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VDNG: The Soviet past


Stars, sickles and hammers – such elements decorate the central pavilions of the complex today. This is not surprising, because it was opened back in 1958, in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Communist Party of Ukraine! It was here that Ukrainian manufacturers demonstrated their achievements. Ukrainian industry and agriculture was represented in the pavilions.

Today the complex is one of the five largest expocentres in the world. Its vast territory of nearly 300 hectares was called "Ukraine in miniature". Numerous foreign delegations came here. At different times VDNG was visited by such celebrities as Margaret Thatcher, Charles de Gaulle, Prince Philippe and his daughter Anne.

There were several interesting exhibits in the pavilion:

  • Coal Mining – the pavilion simulated a mine. Visitors went down in a lift, which was a replica of a miner's elevator. There was special equipment in the underground, and experts told how coal was mined.
  • Metallurgy – here one could learn and see how a blast furnace works.
  • Gifts of the Sea – children's favourite pavilion. Almost all the space of the ground floor was occupied by a huge skeleton of a blue whale!
  • Electrification – the pavilion had several interesting exhibits: a diorama of one of the biggest power plants in Europe – the Dneproges; a model of Ukraine's first nuclear power plant – the Chernobyl plant; a model of a nuclear reactor.
  • Construction – there was a monorail operating near the pavilion. It was a carriage which travelled at a speed of 50 km per hour along the monorail. There were plans to build one in Kyiv in the near future.

Other pavilions presented dairy products, sausages, fruits and vegetables, light industry products. In addition there were pens for animals, fruit trees and grapes growing оn the territory, vegetables were grown in greenhouses. And in the greenhouse you could see tropical trees – mandarin, feijoa, pomegranate, orange.

Nowadays the buildings with Soviet symbols are the monuments of architecture and are protected by the state. There's a lot more to tell about VDNG, we'll do that in future articles!