House of the Unions
The House of the Unions (Russian: Дом союзов) (also called "Palace of Unions") is a historical building in Moscow, Russia. It is situated on the corner of Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Okhotny Ryad streets. In the time of the Soviet Union, it housed Communist Party Congresses and state funeral services for high officials and leaders, as well as being the scene of the Moscow Trials of 1936, 1937 and 1938.
The original building on the location was constructed in the first half of the 18th century and belonged to Moscow Governor General Vasili Dolgorukov-Krymsky. It was purchased by the Moscow Assembly of the Nobility (Благородное собрание) to serve as a clubhouse for dvoryans.
Between 1784 and 1787 the original building was redesigned by Russian architect Matvey Kazakov and rebuilt. In particular, Kazakov added the monumental Pillar Hall (Колонный зал) in place of the interior yard of the building. The hall was named after 28 internal Corinthian columns, all wood with white faux marble finish. It has arguably the best acoustics in Moscow and has always been a prime stage for classical music. Today it is still very close to Kazakov's original, despite numerous exterior alterations (the last of which was made from 1903-1908).
In addition to the Pillar Hall, the building houses several other large rooms such as the October Hall, Hall No 1 (the Round Hall), Hall No 2 (the Banquet Hall), and numerous lobbies.
Soviet use of the building
After the October Revolution the building was assigned to the Moscow Council of Trade Unions, hence its current name. In the Soviet era, it housed Communist Party Congresses and state funeral services for high officials and leaders. Starting with Vladimir Lenin and also Joseph Stalin, all senior leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, Yuri Andropov and Mikhail Suslov had a lying in state in the Pillar Hall prior to interment in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis on Red Square.
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