VDNKh (The Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy) is a unique architectural complex which nowadays serves as a popular public recreation area for Muscovites and visitors to the capital. Its territory is thoughtfully laid out and seamlessly blends both green spaces and infrastructure. The exhibition was integrated with the Botanical Garden and the Ostankino Park, and as a result, together they now form this vast recreational area. This is also the site of the Moskvarium, one of the biggest indoor aquariums in Europe both in terms of its floor space and the number of sea animals contained inside. Fabulous fountains with remarkable sculptural groups are the jewel in the crown of VDNKh. All kinds of festivals, exhibitions, and fairs are held in the VDNKh pavilions as well as in the open air year round. A huge ice rink operates here in winter.
Most of the VDNKh pavilions are built in the so-called Stalinist Empire stylearchitecture of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, between 1933 and 1955. They preserve the memory of their epoch – a period of intense industrial development of the Soviet Union, the victory in the Great Patriotic WarWorld War II and the post-war recovery period. The history of VDNKh goes back to the 1930s. The first ever “All-Union Agricultural Exhibition” opened here in 1939. A display of the top achievements of the country’s working people was supposed to become a public festival and a source for pride. V. Mukhinaa prominent Soviet sculptor’s famous stainless steel sculpture ’Worker and Kolkhoz Woman was erected at the entrance to the exhibition. The monument received international recognition at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.