If you are passionate about architecture we strongly recommend adding the Gorky museum in Moscow to your short list. An outstanding example of Russian Art Nouveau, this estate will certainly catch your eye by its unusual aesthetics of shape and form.
An outstanding design, especially in the Art Nouveau style, has always been a privilege of the rich and noble. Only they could afford these massive decorations such as stained glass, the intertwined bronze ornaments and an artwork inside and outside. The construction of such complex buildings involved big names of Russian art and architectural though of the beginning of 20th century. The former owner of the mansion Stepan Riabushinskiy commissioned the design of his house to the famous architect Franz Schechtel.
First of all, the idea was to reconcile the growing city with the nature by adding floral patterns to the façade and shaping the window frames as tree branches. Second, they wanted to hide the actual number of floors by structuring the windows in a special way.
The three floors of the mansion represent the underwater, the mundane and the heavenly worlds, all of them being connected by a wave-shaped spiral staircase which became the highlight of the interior design. And that is far from being all. According to the rumor the architect Schechtel designed a hidden stairway leading to a secret chapel inside the mansion. The reasons the landlords had to hide a chapel was that they belonged to the Christian branch of the old believers which was officially forbidden at that time, so to practice their own rituals they had to use their own chapel. Now you can discover it yourself!