Moscow City is a multifunctional complex in the west of Moscow, which has come to represent the booming business of Russia’s capital. Its skyscrapers enrich Moscow’s skyline, contrasting the medieval cupolas and Stalinist high-rises. Visitors to Moscow City can enjoy entertainment high in the sky, as the complex is home not just to offices, but to restaurants, cinemas, viewing platforms, and museums.
Moscow City was first conceived in 1991 by honoured Soviet architect Boris Tkhor, who proposed to construct a business center in Moscow. It would be complete with gleaming skyscrapers rivalling those of New York and London, to reflect the new life and growing ambitions of post-Soviet Russia.
The chosen site was a stone quarry and disused industrial zone in western Moscow, in between the Third Ring Road and Moskva River. Initially, the territory was divided into 20 sections arranged in a horseshoe shape around a central zone. The skyscrapers would increase in height as they spiralled around the central section, with shorter structures built on the waterfront to give the taller buildings behind a view of the river.
Architect Gennady Sirota, who contributed to iconic projects such as the Olympic Sports Complex on Prospekt Mira, was selected as the chief architect, and many other world-famous architects were attracted to Moscow to realise their visions in Moscow City.
Where Moscow’s cityscape was once dominated by Stalin’s Seven Sisters skyscrapers, this is no more. Moscow City is home to eight of Russia’s ten tallest buildings, six of which exceed 300 metres in height. More buildings are still under construction there today, including the One Tower (which will be Europe’s second-tallest building). Once completed, Moscow City will comprise more than 20 innovative structures.
Each of Moscow City’s skyscrapers was designed by its own architect, lending the cluster of skyscrapers a unique appearance. Aside from being a site of architectural wonder, Moscow City is a place for leisure and entertainment with over 100 cafes and restaurants, exhibition spaces, cinemas, viewing platforms, and more.
The East Federation Tower is the tallest building in Moscow, and the second-tallest building in Europe after the Lakhta Centre in St Petersburg. Visitors can enjoy a luxurious meal of seafood, truffles or steak at restaurant ‘Sixty’ on the 62nd floor of the West Tower, or visit Europe’s highest observation deck, ‘Panorama 360’, on the 89th floor of the East Tower.
Did you know? The ice cream and chocolate shop on the 360 observation deck are the highest in the world!
The South OKO Tower is the third-tallest building in Russia and Europe. Here, you can visit ‘Ruski’ to dine on hearty Russian cuisine cooked on a real Russian stove, and have a drink in the ice bar. Alternatively, visit restaurant, nightclub and performance space ‘Birds’; the restaurant is the highest in Europe, situated on the 86th floor roof terrace alongside an observation deck. The OKO Towers are also home to karaoke club ‘City Voice’.
Did you know? Underneath OKO Towers is the largest underground parking in Europe, with 16 levels and 3,400 parking spaces.
Another multifunctional skyscraper, which was designed as the first truly ‘green’ building in Moscow. The Mercury Tower has a distinct geometric shape and copper-coloured glazing, and was the tallest building in Europe upon completion. Visit ‘More i myaso’ (Sea and meat) on the first floor of the tower to enjoy European and Mediterranean cuisine whilst surrounded by greenery. On the 2nd and 40th floors a modern art gallery, the ‘ILONA-K artspace’, has just opened.
The unique geometric design of the City of Capitals towers resembles stacks of rotating blocks, and is rooted in Constructivism of the early Soviet period (many Soviet Constructivist buildings can be found in Moscow). Visitors to the Moscow Tower can enjoy a range of cuisines – traditional Italian dishes on the summer terrace of ‘Tutto Bene’, Panasian cuisine in the tropical luxury of the ‘Bamboo Bar’ on the 1st floor’, and poke or smoothie bowls at ‘Soul in the Bowl’ cafe on the 80th floor.
After completion, the Tower on the Embankment was the tallest building in Europe, and is now the 13th tallest. It houses the headquarters of several large Russian and international companies, including IBM and KPMG. There are two cafes located on the 1st floor of Tower C – self-service café ‘Obed Bufet’ (Lunch Buffet) and Bakery Chain ‘Khleb Nasushchny’ (Daily Bread).
Evolution is Moscow City’s most recognisable tower, and the 11th tallest building in Russia. Its façade is a true architectural marvel, comprising continuous strips of curved glazing spiralling high into the sky. According to the architect, Philip Nikandrov, the spiral shape of the tower honours centuries of architectural design in Russia, from the onion domes of St Basil's Cathedral to Vladimir Shukhov’s Tatlin Tower, a masterpiece of Constructivist design. Outside the Evolution tower is a landscaped terrace and pedestrian zone descending to the Presnenskaya Embankment, which was also designed by Nikandrov.
Did you know? Moscow’s largest wedding palace was supposed to be built on the site of the Evolution tower, though the project was abandoned.
Imperia’s interesting design has a curved roof and an arched glass façade. Inside the tower are various cafes including ‘City Friends’ for all-day breakfasts and light lunches, ‘Mama in the City’ for simple meals of Russian cuisine, and ‘abc kitchen’ for European and Indian-inspired dishes. Alternatively, visit ‘High Bar’ on the 56th floor for cocktails with a view. In Imperia you’ll also find the Museum of High-Rise Construction in Moscow (suitably located on the 56th floor), and the Camera Immersive Theatre.
Did you know? Inside Vystavochnaya metro station is the Metro Museum, dedicated to the history of the beautiful Moscow Metro!
Tower 2000 was Moscow City’s first tower. It stands on the opposite bank of the Moskva River, and houses a viewing platform from which visitors can admire an unparalleled panorama of Moscow City. The Bagration Bridge reaches across the river from the tower to Moscow City, and underneath are piers from where you can take boat trips.
Afimall is Moscow’s largest entertainment and shopping complex, home to 450 shops, cafes and restaurants, a cinema, and a virtual-reality game park. The shopping centre is located in the central section of Moscow City, and a cinema and concert hall are currently under construction there.
Sechenov Botanical Gardens: The botanical gardens of the First Moscow State Medical University was created for students’ training and research in 1946. Today it is open for free visits, and is home to a large arboretum.
Park Krasnaya Presnya: This park belonged to the Studenets estate of the Gagarin princes. It is a monument of 18th and 19th century landscaping, with Dutch ponds, ornate bridges, and tree-lined alleys. There are also sports facilities, sports equipment rental, and cafes.
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