Construction of Europe’s biggest hotel was begun in 1964, architect Dmitry Chechulin. This record was officially registered by Guiness’ Book of Records in 1970s.
The spot taken by hotel ‘Russia’ hotel was originally Zaradye, a unique area of Kitay-gorod. The demolition of the latter however begun even earlier in the late 1930s in conformity with Stalin’s general Moscow development plan. The numerous remnants of the burse, little two and tree-storey houses with entrance galleries attached to them, tiny churches kept disappearing in the clouds of construction dust. Mokrinsky lane, which was once the Great (Velikaya) or the Big (Bolshaya) street, Mytny and Pskovsky lane vanished, Moskvoretskaya street shrank miserably.
The city’s oldest area was wiped out accurately, thoroughly and mercilessly. Only the part of Kitay-gorod wall and St. Anna in Zachatye Church were left as a window dressing.
The construction of the 32 storey KGB high-scraper had begun at Zaradye, according to the plan. By the beginning of 1953 about 14 soreys were installed. However after the arrest of Lavrenty Beria, who was the main inspirator of the project, the works stopped. The assembled framework was used to build the Luzhniki stadium.
Ten years later, despite the protests in artistic circles, the construction of gigantic Rossia begun.
It took 5 years to finish the complex of four twelve-storey hotel blocks and a 23-storey tower crowned by a mast. Rossia had its own automatic telephone exchange with a capacity of 6.000 numbers, 73.000 lamps and about 100 elevators.
The hotel hasn’t celebrated it 40th anniversary yet and still the decision on its demolition has already been taken.
The huge parallelepiped was aimed to amaze the world with its greatness. Which it did. But did it gain anyone’s heart? And what is to replace it?