House of the Unions
The House of the Unions (Russian: Дом союзов) (also called Palace of 'the Unions) is a historical building in the Tverskoy District in central Moscow, Russia. It is situated on the corner of Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Okhotny Ryad streets.
The fist building on this location was constructed in the early 1770s, and originally belonged to Moscow Governor General Vasily Dolgorukov-Krymsky. In 1784 it was purchased by the Moscow Assembly of the Nobility (Благородное собрание) to serve as a Ball venue for the Russian nobility.
Between 1784 and 1787 the original building was redesigned and rebuilt by Russian architect Matvey Kazakov. In particular, Kazakov added the monumental Pillar Hall (Колонный зал) in place of the interior courtyard of the building. The hall was named after 28 internal Corinthian columns, all wood with white faux marble finish.
Today the building's appearance is still very close to Kazakov's original, despite numerous exterior alterations (the last of which was made in 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.
During the Soviet decades it mostly served as a place for important State events, i.e. housing the Communist Party Congresses and conferences, and governmental award ceremonies, and also as a concert platform for classical and popular music performances including those by Emil Gilels, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Klavdiya Shulzhenko and Lev Leshchenko.
Its political significance extended to the state funeral services for high officials and leaders. Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, Yuri Andropov and Mikhail Suslov all had a lying in state in the Pillar Hall prior to their interment in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis on Red Square.
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