menu menu RU logotype

Space Moscow

Moscow Monuments to Space Travel and Space Pioneers

Moscow was named Europe’s Leading Heritage Destination by World Travel Awards 2020. There are many sights and unique places, which history is connected not only with Moscow, but with the Earth. For example, monuments dedicated to human exploration of outer space. Let's get to know them better.

KOSMOS_eng_MWY.png

Gagarin’s ‘Let’s go!’

In spring 1961, people in literally every Soviet city took to the streets to celebrate the first manned trip to outer space. The dream of travelling to other worlds and other planets had suddenly turned from a fairy tale into an achievable goal; the way had been paved. On 14 April, Yuri Gagarin was welcomed to the Kremlin in Moscow. A newsreel of the time shows Gagarin's open-top Chaika car speeding through the city, with happy citizens standing by the road waving flags and flowers. Gagarin's route from Vnukovo to the city centre took in Kievskoe Highway, Leninsky Prospekt and Yakimanka. When the space pioneer died in a test flight accident seven years later, it was decided to name the square at Kaluga Gate after him and erect a monument there.

While there was a proposal made to run a public fund-raiser with involvement from ordinary people, the authorities did not appreciate the gesture and organised it themselves.

The monument to Gagarin was unveiled in 1980. The 38-metre high column rises like a pillar of fire underneath the figure of an astronaut stretched out with his arms at sides. He looks ready to take off himself and rush headlong to the stars. At the foot of the monument is a model of the Vostok spacecraft Gagarin flew in. This unique monument is made of titanium, the same material used to create interstellar ships.
Address: Ploshchad Gagarina

Ad astra

Humanity's desire to travel to other planets has always had a poetic aspect to it, like the desire to find the last uncovered spots on the map and discover its most hidden corners. It's no coincidence that the pedestal of the monument is inscribed with Nikolai Gribachyov's words:

"And the reward for our effort is
That through darkness and outrage,
We gave these flaming wings of spirit
To our country and our age."

The base of the monument serves to illustrate these words, depicting the people who contributed to the exploration of space: engineers, scientists and designers.

This monument could have looked quite different and could even have been situated somewhere other than VDNKh. When the competition to create it was announced in the late 1950s, the jury was swamped with applications. There were almost four hundred entries to choose from. The winner was the People's Creator project, with its rocket motif piercing the sky atop its reverse trail. There was one problem: it didn't fit in the chosen site of Sparrow Hills. A simpler and bigger spot was found near the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKh). The only thing left to do was decide how to implement the idea and liven up the monument by evoking the effect of a burning rocket plume. At first, the creators wanted to cover it with translucent glass and provide inner illumination. Then designer Sergei Korolyov proposed using titanium. He provided the required amount of the metal and even supervised the work personally. The monument finally appeared at VDNKh, perfectly visible from afar thanks to its height of over a hundred metres.
Address: Alleya Kosmonavtov

My rockets up

The Cosmos pavilion at VDNKh is home to a model of one of the most important technologies for getting spacecraft into orbit. The Vostok rocket took numerous 'Vostok' and 'Luna' series devices and artificial satellites into space. The rocket was also used for the first manned flight into space in 1961. In 1967, it was decided that the Vostok deserved a monument. They didn't reinvent the wheel: the monument is an unadorned replica of the original.

The 25-tonne model was made in Samara and installed at VDNKh in 1967 as part of the festivities to mark the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. However, either due to the unstable voltage of the power grid or the sheer stubbornness of the rocket itself, the Vostok couldn't be placed vertically at first — one of the cables had burnt out. But in the end, the compressors started working and the carrier slowly took the right position. Visitors to VDNKh stared at Vostok in awe: this wondrous vessel could align itself both horizontally and vertically, as if getting ready for liftoff. In 1985, it was replaced by a new model of another series. Today, the Cosmos pavilion also houses a replica of the Buran orbital shuttle not far from Vostok. The interior supposedly looks just like an actual spacecraft.

Interestingly, a backup rocket intended to replace the operating one in the event of an accident also became a monument eventually. It can be found at the Museum of the History of Cosmonautics.
Address: ploshchad Promyshlennosti

Best friend and explorer

With her funny muzzle and triangular ears, Laika the dog looked like hundreds and thousands of other dogs. But she was no ordinary dog. This cutie was the first living creature to make an orbital flight. On 3 November 1957, she was sent on a journey that scientists knew was going to be a one-way trip. She survived the launch, but the designers of the spacecraft failed to take into account the vessel's imperfect thermal regulation system, and Laika died of overheating. In 2008, near the Institute for Military Medicine where the experiment was prepared, there appeared a monument of a dog standing on an open palm. Perhaps it represents part of a spacecraft, or perhaps people still feel sorry for the death of this courageous explorer many years later.
Address: Petrovskaya Alleya, 12A

Ground control, do you read me?

A worker with a characterful face holding a model of Earth's first artificial satellite in his right hand — so looks one of the world's first monuments to space exploration. It was erected near Rizhskaya metro station in 1958. Perhaps unexpectedly, the piece quotes the novel 'The Andromeda Nebula' by Ivan Efremov: "In his right hand he held a hammer. With his left hand he lifted a sparkling ball with four antennae spacing up high into the pale equatorial sky." The monument is dedicated to the labour, ingenuity and courage of the creators of Earth's first artificial satellites.

Somewhat fittingly, the creators of the monument had a difficult time working on it. First, the satellite has four antennas instead of three. Second, though the pedestal has an inscription dedicated to the creators of the first artificial satellite, the sculpture took its place a little later.
Address: Rizhskaya metro station

Star trek

A month before the launch of Earth's satellite, a monument called 'To the Stars' appeared in a park near the Soviet Army Theatre. It depicts a man holding a rocket in his hands, sending it into the sky with a powerful thrust like an ancient Greek hero. The Soviet satellite had already sent its call signals to Flight Control, but Gagarin was yet to say his famous 'Let's go!', and the whole world was living in anticipation of the new space age. Architect Grigory Postnikov encapsulated this spirit with great precision: the desire to achieve the impossible, to step beyond the ordinary realities is what has motivated researchers, physicists and designers again and again to draw, design and dream of getting closer to the stars.
Address: Yekaterininsky Park

You might also enjoy this!


The opposition of the two famous Renaissance sculptors

#museum

Brunelleschi vs. Ghiberti: the Dawn of Renaissance

The legendary Krasny Oktyabr

#architecture

Krasny Oktyabr. Visiting the Factory Buildings and Its Roof

The tour will also discuss famous guests who have visited the house and Bakhrushin's love for ballet

#museum

A tour of the Main House exhibition: Masterpieces of the Theatre Collection

The Uvarov sarcophagus, named after its owner Count Sergey Semionovich Uvarov

#museum

Virtual tour "Bacchanalia. Two Masterpieces in time"

Learn about the literary history of the Moscow metro

#WorldTravelAwards

Books and The Moscow Metro: Literary Stations of The Moscow Subway

An online tour through one of the most beautiful and cozy public gardens in Moscow

#excursion

Tours and Walks in the Apothecary Garden

History of the Middle Yauza River area during the 17th–20th centuries

#museum

Lefortovo History Museum

Mono-tour

#museum

Mono-tour "Malevich. Black Square"

The Moscow museum dedicated to the evolution theory

#museum

Online tour "In the World of Ancient Animals"

How does it fly? How does it work, and what is it used for?

#WorldTravelAwards

Rockets and How They Fly

One of the world's largest museums dedicated to science and engineering

#museum

Tours of The Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics

Things to do at VDNH on a summer day

#VDNH

VDNH

Moscow is a city of romance and love

#excursion

Walk Around Moscow: Romantic Moscow

An online tour through the museum galleries displaying the history and culture of ancient civilizations

#museum

Virtual tour "For the pleasure of now and knowledge of then..."

The first and only state memorial Bulgakov museum in Russia

#museum

Virtual tour of the famous revenue house at 10 Bolshaya Sadovaya (Mikhail Bulgakov Museum)

A general biology exposition located in a former estate

#museum

Tour of The Timiryazev State Biological Museum

The open-air tour around the collection of more than 400 military vehicles

#museum

Weapons of Victory

150 years of family history

#museum

Exhibition tour "Family Values"

Choice of the Russian Society of Friends of the Salzburg Festival

#theatre

"Prima Donnas"

The story of a particular prisoner or their relatives

#museum

The My GULAG Archive of Video Interviews

History of Russian Impressionism

#museum

Author's excursion "The Traits of Russian Impressionism"

The biography and creative path of this great 20th century poet

#museum

Marina Tsvetaeva House-Museum

The superiority of the spiritual over the corporeal depicted

#museum

Virtual tour "Heaven on Earth. Byzantine Icons from Palaiologan Renaissance"

Outstanding monument of the Soviet avant-garde

#architecture

A Neverland House.Visiting the Narkomfin Building

Tour 'Renaissance Man: Portrait Sculpture of the 15th Century'

#museum

Tour 'Renaissance Man: Portrait Sculpture of the 15th Century'

The most mysterious countries of the East

#museum

Arts of the Far East (China, Japan, Korea)

From Boyars to Oligarchs

#excursion

The History of Elite Housing in Ostozhenka

The avant-garde artist who could do anything

#museum

Curator's tour of the exhibition "Yury Annenkov. Revolution Behind the Door"

Interesting story one of Moscow streets

#excursion

Povarskaya Street: from Soviet avant-garde to Russian uzorochye style

The history of the world famous painting

#museum

Virtual tour "Jacob Jordaens. The Satyr and the Peasant"

Unique online walks around the Palace

#museum

Excursions to Petrovsky Palace

A journey through worlds created by classical and contemporary art,cinema and Russian folklore

#museum

Exhibition "Russian Fairy tale. From Vasnetsov to the Present"

More than 50 of the most recognizable works of the author

#museum

Tours of the exhibition 'Follow Me' by French photographer Guy Bourdin

The quest based on the names of the 7 most famous dogs of the Great Patriotic War

#museum

Quest 'Tracing the Soldier's Dog'

The exhibition of Soviet and Russian artist Tatiana Nazarenko's works

#museum

Tatiana Nazarenko's personal exhibition "The Future in the Past"

The multiple works performed by Zurab Tsereteli in various techniques

#museum

Sightseeing tour of Zurab Tsereteli Studio Museum

The largest palace and park ensemble in Moscow

#excursion

Tsaritsyno Museum and Nature Reserve

The Great Moscow Circus: SyStem performance

#Circus

The Great Moscow Circus: SyStem performance

The History of the Main Russian Fortress

#WorldTravelAwards

Moscow Kremlin

The History of the Chambers of the Old English Court

#museum

The Old English Court

The most significant battles of the Great Patriotic War as depicted by various battle painters

#museum

Virtual tour 'From Kursk to Berlin'

Shchepkin and Gogol. Two Geniuses

#museum

Shchepkin and Gogol. Two Geniuses

90 Years of the Moscow Planetarium

#museum

History of the Moscow Star House

History of the ballet dancer

#museum

The Life and Art of Galina Ulanova

The theatrical traditions of Eastern countries

#museum

World of Illusion and Beauty

Rehearsals

#theatre

Ballet Moscow #StayHome

History of Moscow Boulevard

#excursion

Walk along Novinsky Boulevard

Centuries-old culture, traditions, religious concepts

#museum

Tour of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre main exposition

Beautiful Architectural Ensembles, Sculptural Compositions and Picturesque Parks

#culture

Moscow Estates

A tour through a unique diorama complex created by battle painters from Mitrofan Grekov's studio

#museum

The War through the Eyes of an Artist

The project focused on the people behind the rich history of the 20th-century

#museum

Exhibition "Atelier E.B: Passer-by"

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

#museum

Three Artists Sculpturing One Character: an Online Guided Tour

The oldest of its kind in Moscow

#museum

Gostiny Dvor Tour

New interesting places

#happybirthday

Moscow — 873

The largest public library in Russia and one of the largest libraries in the world

#excursion

Tours around the halls of Russian State Library

Russian applied and folk art of the 17th – 21st centuries

#museum

The All-Russian Decorative Art Museum