Russian architecture has long been known for its distinctive style. We take a brief look at what makes Russian architecture unique with its mix tradition and modern approach to it.
Russia is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It covers over 17,125,191 square kilometres (6,612,073 sq mi), stretching more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, with eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. Moscow is the country’s capital and largest city, while Saint Petersburg is the second-largest city. Russia is the largest country in the world, the ninth-most populous country, as well as the most populous country in Europe. The country is one of the world’s most sparsely populated and urbanized.
Russian architecture follows a tradition whose roots lie in early Russian wooden architecture. From the Rus’ era, the Byzantine Empire influenced the architecture and culture of Russia. In other phases of Russian history, the architecture developed independently and was characterized by national and local features.
Russian architecture is a mix of Byzantine and Pagan architecture. Some characteristics taken from the Slavic pagan temples are the exterior galleries and the plurality of towers. Between the 6th and the 8th century, the Slavs built fortresses, named grods, which were tightly constructed wooden mechanisms of separation
The great churches of Kievan Rus’, built after the adoption of Christianity in 988, were the first examples of monumental architecture in the East Slavic region. Early Eastern Orthodox churches were mainly built from wood, with their simplest form known as a cell church. Cathedrals often featured many small domes, which has led some art historians to infer how the pagan Slavic temples may have appeared.
The Modern Russian as the Soviet Union fell apart, many of its projects were put on hold and some cancelled altogether. However, for the first time there was no longer any control over what theme a building should have or how high it should be. As a result, with generally improving financial conditions architecture grew at a high rate.
For the first time modern methods of skyscraper construction were implemented, this resulted in an ambitious Moscow International Business Center. In other cases, architects returned to successful designs of Stalinist architecture, which resulted in buildings like the Triumph Palace in Moscow. New Classical Architecture is also appearing more consistently throughout modern Russia, with a large complex being proposed for Saint Petersburg.
Russian architecture has long been known for its distinctive style. While most of the country’s iconic buildings as we known them were constructed in the 1870s-1890s, there are some later outstanding examples, too.
Caught between East and West, Russian architecture is steeped in both history and Orthodox Christianity, giving birth to a highly unique, yet wholly underappreciated, architectural style. Various cities in Russia utilize different aspects of Russian architecture, from traditional styles to modern approaches.