Gorky Park / Neskuchny Garden / Muzeon
Perhaps Gorky Park is the most famous park in the center of Moscow with an amazing history and very various filling: from walks and sports to bars and concert sites. This is a very popular place among young people, lovers and families for leisure activities. The park is located on the embankment of the Moscow River with breathtaking overlooking the Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation.
There are many places for outdoor activities: bicycle paths, beach volleyball, table tennis, dance floors with various music, boat and catamarans rentals and on the pond and etc. It is also a location of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art – the first in Russia philanthropic organization aimed at the development of modern art and culture, where various exhibitions and events related to art are held. As well to the territory of the park adjoins Neskuchny garden – monument of Moscow landscape art. Additionally, right here you will find the largest museum of sculptures in the open air.
Until the 18th century the place that now occupied by the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure was located outside of the Moscow city. From the 17th century until the beginning of the 20th there were gentry’s manors in one part of the locality and a municipal dump from the other side, where it was officially allowed to throw out the garbage.
The first version of the Central Park of Culture and Leisure opened in 1928. The main objective of the park was an organization of leisure workers and farmers, to show the people that the Soviets are able not only to destroy, but to create something nice for people. At that time there was no such place anywhere in the world – exhibition pavilions of agricultural products collected from all over the Soviet Union, tennis courts, swimming pool and attractions for children. It was a paradise for Soviet people who had suffered so much.
The first Nation Observatory was installed on the territory of the Park of Culture and Leisure in 1957. It was equipped with a 5-inch Zeiss refractor telescope. Everyone could come to see the stars, make a wish or present to beloved girl a star. In the period of Perestroika the Observatory fell into disrepair and was closed to visitors for more than twenty years, like many others pavilions in the park. In the fall of 2012, it reopened. Now here is a new powerful telescope and an automatic sliding dome that rotates 360 degrees.
Throughout the time the park was always changing, developing and enhanced with new features. For example by the Summer Olympics in 1980 a new musical fountain is being built. Gorky Park has always been a favorite place for Muscovites for walking and amusement. Even in the period of Perestroika (beginning of 90th), when the park began to decline, it still remained a favorite place for Russians and tourists.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, began dismantling monuments to Soviet leaders and officials who were to blame for the repression of innocent Soviet citizens. For example, a monument to Dzerzhinsky (founder of the KGB) was demolished. Plus there were also many banned sculptures stored in warehouses during the Soviet period due to strict censorship. Then the Moscow authorities decided to set a museum of sculptures on the open air and display more than 700 expositions Muzeon. In 2015 the Art Park Muzeon (Museon) became an integral part of Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure.
In 2011, with the arrival of the new leadership of the park, it begins to transform, talent of people and huge investments once again turned it into a grandiose place of culture and recreation.
Tips & tricks
You will have to walk a lot to see all the wonders of this park, so in detail check the map on official website, determine in advance what you would like to see and don’t forget to put on comfortable shoes.
Recommended to visit the observatory, walk along the embankment and Neskuchny garden, watch the singing fountains show and ride a catamaran in a pond. For art lovers and history it is probably worth to visit the exhibition in the Garage Museum of Modern Art or to walk around the biggest open-air museum of sculptures – Muzeon.
Nowadays park divided on three parts: Central Park of Culture and Leisure (Parterre), Muzeon and Neskuchny garden. Between the first two parts you will see the road which abuts into the Crimean Bridge – the most picturesque bridge in Moscow, built in the period of Stalin’s rule and which impresses tourists from all over the world with its unusual design.
There is also a pier on the Pushkinskaya Embankment, which is located in Gorky Park, from where the river tram starts their mini cruise around the Moscow. Take into consideration that river navigation from this pier works only in a warm period, starts from April (sometimes a little earlier) and until October. Winter river walks are available only from the piers: «Ukraine Hotel» and «Moscow City». You could buy a ticket for excursion and entertainment cruises along the Moskva River on official web-site of The Radisson Royal Flotilla – http://www.radisson-cruise.ru/index_en.php.
From December to February (there could be changes depending on climatic conditions) the large area of the park is filled with ice rink. Here you can rent skates and skate through the scenic spots for a small fee ($4-6).
Nowadays, the Sparrow Hills officially belong to the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, do not be embarrassed by this, but this locality is in a completely different place.