1950 Moscow Skyscrapers Set

10/09/2012     Russia

This iconic series of stamps was issued to commemorate the construction of a series of post-war skyscrapers in a brave new Moscow. Built to rival those in the US they were designed in the distinctive Russian Baroque style and known in Russia as Stalins Skyscrapers and in English to the western world as as the “Seven Sisters”.

In fact the stamp designs feature 8 buildings whereas only seven were planned and of those only six were constructed. They continue to dominate the Moscow skyline and comprise the Smolenskaya Square Building (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Krasnye Vorota (Red Gates Building), Moscow State University (until 1990 the tallest building in Europe), Hotel Ukraine (now the Radisson Royal), Hotel Leningrad (now the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya) and the Kotelnicheskaya Apartment Building. Also constructed was the Kudrinskaya Building which was not featured on the stamps whilst the featured Vosstaniya Square and Zaryadye Buildings were not constructed.

Much of the driving force for these buildings came from Stalin himself, determined that a victorious post war Russia should not be seen as backward and his hand was evident at every stage of the process, from chosing the architects to chosing which parts of the city should be levelled to make way for them. Most of the detailed planning decisions were made in secret but his masterplan was for a massive 10 lane highway to encircle the city with these monuments to a modern, winning Russia sited to give an impressive cityscape. Much of this was implemented but falling short of the original grand design.

Although tall by European standards of the time, all the buildings were of lower stature than their US counterparts, their overall height limited by outdated construction techniques and massive over-engineering .

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