Moscow Manege - View Outstanding Exhibitions

The Moscow Manège is a truly remarkable building situated right next to Manège Square. The square, which was cleared in the 1930s, takes its name from the Manège and is situated adjacent to Red Square. Many visitors are surprised to learn that a manège is an indoor riding academy – especially since few today would guess that this was the original use of this vast building.

The Moscow Manège was designed by Agustin de Bétancourt, a Spanish engineer who lent his unique skills to this astonishing project. What makes the Moscow Manège so unique is that this massive building has virtually no internal roof support. The roof rafters span a distance of 45 meters without any ground support whatsoever. The rafters rest on the external columns of the manège and so provide and open and uncluttered area in which the riders could work. The outside of the building was designed by Joseph Bové, a Russian architect who chose to use a Neoclassical façade with Roman Doric columns siding arch-headed windows. It is these columns which support the roof and thus they form both a functional and decorative purpose.

The structure was originally built and used as a traditional manège where horsemen could parade their skills. It also served as a training school for officers. Amazingly enough, the Moscow Manège was large enough to hold all two-thousand soldiers of a standard infantry regiment, as well as an audience. However the manège has long since ceased to be used for horses. In 1831 it was converted into an exhibition place and despite a short stint as an art gallery, this is still its main purpose.

Unfortunately the Moscow Manège caught fire in 2004 due to a short circuit. The building burnt out and the fire took the lives of two fire-fighters. The original wooden beams and rafters collapsed during the fire, leaving only the walls behind. Fortunately efforts to restore the Moscow Manège were successful and the exhibition hall was reopened with the exposition which it had been scheduled to hold on the day of the fire. Today visitors can enjoy not only the brilliant engineering and architecture but the stunning exhibitions which continue to be held here.


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