Last weekend I went on a business trip to Moscow. The city is amazing with this socialist architectural background covered by a capitalist layer. Colorful outdoors; flashy signs; neons; squared, heavy, and gray residential buildings; all known fast-food franchises; huge and impressive monuments; wide streets; non friendly (and corrupt) police; tourists all over; Cyrillic alphabet (which is graphically very beautiful); big malls; matrioska; very rich or very poor people; Audi & Mercedes versus Lada.
I had the opportunity to visit the Red Square, which was closed for the public, and after a 1 hour line I could visit Lenin’s mausoleum. It’s really worthwhile! The architecture is impressive, modern with black and red marble with strong personality and well defined lines; the ambient is dark, very lowlight compared with the outside, you can barely see when you enter; some non-smiling military officers guide you along a course and tell you to stay quiet; obviously no photos are allowed (in fact if you are carrying a camera or a mobile with camera you are not even allowed to enter!); and then here it is: Lenin’s body inside a glass box, perfectly preserved, with a very scenografic light only over his face and hands. To get the feeling you can take a virtual tour in Lenin’s Mausoleum website, which is really loyal to the real one.
I stayed at the Ukraina Hotel, which is one of the 7 big towers Stalin constructed in the 50’s with a unique architecture know as Stalin Classicism.
The hotel’s architecture and interior decoration is still perfectly preserved from its early years. It really gives you the feeling of the socialism period.