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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Russia's communist cornerstone reborn
Nikolai Gorshkov - BBC Moscow correspondent
By Nikolai Gorshkov
BBC correspondent in Moscow

Hotel Moskva
Hotel Moskva was built on Stalin's orders
A landmark symbol of Moscow's Stalin era, the grandiose Hotel Moskva, is going to be demolished and then rebuilt to its original design.

The hotel was erected in 1935 just outside the Red Square and the Kremlin's walls.

It was the first hotel to be built in Moscow after the communist revolution.

It was designed as a symbol of new Russia - grandiose and opulent - towering over the square where Soviet troops used to assemble for regular parades.

It was built on orders from Josef Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union for almost 30 years, and to a design signed by him.

The story of it became a Soviet-era legend.

Stalin was shown two alternative blueprints for the hotel's facade. He signed them both.

The architects, fearful of going back to him, built a double-fronted hotel, using both designs.

The building instantly became a modern classic and a landmark, featuring even on the labels of Stolichnaya vodka.

The hotel, with its stunning views over the Kremlin and impeccable service, became a favourite with Communist Party leaders and government officials.

After the collapse of communism, Hotel Moskva offered accommodation to the members of Russia's parliament coming from the provinces.

Faded grandeur

But years of underfunding and neglect took their toll, and the hotel began to crumble.

A brand new luxurious residence is going to be built in its place, looking exactly the same.

The city fathers have built themselves a reputation for resurrecting buildings, demolished by their communist predecessors.

Now they are taking this concept a bit further - knocking down a building themselves, only to rebuild it to the same design.

Farewell to unloved Moscow hotel
08 Mar 02  |  Europe
Soviet flagship hotel closes
08 Jan 02  |  Europe

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