Guided tour around Dynamo area

On Tuesday 21st of May 2013 a lively crowd gathered near Dynamo metro station. All these people (more than 60) with cameras were definitely partial to local lore. Metro stop became the starting point of the journey guided by Denis Romodin –popular blogger, expert in Moscow Studies and also the founder of several web sites such as and . The event was arranged in the frame of the competition dedicated to the concept design of Dynamo park and held upon an initiative of VTB Arena park executives.

Denis Romodin spent a whole pleasant evening through by telling stories about Petrovsky Park, a wonderful place in Moscow which in a remarkable manner is always lived up to the spirit of the age, about survived buildings once stood here and made former landscape of the area. He also mentioned that some parts of the park evolved lately into Dynamo park. The pinnacle of his narration was life stories about ordinary people who lived here, enjoyed their free time, rejoiced, roistered and since the beginning of the 20th century passionately engaged themselves in sports activities.

The first sightseeing on the route was Petrovsky Palace architectural ensemble. Staying right against of the openwork fence Denis went on with painting in glaring colors the history of the Palace starting from its construction by Matvey Kozakov under Catherine the Great’s rule. He adverted to some pivotal moments of our history such as Napoleon’s invasion who had chosen this place as headquarters of the French army. It has not escaped his notice of modern renovation of the Palace and its metamorphosis into a reception house.

Denis constantly poured forth citations, memorable quotes out of the past. Among them there was the quotation of Mikhail Lermontov who used to stay in the Palace once in a while: “As usual I experienced warm welcome by locals and I’m having fun … By breathing fresh air of this place I managed to put up a couple of kilos”. Nowadays the Palace faces Leningradsky prospekt, but the air isn’t anything like it used to be.

The next point of destination was Petrovsky park itself particularly the area where construction commencement of “dachas” started upon Nicholas the First rule. Denis retraced the history of the Park: its gradual tuning into swanky countryside for Moscow elite where they could promenade, kind of housing they got used to and what kind of morals prevailed at that time.

He didn’t lose sight of the fact that during the post-revolutionary years for the first time in history this peace and harmony period has come to an end: at the dawn of the Red Terror Petrovsky Park was a place for mass public executions of hostages from among imperial officials.

One of the most interesting points of the route was a stop next to the buildings of the former well-known places of entertainment of the Petrovsky Park: “Eldorado”, “Mauritania” and “Apollo.” While telling about this place Denis referred to not only the architectural features of the restaurants, in particular, well-preserved building of “Eldorado” designed by the famous architect Lev Kekushev, but also of predominate swashbuckling manners and customs. He frequently punctuated his narrative by vivid excerpts from various “chronicles” of the time of cheerful affrays caused by merchants and nobles.

Afterwards the group left for another noted building of Petrovsky park which today tangibly altered. Villa “Black Swan” of Nikolay Ryabushinsky is the construction much talked about, there were a lot of speculations on the subject back then. Its owner was able to shock the society which was hungry for gossip: so rumors had it that interior in “Black Swan” was luxurious and exotic, incredible evening parties Nikolay gave which he was famous for. Aftermaths of his dubious glory are still palpable.

At this moment Denis pointed at the Cathedral of the Annunciation located across the street and continued the story about busy traffic which was permitted in Petrovsky park alleys for the first time ever. At the very beginning of the 20thcentury driving club emerged with all that it entails – different incidents, public outcries and subsequent prohibition against traffic which lasted up to the revolution.

Nonetheless as early as 1920s roads were covered with asphalt which can’t but split the park into separate areas. In fact it bespoke cessation of existence of the large Petrovsky park.

Visitors learned about the recent history of the building next to the park – through the example of an ambitious project invented and partially implemented by architect Shulgin in 1990s. This building with turrets allegedly echoing the architectural concepts of Petrovsky Palace.

On return to Dynamo stadium, to the Sports park the members of the group heard about the circumstances that broached sports subject in this part of the park. It turns out that as far back as pre-revolutionary period there were ski and bike rider clubs. Revolution only evolved this trend and speeded up the process. Excursion was followed by the story of Dynamo stadium construction as per design of Lazarus Cherikover, its structural adjustments and the emergence of Sports park project and its further layout and structural changes of the park due to the opening of the subway station, the emergence of covered pavilions, the 1980th Olympics Games arrangements.

At the park alley of fountains visitors saw the remnants of the former luxury – fragments made for the Olympics fountain decorated with mosaics.

The last point of the route was the newest construction that was erected in the park – a monument to Lev Yashin. The excursion ended in discussing prospects – what lying ahead for this green area.

And plans are really ambitious: to create a human-friendly environment, to return former comfort to the area and the glory for Dynamo Sports park. These intentions became the reason of announcement of park reconstruction competition in quest of the best architectural concepts.

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