Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Park Pabyedi (Victory Park)

Victory Park in Moscow is one of the more fascinating places in the city. Construction on the park started in 1961. It was meant to serve as a memorial to the great Soviet victory over the Nazis and as place where Victory Day celebrations could be held. Bureaucratic bungling and corruption, however, meant that the park took over 30 years to complete.It was finally completed in 1996 with the addition of a massive obelisk and a tank park.

The land that Victory Park was built on is the exact same spot where, in 1812, Napolean stood and watched Moscow burning. Today it has an extensive fountain garden, forest, a massive second world war museum, a tank park where both German and Soviet machines can be seen and many monuments ringing the hill.

To get to Victory Park take the dark blue metro line to Park Pabyedi (Парк Победы) and turn right when you exit the station. Walk down an understreet tunnel and when you emerge you will see the massive square lined with fountains and a gigantic obelisk at the far end. You are in Victory Park!

Парк Победы metro station

The Victory Obelisk dominates the skyline around the area. The names of nearly every battle the Red Army took part in during the 1941-1945 war is engraved on the obelisk.

Inside the Victory Museum is the "Hall of Tears", a solemn place where the 30 million + dead of the war can be honoured.

The 1st floor of the Victory Museum consists of stunning dioramas of major battles, such as this one depicting the seige of Leningrad.

The stairs to the second floor and the Hall of Heroes are interesting.

The Hall of Heroes: the names of every Soviet citizen who won the Order of Lenin are engraved on the walls.

Sadly, the museum glorifies the Kalishnikov AK-47, the world's most produced assault rifle and responsible for hundreds of conflicts and millions of lives since 1947.

Outside the Victory Museum, at the bottom of the hill, is the tank park. Nearly a hundred vehicles from both German and Soviet arsenals are parked here. All of them were recovered from actual battlefields and many bear the scars of war.

Soviet T-34. I noticed a giant shell hole in the rear of this tank.

Soviet ISU-152 tank-destroyer, recovered from the Kursk battlefield.

The tank park also houses a big collection of aircraft, from early Yak and Mig designs up to the modern-day Mig-29 fighter jet.

At the far end of the tank park is a recreated partisan village. Visitors can roam around and climb on the buildings (as I did!)

A massive Soviet railway gun used during the seige of Budapest.

There's a small waterpark with Soviet gunships and a recreated battlecruiser.

At the end of the tank park is a monument to the founding of the United Nations in 1945. Here a French soldier stands alongside a Russian, American and British soldier. What I never understood was "Why the French? They LOST the war!"

Heading away from Victory Park you are greeted with a fantastic view of the Moscow skyline.

1 comment:

  1. French have participated to thr Victory.

    An example among many others :