On the territory of the Levoberezhny district of Moscow, there is an amazing Friendship Park (the nearest metro station is Rechnoy Vokzal).
The park was founded in 1957 by delegates of the VI World Festival of Youth and Students. The ceremony was attended by several thousand guests and foreign delegations, who planted trees together as a sign of agreement and cooperation. In the 50s. last century in different European cities (Prague, Budapest, Berlin, Warsaw) has become a tradition – to hold a festival of youth and students, planting trees in these cities. The Friendship Alley was planted in Warsaw, and here in Moscow they decided to build the Friendship Park.
The development of the park project was entrusted to the young architect Valentin Ivanov, Galina Yezhova and Anatoly Savin. The site for the park has not yet been chosen. There were several options. One of the options for choosing a place is Poklonnaya Gora, but then we settled on the option to set up a park opposite the Khimki River Station (now the Northern River Station).
For the festival, an emblem was invented – a chamomile.
The author of the emblem was the artist Konstantin Kuzginov. He worked on sketches in the country and at that time daisies were blooming. The core of the flower reminded him of the globe, and the petals – 5 continents – Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australia. The symbol of the festival is also the dove of peace – a drawing by Pablo Picasso, although it was created before the Moscow festival.
It was decided to make the layout of the park free in a landscape style, which was supposed to reflect the future festival of youth. Along the rhombus formed by 2 alleys leading from the main square, it was decided to place 5 areas, united by walking paths. Each site was supposed to have a sculptural composition, consonant with each continent, unfortunately, this was not done, and more than 50 years later, memorial signs, sculptures of domestic and foreign sculptors, not foreseen by the project and completely unrelated to the theme of the park, appear in the park.
On August 1, 1957, the park was laid down.
For many festival guests, spruce and birch trees were exotic plants. During planting, it started raining and the next day, journalists wrote that nature itself helped plant the park.
In the central part of the Druzhba Park there is a sculptural composition “Friendship” or “Festival Flower”, which was installed in 1985. A young man and a girl with olive branches in their hands release pigeons to all ends of the world (in Luzhniki, at the opening of the festival, 40 thousand pigeons were released). In the granite base of the composition, in the shape of a medal, 5 bronze circles are inserted according to the number of continents on which a dove is engraved.
Also in the central square of the park there is a monument to the Hungarian-Soviet friendship. This is a copy of the Hungarian monument erected in Budapest in 1975 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Hungary from the Nazi invaders. The monument is faced with pyrogranite tiles, which are made in the Hungarian city of Pécs.
In the park there is a bronze sculptural composition of the Finnish sculpture “Children of the World” by Antti Neuvonin, installed in 1990.
The composition consists of 3 figures of a mother, a father with a baby in his arms and a teenager. It was donated by the USSR in response to the donated sculptural composition installed in the Friendship Park in Helsinki.
In Friendship Park you can see the sculptural compositions “Fertility” and “Bread”, made according to the sketches of Vera Mukhina, the famous author of the sculptural group “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” at VDNKh.
An interesting sculpture in the park is the monument to Miguel Cervantes, the author of the novel Don Quixote. In 1981, during the days of Madrid in Moscow, a monument was opened – a copy of the work of Antonio Sola (1835). Vandals constantly break off Don Quixote’s sword. And in 1990, a monument was erected to the famous Indian writer, poet, composer, artist and public figure Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The monument to Manas the Magnanimous is a gift from Kyrgyzstan, which was installed in the park in 2012.
Manas (9th century) is a national hero of Kyrgyzstan, a hero who united the Kirghiz, the hero of the world’s most voluminous epic.
In 2019, the park was reconstructed. Out of 51 hectares, which is occupied by the capital’s park of Friendship, reconstruction has affected more than 40 hectares. The park has undergone significant changes. For lovers of outdoor activities, sports grounds have appeared, for children there are several play areas. The update also affected the area around the Festival Ponds. This pond system dates back to the 17th century. Space was cleared for a temporary scene, and there were more flower beds. On the central square there is a cascade of flower beds with a path in the middle – “flower river”
Friendship Park is a great place to walk and relax.