Greetings from Moscow! Bolshoi in Russia is my variation on Big in Japan. (Bolshoi means “Big” in Russian. Get it?) Stay tuned for my live dispatches from Russia this week.
Moscow is an incredibly vibrant city. New buildings are popping up everywhere (and one can only hope they will soon cover a lot of the other buildings I’ve seen). Russian architecture is a mixed bag. There are some real gems, but a lot of it is just supposed to illustrate the greatness of Russia, and is simply horrific. (As most pieces illustrating the greatness of any nation typically are.)
Take this statue, for example. I honestly could not believe my eyes the first time I saw it. Smack in the middle of the river Moscow in downtown Moscow, there is Peter the Great, dressed in a Roman toga, clutching a golden scroll, while standing in a comparatively kid-sized boat, setting direction away from Moscow. Zurab Konstantines dze Tsereteli, a controversial Russian-Georgian artist completed it in 1986.
The worst part of it is, you can’t get away from it. It’s 94,5 meters (300 feet), twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. It’s the sixth tallest statue in the world. It’s pitch black and so monstrously outsized, it looks surreal.
From a lot of angles it even dwarfs the church behind it, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which is the tallest Eastern Orthodox church in the world. It has got an interesting history, too. First built in 1883, it was demolished in 1931, by order of Stalin‘s minister Kaganovich. Nikita Khrushchev later was transformed the site into a huge public swimming pool, the largest the world had ever seen. Only in 1994 did they start rebuilding the church. Although it looks old, it was completed in 2000 and, interestingly enough, it was built by the same architect who built the Peter the Great statue. I am telling you, you can’t get away from this guy in Moscow.
Which brings me to my question: What is the ugliest statue you have ever seen?
From Russia, with love.