During Soviet times it was the Exhibition of Achievements of the People’s Economy. VDNKh was one of the first places I visited when I arrived in 2008. All the pavilions were filled with rundown kiosks, penned in ornery sales folk, and cheap wares, which must have made Lenin squirm a bit in his embalmed Marxist state on Red Square.
Having just reached its 75th anniversary, the local authorities have spruced it up well. All the cruddy kiosks have been replaced with cultural exhibits and businesses from a few of the respective ex-republics – Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus. There are also pavilions dedicated to space, agriculture, academia, etc. Most of them have been finished, but many are still in the process of modernization.
According to the official website, negotiations are ongoing about opening pavilions for the Azerbaijan Republic, the Republic of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the Volga and Central Federal Districts of the Russian Federation.
A very popular place for a traditional Russian ‘stroll’ – cruising at top speeds of .5 mph, holding hands (for couples or girls, not boys) or locked arms, setting the world to right – having a shashlik and breaking out your roller blades (yes, still outrageously popular here). A huge area, so some sort of wheeled device is important. Skateboards are becoming hugely popular here for such purposes.
You will probably leave with is a strange desire to eat wheat and go to space.