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The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters refers to seven skyscrapers in Moscow, Russia, that were built during the final years that Joseph Stalin was in power (1947-1953). These seven buildings stand out as different from their surroundings with their very distinctive style of architecture taken from a combination of Gothic and Russian Baroque styles and using the early twentieth century technology of American skyscrapers in their construction.

The Moscow State University was constructed mainly using manual labor provided by German prisoners of war, with the workforce reaching a total of 14,290 at one stage. The inauguration of the main tower took place on 1 September 1953. At 240 meters tall, the Moscow State University was the tallest building in Europe and remains the tallest educational building in the world.

Hotel Ukraina, at 198 meters and with 34 levels, is the second tallest of the Seven Sisters, and is still the tallest hotel in Europe. With the hotel being built so close to a river the foundations had to be dug below water level, the problem of water seepage into the foundations was solved with the use of needle pumps driven into the ground around the perimeter of the building.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building is 172 meters tall with 27 floors. The original proposal was for a blunt rectangular top to the building, but toward the end of the construction a metal spire was added to the tower’s roof giving the completed building a similar silhouette to the other Sisters.

The Hotel Leningradskaya is 136 meters tall with 26 floors. The lobby of the hotel is the picture of opulence with gold plated accessories, hand-carved wooden ceiling, bronze statues, black granite pillars and glittering chandeliers. An agreement was signed in 2006 with Hilton International to reconstruct and restore the Hotel Leningradskaya to its former glory. The reopening is scheduled for March 2008.

The Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building with a height of 176 meters is located at the confluence of the Yauza and Moskva River. The building was originally intended to be an elite housing project. Soon after construction, however, the units were converted into multi-family communal apartments.

The Kudrinskaya Square Building stands at 156 meters and 22 floors high and with two 18 floor apartment blocks on either side. The first floor houses numerous grocery stores and a 600-seat cinema, with a large public square and gardens in the front of the building.

The Red Gates Administrative Building reaches a height of 133 meters and has 24 levels with a slim tower in the middle. This multi-purpose building is unmistakably one of the Seven Sisters.

When you travel to Russia, be sure to take time to visit the Seven Sisters that have been instrumental in shaping the skyline of the fascinating city of Moscow.


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