In my 48 hours in Moscow Guide, I mentioned that I went on a tour and saw Stalin’s Seven Sisters. In this post, I will share some details on everything you need to know about the buildings.
What is “Stalin’s Seven Sisters”?
Stalin’s Seven Sisters are seven towering skyscrapers in Moscow. The buildings were the vision of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who had plans to make Moscow the “best city in the world in terms of architecture and comfort” after most buildings in the city were destroyed during World War II.
History Fact: Russia and its Western allies in World War II both tend to regard themselves as the country that defeated Hitler. Learn more.
With an increase of people in Russia’s capital city, the construction of the Seven Sisters was ideology-driven. Ornate facades, opulent interiors, huge columned porticos, spires and rich sculptured décor were intended to demonstrate the wealth of Russia – a place where people were incredibly privileged to live.
Where are Stalin’s Seven Sisters
Moscow State University, Sparrow Hills (Address: 1, Vorobyovy Gory Street)
Standing at a cloud-slicing 240 meters, this is the tallest of the Seven Sisters. Construction began in 1949 and the building was completed in 1953. The building has 36 floors and was able to house about 30,000 students, making it the largest building in Europe upon its inauguration on 1 September 1953 until 1990. Today the building is still used for student accommodation and offices. The university is right across Luzniki stadium (where the 2018 FIFA World Cup final was hosted).
Hotel Ukraina (Address: Block 1, 2/1, Kutuzovsky Avenue)
At 206 meters tall with 34 levels. Hotel Ukarina was built in 1953 and completed in 1957 where it was the largest hotel in Europe with the capacity of 1 630 people. In 2004 an observatory deck was opened and the hotel was purchased by Radisson Hotels in 2007 and major renovations were done to modernize the hotel which reopneed with a new name – ”Radisson Royal Hotel”. Erwin Restaurant inside Royal Radisson has amazing seafood.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (Address: Smolenskaya-Sennaya Pl., 32/34)
Construction for the ministry of foreign affairs building began in 1948 and the building was completed in 1953. At 172 meters high, these government offices were supposed to have 40 stories but ended up with 27 and a spire made with steel framing was added by Stalin’s personal orders.
The Leninsgradksaya Hotel – (Address: 21/40 Kalanchyovskaya Street)
Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having one of the largest chandeliers in the world. The 28-story building has an impressive ‘Gotham City’ feel to it. After major renovations, the hotel was purchased in 2018 by Hilton Hotels and, reopened with 273 guest rooms.
The Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, (Address: Kotelnicheskaya Nab., 1/15)
Where the Moskva River meets the Yauza River stands the 176 meter high Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building. Today this is an elite residential area with apartments worth millions of euros.
Kudrinskaya Square Building, (Address: Kudrinskaya Pl., 1)
Contructed between 1948 and 1954, the building was intended to house apartments for Soviet cultural leaders. But the 160 meter building ended up being used as a residential and commercial building by all people with restaurants, shops and cafes.
Red Gates Administrative Building – (Address: 21, Sadovaya-Spasskaya Street)
The is the smallest of the Seven Sisters stands at 133 meters with 24 levels. The building was constructed with its frame tilted to one side to compensate for the frozen soil below. When the soil thawed, the building settled down but not enough to make it perfectly upright.
Each building had its own underground bunker which could provide shelter to all residents in case of a surprise attack.
How to see Stalin’s Seven Sisters
I went on a guided tour and I highly recommend this option as the tour guide will know the quickest ways to get to the buildings and you will learn more and meet other people. Here are some options:
I also did a 2.5 hour FREE tour which stops at the following places:
- The old KGB building
- The Children’s world store
- House of Terror
- Stalin’s Empire
- Soviet Moscow
- Soviet architecture
- Stalin’s skyscrapers
Sign up: www.freetour.com
As a gesture of goodwill, Stalin sanctioned the erection of similar skyscrapers in the capitals of other countries in the USSR. Clones of the Sisters can be found in Warsaw (the Palace of Culture and Science), Prague (Hotel International), Bucharest (House of the Free Press), and Kiev (Hotel Ukraine).