Details

Keywords Change this

Museum, Monument

Project timeline

1963 – 1964

Type

Monument & Memorial

Location Change this

Prospekt Mira, 111
Moscow
Russia

Current state

Original

Architect Change this

Team

Architects: A.N. Kolchin and M.O. Barsch; Sculptor: A.P. Faidysh-Krandievsky

Monument to the Conquerors of Space Change this

1 of 7

Description Change this

The Monument to the Conquerors of Space (Russian: Монумент «Покорителям космоса») was erected in Moscow in 1964 to celebrate the achievements of the Soviet people in space exploration. It depicts a starting rocket that rises on its contrail. The monument is 110 m tall, has 77° incline, and is made of titanium. The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is located inside the base of the monument.

The monument is located outside the main entry to today's All-Russia Exhibition Centre (known until 1992 as the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy, VDNKh), in the northeastern part of Moscow, near Prospekt Mira ("Peace Avenue"). The easiest access is from the VDNKh subway station.

Since the 1960s, this part of Moscow in general has had a high concentration of space-themed sights and names: besides the monument and the museum under it, the grand "Cosmos" pavilion in the Exhibition Centre displayed many artifacts of the Soviet space program. Many streets in the area have been named after the precursors of the space program (Nikolai Kibalchich, Friedrich Zander, Yuri Kondratyuk) and its participants (Sergey Korolyov). The Cosmonauts Alley south of the monument also features busts of Soviet cosmonauts. The choice of this part of Moscow for space-related names and monuments may have been inspired by the fact that Prospekt Mira runs toward the north-eastern suburbs of Moscow, where, in Podlipki (today's Korolyov City) much of the space program was based. Korolyov himself lived in a house within a few blocks from the monument, which is now preserved as Korolyov Memorial Museum (Russian: Дом-музей академика С. П. Королёва).

In March 1958, a few months after the launch of Sputnik 1, a competition was announced for the best design of an obelisk celebrating the dawn of the Space Age. Out of some 350 proposals, the design by sculptor A.P. Faidysh-Krandievsky and architects A.N. Kolchin and M.O. Barshch was chosen. The grand opening of the monument took place on October 4, 1964, on the day of the 7th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch.

The monument was designed to accommodate a museum in its base. However, it took until April 10, 1981 (two days before the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight) to complete the preparatory work and open the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. The museum reopened on April 12, 2009 after three years of renovations.

The main part of the monument is a giant obelisk topped by a rocket and resembling in shape the exhaust plume of the rocket. It is 107 meters (350 feet) tall and on Korolyov's suggestion, was covered with titanium cladding. A statue of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the precursor of astronautics, is located in front of the obelisk.

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