New East Digital Archive

Welcome to a failed utopia: new VR tour explores Moscow’s planned Soviet city

18 December 2017

New virtual reality tours are giving Muscovites the chance to see the Russian capital as the socialist utopia envisioned by the city’s Soviet architects.

The new project, The Moscow That Never Was, lets visitors glimpse shelved Soviet landmarks as they should have appeared on Moscow’s streets using VR goggles.

The sights are set to include The Palace of the Soviets, which should have stood in place of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The foundations for the 100-storey building, which would have towered at almost 500 metres tall, were excavated in 1939, but construction was halted by the outbreak of the Second World War. The foundations were eventually converted into a giant outdoor swimming pool in the 1960s, before being filled in and covered with the church in 2000.

Other landmarks include an eighth Stalinist skyscraper in the modern-day Zaryadye Park, an alternative design for Lenin’s mausoleum, and the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry: a monumental building earmarked to stand on Red Square.

The tours will run in Russian throughout December and January. Individual tickets can be booked throughout on the Moscow Through the Eyes of Engineers website, which will be running a special, English-language version on 22 December. Group tours can also be booked on the Refutur website.