Luzhniki, Cosmos, Intourist: Seven Olympic locations in Moscow

July 22

The opening ceremony for the Moscow Summer Olympics was held 40 years ago, in 1980. Athletes from 81 countries took part in the Olympic flame lighting ceremony as well as in the sports competitions that ran from 19 July through 3 August. To mark the anniversary, the Moscow Committee for Tourism has prepared a collection of sites where the Olympic spirit is still alive.

Olympic Village and Cosmos Hotel

Over 5,000 athletes participated in the Moscow Olympics. The Olympic Village was built in the western part of Moscow to accomodate them. It consisted of 18 residential buildings and also had eight kindergartens and schools. Muscovites moved in after the athletes left.

The Cosmos Hotel, on Prospekt Mira, was also built to accommodate foreign guests. It was one of four first Soviet hotels in the De Lux category and international class. It served as a Press Centre during the Olympic Games and after that functioned as a hotel and a venue for major international and national events.

Food Store on Tverskaya Street

Moscow met the Olympic torch from Athens at the Minsk and Mozhaisk motorway interchange a day before the official opening. The Olympic symbol was left overnight in the Moscow City Council building at 13, Tverskaya Street.

And Food Store No. 1, also known as Yeliseyevsky (the official name now), was a few blocks up the street. During the Olympics it became Moscow’s “historical” grocery store. Moscow residents saw Fanta, chewing gum from the Rot Front factory, fruit juices in cartons with straws, Finnish jams and cheese spreads, ketchup, salami and cervelat sausage slices and disposable plastic dinnerware there for the first time.

Yeliseyevsky has kept its beautiful historical looks to this day and the interior never fails to impress both locals and tourists.

Фото: Максим Денисов

Zholtovsky Building

The building at 13 Mokhovaya Street was designed by architect Ivan Zholtovsky as a residential building. However, after the Soviet Union and the United States established diplomatic relations the new building was provided to the US Embassy. Later it housed the Intourist agency — the only state-run travel agency that engaged in the accommodation of foreign tourists and sports delegations.

It was Intourist that first requested that bus stops be announced in both Russian and English for the first time in 1980. Intourist worked out 56 tourist routes especially for Olympic guests, which, according to official data, was 211,300 people. Escort interpreters helped foreigners find their bearings.

Manezhnaya Square as starting point

Manezhnaya Square was used as a parking lot for tourist and national team buses during the Olympics. It also served as the starting point for sightseeing tours.

Today Manezhnaya Square is the site of a Europe’s largest underground mall with shops, restaurants and cafes, built to mark the 850th anniversary of Moscow.

Фото: Максим Денисов

Krylatskoye Sports Complex Velodrome

Several sports facilities, including an indoor velodrome, where cyclists set 13 world records during the two week competitions, were constructed in Krylatskoye District for the Olympics. A cycling circuit and an archery stadium were opened there as well.

Krylatskoye Rowing Canal hosted rowing and canoeing competitions. Krylatskoye district is still popular with recreational athletes today.

Фото: Максим Денисов

Luzhniki Sports Complex

Most Moscow Olympic events took place at the Central Lenin Stadium (currently Luzhniki Olympic Complex). It underwent major renovation before the Olympics and a new Druzhba (Friendship) Multipurpose Arena was opened on the grounds for volleyball matches and spectators.

The Olympic Games opening ceremony was held in the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium on 19 July  1980. Three-time Olympic champion in the triple jump, Viktor Saneyev, carried the Olympic flame to the stadium, and basketball player and 1972 Olympic champion, Sergei Belov, lit the fire in the special bowl. Cosmonauts Leonid Popov and Valery Ryumin addressed participants and spectators while orbiting in space.

Two weeks later Central Lenin Stadium was the venue of the closing ceremony, where the song “Goodbye, Moscow!” by composer Alexandra Pakhmutova and poet Alexander Dobronravov was played for the first time and Misha, the Olympic mascot, took to the skies by hotair balloon.

Today, an alley of sports glory stretches from the entry to Luzhniki to the Moskva River embankment. The alley has become home to the Olympic’s Misha and the same Olympic cauldron, as well as monuments to Eduard Streltsov, a Moscow Torpedo football club forward, Lev Yashin, the legendary Dinamo goalkeeper and Nikolai Starostin, also an outstanding football player and founder of Spartak sports club.

Luzhniki Sports Complex was completely rebuilt in recent years. It was largely renovated for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


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