House on the Embankment

Nikolay Galkin/TASS
The monumental House on the Embankment is actually a complex of houses, built in 1931 for Soviet dignitaries and celebrities. Top-ranking officials, great scientists, great spies, musicians, writers and war heroes… The residents of nearly every apartment made a mark in Soviet history. The house was designed by a great architect, Boris Iofan, in the style of late Constructivism. Iofan personally oversaw the construction, double-checking every detail, down to the furniture and door knobs. The interiors were meticulously thought-out. There were murals, holes for the samovar pipe, and paper presses matching the felt of the table-top. The house was well stocked on all the vital supplies. In case of an emergency, the residents would be able to survive for a long time without leaving their flats. The complex had its own laundry, department store, cafeteria, gym and cinema. Many of the residents and their families were arrested during the years of political persecution under Stalin. There is a museum in their memory in the House on the Embankment, run by Olga Trifonova, the widow of writer Yury Trifonov, who coined the name "House on the Embankment," making it the title of one of his short novels.