One of the most distinct features of the Moscow skyline, Stalin's so-called ‘Seven Sisters’ are still amongst some of the tallest buildings in Europe.
Defining the post-war skylinePoor old Stalin. After the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, legend has it he was convinced that everyone in the world would now want to visit Moscow. But Uncle Joe had a little problem. Disregarding the city’s dearth of cheap hotels and non-Cyrillic signage, the great leader had a rather Freudian complex about his capital’s lack of tall buildings. “What if they come to Moscow and don’t see any skyscrapers?” he is reported to have complained.
The results of all this angst are known by some as the ‘Seven Sisters’, but most Moscovites rather more prosaically refer to them as the Vysotniye Zdaniye - the tall buildings. Despite huge demands for housing and infrastructure following the war, early fifties Moscow devoted the bear’s share of its energy to creating these buildings. Being great propaganda magicians, the Soviet leaders used the flurry of construction energy to show the world that, from the ashes of war, the Soviet capital was renewing itself not only better than before, but doing it better than everyone else. The Sisters went on to become the dominant feature of Moscow’s post-war skyline and, in defiance of the growing competition from the current building boom; they remain the definitive architectural statement of the city’s contemporary identity.