Russia As You’ve Never Seen It Before!
Russia is a big place! With a total surface area about 70 times bigger than the UK, you could spend a lifetime exploring this fascinating land, and still only scratch the surface.
But now there’s a different way to see Russia – in miniature! Opened less than five years ago, Grand Maket Rossiya is a private museum in St Petersburg which features a model layout designed on a scale of 1:87 and covering an area of 8600 sq ft.
Here, you’ll find collective images of regions of the Russian Federation represented in the largest model layout in Russia, and the second largest in the world (after the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany). In fact, it’s so big, that the model requires two storeys in a building built in 1953, in the style of Stalin’s empire.
The model took five years to create and employed over 100 people. First, a wooden frame for use under the model was made, followed by the foundations for the roads and railways. Next, the model’s wooden ribs were installed, with a layer of plaster (11 tons in total!) to create the desired shape of the landscape. Designing the surface took one specialist about a month to complete.
The model presents an image of everyday life in Russia, represented through models. These everyday situations show a range of different human activities, such as work, leisure, sports, study, military service, country life, travel, mass celebrations, and even an attempt to escape from prison!
Public transportation is represented by various kinds of cars and trucks, trams, buses, trains, and agricultural, construction, and military equipment. Visitors can set things in motion on the model by pushing interactive buttons placed around the layout.
Every 13 minutes, the lighting of the model is changed as day turns gradually into the night (night lighting lasts for 2 minutes). More than 500 000 LED lights in different colors were used to illuminate the model.
The way the cars and buses move is very realistic. They stop at traffic lights, bus stops, and flashing signals, change speeds and overtake each other. The electrical energy to drive them is obtained remotely from underneath the model, so the cars themselves don’t appear to have a power supply.
To optimize the traffic layout, it was built on numerous levels using more than 8200 ft of rails and 452 switch boxes. The total number of rolling stock is more than 2700, of which 250 are locomotives and 10 are special cleaning trains. To add variety to the moving trains, two revolver exchangers store up to 60 trains and dispatch them when needed.
The museum is open daily from 10.00 till 20.00. Standard admission is 400 roubles for adults, and 200 for children. There’s a café and a lifting platform for people with disabilities.
You’ll find the museum of Tsvetochnaja Ulitsa, the nearest metro station: Moskovskiye Vorota. And by the way, Grand Maket isn’t a typo (we didn’t mean to write ‘Market’) – ‘maket’ is actually Russian for ‘model’.