If there is a park loved by Muscovites, it is Gorky Park, the most visited in Moscow, given its centric location. In this article, we will make a journey from start to finish through the 4 areas that make up this park, located next to the Moskva river.
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0. Gorky Park, the most visited by Muscovites
I had long wanted to write an article about Gorky Park, but never found the time till now.
The truth is that Moscow is a capital with beautiful green parks, such as Zaryadye, VDNKh, Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno, Sokolniki, Ostankino o Izmailovsky.
But if there is a park loved by Muscovites, it is the Gorky Park, since it combines nature with a centric location, making it the most visited park in the city. In the same way as Central Park in New York
It is an urban park along the Moskva River, and it is located in a fairly central area of the city, around 2 kilometers south of Red Square.
The official name of the park is Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, though it is usually briefly known as Gorky Park. The park is named after the Soviet writer Maxim Gorky, founder of the literary movement of socialist realism and nominated five times for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1936. If you visit Lenin’s Mausoleum, you will be able to see his grave in the necropolis of the Kremlin wall. In the park, there is a monument dedicated
The park opened in 1928 and it is the work of the constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov. In 2011, it underwent intensive renovations since it was severely deteriorated. You can stroll through its 220 hectares, and enjoy its gardens, lagoons, recreation areas, sports spaces, museums, restaurants, etc.
The 4 areas of Gorky Park
Currently, Gorky Park is divided into 4 areas, divided from north to south, each of which has a unique meaning:
- Muzeon. Located in the northern area, it is a free open-air museum with more than 1,000 Soviet sculptures, removed from parks and squares across Russia after the collapse of communism.
- Parterre. This is the main part of the park, inaugurated in 1928, which originated from the agricultural exhibition that was held in its area after the Russian revolution.
- Neskuchny Garden. Located in the middle part, it is the most historical park area with monuments worth visiting.
- Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrows Hill). A beautiful nature reserve with a hill next to the Moskva river from which you can have one of the best views of the city.
Walking through this park from start to finish, along the Moskva River, can take several hours. You can also rent a bike to get around it faster through Velobike, the city’s municipal bike rental service, or through some of the park’s bike rental stands.
In this link you will find a map of the park: https://park-gorkogo.com/map
On the following map you can see the 4 areas into which the park is divided:
How to get to Gorky Park
Depending on which park area you want to visit, you will have to stop at one metro station or another. The two closest Metro stops to the park’s main entrance are Park Kultury and Oktyabrskaya, though the park has 26 different entrances.
You can visit Gorky Park in the afternoon, after visiting one of the tourist attractions in the city center, such as the Tretyakov Gallery, which is very close to this park or the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
In fact, I recommend a visit to this park on my 5-day route through Moscow to see the essentials of the city.
The entrance to Gorky Park is free and in it you can relax in its green areas, or take a boat trip on the Moskva river.
Restaurants in Gorky Park
Throughout the park you will find around 20 restaurants, as well as diverse mobile food stalls. I would highlight the following:
Some curiosities about Gorky Park
In the cinematographic field, Gorky Park is not like Central Park in New York, but some films have been shot, including the American thriller Gorky Park (1983), based on the novel of the same name by Martin Cruz Smith, or the American spy film Red Sparrow (2018). The park also appears or is mentioned in more current series, such as the spy series The Americans (2013-2018) or House of Cards (2013-2018).
In the musical sphere, the park is mentioned in the famous song Wind of Change by Scorpions, in light of the social and political changes that were taking place in Eastern Europe in the 90’s. There was also a Russian music band with the park’s name.
I am sure that you are already wanting to visit Gorky Park, so let’s make a tour from north to south, highlighting the most relevant parts of this extensive park.
1. Muzeon Art Park
I recommend beginning the tour on the northern part, which covers approximately from the monument to Peter I the Great to the Krimsky bridge.
This tour begins with the pedestrian area of the Krymskaya embankment, at the height of the monument to Peter I the Great. This 98-meter-high monument, made of bronze, steel and copper, was built in 1997 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Russian Fleet and 850 years of Moscow.
The monument is the work of the Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. Some news published in Russian media pointed out that this monument was a revised and modified statue of Columbus, which Tsereteli had tried unsuccessfully to sell to the United States, Spain and Latin American countries in 1991 – 1992, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. Tsereteli denied these rumors. In 2017 a sculpture of Christopher Columbus was inaugurated in Puerto Rico, which Tsereteli had made in 1991.
Once you pass through this controversial monument, you can head to the Muzeon Art Park. It is a park in which numerous statues from the Soviet era rest, removed from parks and squares across Russia after the collapse of communism.
This park has been accumulating monuments since 1992, and its collection comprises more than 1,000 sculptures, including some notable pieces by Vera Mukhina, Ivan Shadr, Yevgeny Vuchetich, Yevgeny Chubarov, and other contemporary sculptors.
Among all the sculptures, it is worth mentioning a huge steel sculpture from the Soviet world, many giant Lenin sculptures without pedestals, a sculpture of Stalin without a nose or various monuments of the Red Army.
- Website: http://www.park-gorkogo.com/en/muzeon
- Free access outdoor space
The park is open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., while the Krymskaya embankment
The park is located right next to the New Tretyakov Gallery, which was administratively merged with the State Tretyakov Gallery in 1985. In this museum you can see exhibitions of Russian contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries, with pieces by Kandinsky, Chagal or Malevich. You will find detailed information in this article: Tretyakov State Gallery: Russian art like you’ve never seen before
This first area of the park ends at the height of the Krymsky Bridge or Crimean Bridge, a steel suspension bridge built in 1938, as part of the ambitious reconstruction plan launched by Stalin for the center of Moscow.
The Parterre is the central part of the Gorky Park, a space completely remodeled in 2011, where you can find large green spaces, bike rentals, boat rentals in its ponds, picnic areas, cinema and outdoor concerts, street markets, good restaurants, the Garage museum of contemporary art, piers for a cruise on the Moskva river or even an artificial beach in which to sunbathe.
After the 2011 renovation, the amusement park with roller coasters and other attractions was removed and was badly damaged.
In winter, a skating rink is installed that can hold up to 6,000 people in its nearly 20,000 square meters of surface, and it is not the typical rectangular ice rink where you can turn, but it is a rink ice with different streets and routes, along which you can access any of the 23 cafes and restaurants with skates on or rest areas where you can warm up.
Below I’ll explain the most important thing in this area of the park:
2.1. The main entrance
The most recognizable monument in Gorky Park is its entrance gate, restored in 2014, which is 24 meters high.
On the left side of the entrance door, you will find a small museum about the park’s history. An entrance fee of 300 rubles is paid. You’ll be able to see a replica of Gorky Park’s main attraction in the 1930s: the Parachute Tower, a tower from which people could jump in parachutes.
In addition, through the museum, you can go up to the roof of the majestic front door to have fabulous views of the park.
For astrology lovers, just past the main door and turning right, you will find a small astronomical observatory. The truth is that in Moscow it is difficult to see the stars due to the lighting and the gray and cloudy days, so you have to choose a clear day.
Near the park entrance you will find also the sculpture of the dancer, a work of the Soviet sculptor Elena Yanson-Manizer. The model for the sculpture was the legendary Soviet dancer from the Bolshoi Theater, Galina Sergeevna Ulanova. The place where this sculpture is located is where the Parachute Tower used to be.
2.2. The park dock on the Moskva River
Gorky Park has its own dock on the Moskva River (Pushkinskaya dock), from which you can take a ship from the Radisson Fleet. There are departures from morning to night and some ships offer dinner service.
2.3. Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
In the central part of Gorky Park you will find this interesting museum of modern art, founded by Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich (owner of the Chelsea football team), located in what was previously the Vremena Goda restaurant of the 1960s in a precast concrete pavilion.
- Website: https://garagemca.org/en
- Entrance: 500 rubles
- Open every day from 11:00 to 22:00 hours
2.4. Golitsynsky garden and pond and public baths
Further ahead of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, you will find the Golitsynsky garden, in which among the highlights you will find its beautiful pond, where you can rent a little boat for a walk.
Also located here is the fountain of rose bushes, a work of the architect A.V.Vlasov.
Near the pond is the public bath building, built in 1933 by the architect A.V. Vlasov, and that it is a unique architectural monument from the era of socialist realism.
2.5. Pushkinsky bridge, the Gorky Park pedestrian bridge
The Parterre or central area of Gorky Park ends at the Pushkinskiy Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian bridge over the Moskva River, completed in 2000, using some of the constructions of the old Andreevsky railway bridge from 1905-1907.
It is worth going up this pedestrian bridge to get some pretty views of Moscow. Just below this bridge there are restaurants and terraces for sunbathing in the summer.
3. Neskuchny Garden
The Neskuchny Garden begins from Pushkinskiy Bridge and reaches the Novoandreyevskiy Bridge.
The Neskuchny Garden (“not boring” or “happy” garden) is the most historic part of Gorky Park.
It is a landscaped garden of about 59 hectares whose origin dates back to 1728. The current garden was formed during the first third of the 19th century, after the purchase by Nicholas I of the properties of princes Trubetskoy, Golitsyn and Orlov.
In this park you will find the most beautiful and quiet garden areas, since it is less crowded than other areas of the park. There is also a dock.
One of the things I like most about this park is that you can feed squirrels and birds with your own hand. There are also several playgrounds and adventure parks, making it an ideal place for children.
Here you will find various modern and historical buildings such as the hunting lodge, the summer house of Count Orlov, the Bather Fountain, the Grotesque Bridge or the Stas Namin Theater and Music Theater, the Green Theater, where you can enjoy outdoor concerts in the summer.
Then, let’s review from north to south about the most interesting things about this park.
3.1. Divers Monument
At the beginning of this park, next to the Moskva river, you will find the Divers’ Monument, a three-meter-high bronze monument, the work of artist Leonid Tishkov and inaugurated in 2016. Its helmet lights up at night becoming a lighthouse.
It is an idea based on sculpture that Vera Mukhima wanted to build in 1937, but whose project was not carried out.
3.2. Stas Namin Theater of Music and Drama
Near the Divers’ monument you will find the Stas Namin Theater of Music and Drama, or also known as the Green Theater. It is an open-air theater that currently schedules summer musical performances of all kinds.
It was inaugurated in the mid-1930s, with a capacity of 20,000 people, for holding political demonstrations by Soviet leaders or as an open-air movie theater.
In this theater the premiere of the Soviet film Circus, starring Lyubov Orlova, took place in 1936.
- Website: https://stasnamintheatre.ru/
3.3. Count Orlov’s Summer House and Gardens
Between 1804 and 1806, a two-story summer house with 4 Corinthian columns was erected on the estate of Count Fedor Alekseevich Orlov.
Some say it was a place for Empress Catherine II’s secret meetings with Grigory Orlov, while, according to others, it was a playground for Anna Alekseevna Orlova-Chesmenskaya. The house offers a very picturesque view of the Moskva river, with very beautiful gardens around it.
3.4. Bather’s fountain and Yekaterininsky pond
Near the Count Orlov’s summer house is the Bathe’s fountain. It is a sculpture of a bather below which there is a series of steps through which water flows to the Moskva river from the Yekaterininsky pond. The Bather sculpture is the work of Romuald Iodko.
3.5. The stone bridges
This area of the park is also known for its stone bridges, which were built in the late 18th century to facilitate access to the farm on horseback. The Grotesque stone bridge stands out here.
3.6. Moscow 800th Anniversary Monument
In the central part of the Neskuchny Park, you will find the monument dedicated to the 800th anniversary of the city, in 1947.
In summer, it is a place where poems are read and there are musical performances too.
3.7. Prince Trubetskoy’s Hunting Lodge
Prince Nikita Yurievich Trubetskoy’s Hunting Lodge is the oldest building in the Neskuchny Garden.
The stone cabin originally stored hunting rifles and gunpowder. Servants lived there and kennels were built nearby.
The hunting lodge has been used by a famous television show that began airing on the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s: “What? Where? When?”. It is a game, in which a team of 6 experts tries to answer the questions sent by the spectators. The person who submitted the question wins a prize if the experts can’t find the correct answer, while the team of experts wins points if they manage to get the correct answer.
4. Vorobyovy Gory
The last part of the Gorky Park is the Sparrows Hill (Vorobyovy Gory), a beautiful high hill on the bank of the Moskva river that reaches a height of about 80 meters above the river.
To get to the top of this hill, you have to walk through a nature reserve, where there are more than 400 species of plants and more than 150 species of animals and birds, with eco-green pathways and springs.
At the top of the Sparrows Hill, you will enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the city (as long as a clear day comes out). It is a place that Muscovites really like and where you will also find many tourists and wedding couples taking photos.
From this hill, you can also admire some of the Stalin Skyscrapers, popularly known also as the Seven Sisters, among which the Moscow University building, very close to this hill, is impressive, or you can see the skyscrapers of the Moscow City financial district.
Just below this hill, on the other side of the Moskva river bank, you will find the Luzhniki Olympic Stadium, where the 1980 Summer Olympics were opened and closed and where the final match of the Football World Cup 2018 was also held.
Since 2018, you can get from this hill to the other part of the Moskva river, by using the Vorobyovy Gory cable car, though you can also go through the Luzhnetskiy Bridge, a double-decker arch bridge, an upper one where cars circulate and a lower one by the one that runs the Metro trains and people.
- Website: https://srkvg.ru/
Also, on Sparrows Hill you will find the Church of the Trinity, a monument worth visiting and which is a protected cultural heritage of Russia, a perfect place to end this tour.
And this is how this tour from north to south on Gorky Park ends and I hope you liked it. Personally, I have enjoyed preparing this article since I love this site and I have discovered things that I didn’t know before.