Winter Kremlin and VDNKh in early 1940s: Capital’s retro photo on Moscow Museums Online portal

September 3

Moscow Museums Online encourages internet users to go back in time with images of Moscow from old postcards, magazines published in the early and mid-20th century and image galleries of the past decades. The portal directory includes original exhibitions on fashion, architecture and culture as well as the city’s everyday life.

As Moscow’s anniversary approaches, Moscow Museums Online offers internet users an opportunity to review retro photographs, vintage postcards and tour virtual exhibitions that will take them back in time by several decades to discover Moscow of the past. Those who are too young to have seen those times first hand are expected to enjoy visiting Moscow’s past. And those who still remember the eras captured by photos and artists will get a chance to compare their memories with the original works of art,” commented Sergei Shakryl, the curator of cultural and business IT projects at Moscow’s Department of Information Technology.

Half a century in photos

One of the noteworthy online exhibits by the Museum of Moscow is Our Very Own Retro. This is a saga about Moscow by photographer Mikhail Dashevsky. His non-staged sketches from everyday life follow the capital’s history and residents throughout almost 50 years. These photos take us back to observe the slow-paced 1950s life in the alleys near Solyanka Street, Old Arbat and Sretenka Street; they take us for a stroll on Trubnaya Square and along Lubyansky Proyezd, and to a 1960s night café. Viewers will see the old women and rock musicians who frequented Old Arbat in the 1980s, and watch an impromptu concert in a metro underpass in the early 1990s.

Courtesy of the Museum of Moscow

Another remarkable exhibition is the Fashion Museum’s Noisy Moscow Streets. It is a retrospective exhibition looking back on the urban fashion in three different eras, the late 19th ‒ early 20th centuries, the 1920s‒1940s and the 1950s‒1970s. People will learn about the evolution and transformation of big city fashion, including everyday and leisure looks. The exhibition offers a detailed review of Moscow’s urban fashion history, with an extensive collection of vintage clothing.

Retro style Red Square and Tverskaya Street  

The Moscow Museums Online portal boasts a remarkable collection of retro photos dedicated to Red Square, the heart of the capital. The images of the country’s main square capture various landmark events that became symbols of certain eras: people queuing to visit the Lenin Mausoleum in 1947 or the Athletes Parade in 1936. There are numerous photographic sketches, with Red Square captured at sunset or on a cloudy day, and a winter Kremlin.

One curious exhibit is a picture of Red Square depicted in ink from 1919 by Dmitry Sukhov, the chief restoration architect of the Moscow Kremlin monuments, artist, teacher and designer of numerous graphic reconstructions of famous landmarks, protector of the Russian historical and cultural legacy.

Sunset on Red Square. Photo by Boris Kosarev. 1950s–1960s. Courtesy of the Museum of Moscow

The Museum of Moscow has photos of Tverskaya Street (Gorky Street between 1932 and 1990) from different years among its online exhibits. One of the photos shows the street’s renovation in 1938, another is a day in June 1961. One more image features the Savvinskoye Metochion in Tverskaya Street built in 1907 by architect Ivan Kuznetsov on the property of the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery as a commercial office and hotel building.

The retro photos showcase the aerial view of Belorussky Railway Station in the late 1960s, the legendary Yeliseev Shop in the 1930s, the National Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) in the early 1940s, Lomonosov Moscow State University in the mid-20th century, Luzhniki and a ski jump at Vorobyovy Gory in the late 1950s.

The Savvinskoye Metochion in Tverskaya Street. Built on the property of the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery as a commercial office and hotel building (1907, designed by architect Ivan Kuznetsov). The metochion directly faced Gorky Street (now Tverskaya Street) until 1937. Photo by Emmanuil Yevzerikhin. Late 1930s. Courtesy of the Museum of Moscow.

Moscow through postcards

Vintage postcards with picturesque views of Moscow deserve a special mention. The online catalogue contains postcards from different years featuring Vetoshny Ryad Street, Malaya Dmitrovka Street, Vozdvizhenka Street, Kursky Railway Station, Strastnoi Monastery, Varvarka Street, the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin and the Sandunov Baths in Neglinny Proyezd (now Neglinnaya Street).

One postcard in the catalogue (the original exhibit is part of the collection of the Nikolai Gogol House and Museum) features Nikitsky Boulevard in the early 20th century with a good view of the Sheremetev-Katkov Mansion at 7 Nikitsky Boulevard. Nikolai Gogol moved to the mansion in December 1848 and lived there until his death. It was there that he burnt the second volume of Dead Souls.

Vetoshny Ryad Street as seen from Ilyinka Street. Postcard. 1990s. Courtesy of the Museum of Moscow

A colour postcard from the early 20th century features Imperial Moscow University (now Lomonosov Moscow State University). Founded in 1755 thanks to cooperation between Mikhail Lomonosov and Ivan Shuvalov, a highly educated nobleman and Empress Elizaveta Petrovna’s favourite, it was the first classical Russian university. As a result of Lomonosov’s and Shuvalov’s joint work, the decree on establishing Moscow University was drafted in July 1754 and approved by the ruling Senate on 19 July. The postcard itself is on display at the Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve.

The Moscow Museums Online is a virtual collection of Moscow Museum exhibits where users can browse the general directory for items of interest. The portal targets a wide audience. Its online directory can be used for study and research. There are currently 487 exhibitions and 62,400 exhibits on the website.

Malaya Dmitrovka Street. Postcard. 1900s. Courtesy of the Museum of Moscow

This year, City Day in Moscow will be marked on 5 and 6 September. At more than forty venues across the city, people will be able to play games, attend workout sessions, exhibitions, lectures and children’s workshops. A special Moscow history programme is also planned. Some 100 art objects will create a festive atmosphere at the venues. The festival theme will centre around museums.


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