Hidden treasures in Russian universities

The MSU main building located on Sparrow hills in Moscow.

The MSU main building located on Sparrow hills in Moscow.

Lori/Legion Media
RBTH presents little-known facts about university campuses in Russia

Russian universities were traditionally given the best buildings in the city. Only in exceptional cases were campuses built in rural areas. RBTH presents interesting and little-known facts about university campuses in the country.

The main building of Lobachevsky University in Nizhny Novgorod. Source: Press Photo

1. The building of Lobachevsky University, which is located near the Novgorod Kremlin, was one of the best hotels of the city before the Bolshevik Revolution. Alexander Pushkin stayed there in 1833, as did the Decembrists on their way into the Siberian exile in the summer of 1826.

The main building of the Tomsk State University (TSU), Tomsk. Source: Press Photo

2. The main building of the Tomsk State University (TSU) – Russia's oldest university, east of the Urals – was designed with the assistance of chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev, who created the periodic table of elements.  It was announced at the International Seismological Congress in Manchester in 1911 that the geographical center of the Eurasian continent is in the campus.

The main building of ITMO University. Source: ITMO University's website

3. It is widely believed that the building of the ITMO University on Vasilyevsky Island in St. Petersburg, where merchant Grigory Eliseyev lived until the October Revolution, still holds hidden treasures.

The building has a lot of walled-up passages and hollow walls, where it is believed that Yeliseyev could have hidden his treasures before hastily leaving Russia in 1914. From 1918 to 1922, many attempts were made to find the treasures, but to no avail.

The water tower of the Peter the Great Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg. Source: Press Photo

4. The campus of the Peter the Great Polytechnic University in St. Petersburg, founded in 1899, was conceived as a self-contained complex like Oxford.

In the early 20th century, a horse-drawn railroad was built to the campus, which was then outside the city. Later, a single tram was launched, which became very popular among students. The latest building on the campus is a 43-meter water tower, which is higher than the famous Alexander Column.

 The campus of Far Eastern Federal University, Russky Island, Vladivostok. Source: Press Photo

5. The campus of Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island in Vladivostok – one of Russia's youngest – was built for the 2012 APEC summit.

 The building of Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk. Source: Press Photo

6. The campus of the Novosibirsk State University is located in a forest on the banks of the Ob River. Tourists come to the main building of the university not only to enjoy the fresh air, but also to sit on the so-called "crib bench."

The creators of the crib-shaped bench used to sit on it and work on scientific theories. The bench even has a drawer, for books and used materials.

 The building of MISiS University (National University of Science and Technology), Moscow. Source: Press Photo

7. One of the buildings of MISiS University (National University of Science and Technology) in Moscow, which now hosts a hostel for 600 students, is the Commune House, built by architect Ivan Nikolayev in 1932.

In 1964, it was transferred to the university and is now one of the few surviving buildings of constructivism. The building is undergoing repairs at the moment.

The building of Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg. Source: Press Photo

8. During World War II, the student hostel building of Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg was converted into a hospital. A railway line was laid to the campus to transport wounded soldiers and officers.

The Moscow State University, Moscow. Source: Lori/ Legion Media

9. The main building of Moscow State University on Vorobyovy Gory, or Sparrow Hills, in Moscow is the most famous university structure in Russia. Although the Moscow State University has numerous buildings throughout the city, most of its faculties are on Vorobyovy Gory.

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