 1,000 sq m where visitors can sit and enjoy the smells of the medicinal herbs that are planted there, such as lavender, sage, geranium and fennel. There are also three more playgrounds with a bicycle path around it.

Dubki Park

Dubki Park, a small area with an oak grove, is located between Dmitrovskoye Motorway and Timiryazevskaya Street.

In 2019, it underwent a comprehensive beautification remake and became more modern. The embankment of the large and small ponds was cleaned and the rotunda and the colonnade rebuilt. There are three children’s playgrounds in the park, as well as several workout zones, a tennis court and an ice hockey rink with stalls.

Vagonoremont Park

Vagonoremont Park (Veteran Park is the second historical name) is located at the heart of the Dmitrovsky District, between Sofyii Kovalevskoy, Angarskaya and Lobnenskaya streets. This recreation zone was established in the 1960s and received its name from the village and factory that used to be there.

In the last few years the park needed comprehensive beautification and greening. It was necessary to renovate the walking paths, replace benches and streetlamps and create new functional areas for recreation and sports.

The park underwent beautification in 2018 considering the locals’ opinions. The place was popular among the elderly, so it was decided to build a modern chess pavilion and a small summerhouse with a stage to hold dance events. Moreover, at the locals’ request, experts recreated the original appearance of the park entrance: the column design imitates familiar brickwork and the top of the arch is made of larch. There is another entrance to the park from Sofyii Kovalevskoy Street.

Visitors can relax on benches or a clearing with street chairs. Fitness enthusiasts will find bodybuilding equipment and ping-pong tables. There is also a special children’s playground with a cradle swing, a large sandbox, balance beams and climbing structures. Visitors can also take pets to the park: there is a dog walking area.

Grachyovsky Park

At the end of the 19th century, the Grachyov Estate with its park was a popular recreation place among the Moscow intelligentsia. Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Vladimir Gilyarovsky used to visit, and artist Kirill Lemokh painted in the main house.

Back at the time of Mitrofan Grachyov, the estate prospered. High officials and cultural activists used to go there to relax. However, in 1918, after the revolution, the Grachyov family was forced to leave the estate, and a workers’ faculty for the Petrovskaya Agricultural Academy used the house.

Attempts to resurrect the damaged park have been made since 1960. In 1975, a monument to the defenders of Moscow, the only sculpture in the city placed right over a burial place, was installed. There was a small flat square with benches and bins in front of the monument.

The large comprehensive beautification project began in 2017. It covers 10.5 ha. The easiest way to get there is to take a bus from Khovrino metro station: a 20 minute ride.

The main entrance to the park has stairways with metallic rails for comfort and safety. There is a network of paths in the park. They go around trees smoothly to summerhouses. Cyclists can ride along an open lane that is almost a kilometre long.

Specially organised gazebos, comfortable wooden benches and antique-style rotundas are best for relaxation. There is a bin near every bench. At night the paths are illuminated by 240 streetlamps to make visitors feel safe.

The southern part of the park next to Klinskaya Street is designed especially for sports and active recreation with children. For children from 1 year old and teens up to 15 years old, two playgrounds covering over 1,000 sq m in total were created in Grachyovsky Park. Little children will be able to have fun in the sandbox and on swings and slides. Older ones will like climbing playgrounds and balance beams. A sportsground in the centre of the park where visitors can play futsal and basketball is suitable for active family recreation. And if visitors decide to have a real competition, there will even be a place for spectators: comfortable stands with shelter are installed around the perimeter.

There also is space for open-air bodybuilding in the park. Street fitness equipment is located next to the football pitch. There are instructions on how to use it, a list of possible exercises and safety rules on each piece.

After the beautification, a dog walking area (1,623 sq m) was renovated in the park. A large amount of training equipment is installed in the designated area, such as barriers, seesaws, slides, towers, rings, springboards and a maze.

Ducks live in a pond that remained from the Likhoborka River. Visitors can feed them from the bank.

Mikhalkovo Estate Park

In 2017, Mikhalkovo Estate was beautified and greened. The last renovation of this federal cultural heritage site took place in the 1970s near Golovinskiye Ponds.

The renovation of this natural and historical complex continued in 2015.

The crossing to Golovinsky Pond, divided by a dam, had not been repaired for a long time, so the bank had crumbled and the shape of the reservoirs changed; they became dirty and overgrown with waterweed. Experts had to drain the water, clean the sludge and strengthen the banks to put the area in order.

Two summerhouses, a front gate, wings, buildings and the estate fence were renovated, and houses for swimming birds were erected on Maly Golovinsky Pond.

There are five workout zones in the park. Visitors can play volleyball or badminton. There are playgrounds for children of different ages. Cyclists can ride along a 3.5-km-long lane.

The park is lit to walk safely at night.

Although oaks, lindens, Norway and boxelder maple, decorative apple trees and birches, barberry and snowberry grow there, another 240 trees and 3,646 shrubs were planted during the beautification project, and new grass and flowerbeds were created.

Source: mos.ru

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