The All-Russian Exhibition Center, better known by its old name of VDNKh, is occasionally referred to as “Soviet Disneyland”.
It’s grounds served as a monument to the glory of the USSR and an answer the the West’s World Fairs.
In the area you can see the most majestic examples of Soviet architecture.
Today VDNKh (pronounced V-D-N-Hah) is a favorite spot for locals and tourists to stroll around on a nice day.
What to see and do at VDNKh
Many pavilions dot the sprawling complex of VDNKh.
They are dedicated to the various republics of the Soviet Union and their economic achievements.
Today the pavilions are filled with small shops.
You will find clothing stores, electronics, and cafes.
Signs above the entrance will give you an indication of what each pavilion is selling .
Friendship of the Nations Fountain
The Friendship of the Nations fountain was built to glorify the Soviet people.
It is located directly behind the main pavilion.
All the statues in the center are covered with gold which creates a beautiful reflection in the sun.
In the warmer months, children and adults alike can be seen splashing around in the fountain.
VDNKh’s Amusement Park
On a nice day it’s worth heading over to VDNKh’s small collection of theme park rides.
There are a couple of small roller coasters, merry-go-round, and best of all, a Ferris wheel.
Take a 10 minute ride around the Ferris wheel and get a great view of the Moscow skyline.
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
For a true taste of Soviet opulence, head slightly down the street and see the famous statue “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman”
This is a 35-meter tall statue of a man and woman holding a hammer and sickle.
Created by Vera Mukhina in the 1930s, the statue has been moved several times but seems to have found its final resting place at the edge of the VDNKh complex.
Medovukha, a Russian classic
VDNKh is a great place to try a delicious Russian drink: Medovukha.
It’s a honey-based alcoholic drink very similar to mead.
It’s sweet, thick, and perfect for a hot summer day.
Grab a tourist train
If you wait just inside the main gates of the All-Russian Exhibition Center at some point a small train will appear.
It’s free and makes a loop around the expansive grounds of VDNKh but be warned — it doesn’t stop!
However, it is worth a quick trip on the train to get an idea of the grounds before you begin walking and exploring more thoroughly.
Don’t Arrive too Early
Although the whole park (pavilions, restaurants, rides) should be open by 10 am, VDNKh is often a little slow to get started.
To ensure you go when everything is open, plan to head there after noon.
How to get to VDNKh
The All-Russian Exhibition Center is located a two-minute walk from the metro station VDNKh (north on the orange line).
Exit from the metro and turn left on the main road.
You’ll cross a street and go under the light rail metro.
The man entrance gates are massive and impossible to miss.
You can also come to the area by the monorail (above-ground) metro station called Vystavochny Tsentr.
The main entrance gates are directly to your left.
VDNKh (a Russian acronym for Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy) opened in 1939 as a general purpose trade show, created to demonstrate the economic greatness of the Soviet Union and its republics.
Each pavilion was dedicated to a specific republic or industry of the USSR.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the area fell into an intense state of disrepair.
Fortunately for tourists today, the area’s decline was suspended and the area saw a small revival.
Although some of the pavilions still remain crumbling and not restored, some remain open and filled with small shops, attractions, and cafes.