a bird and a bottle

The World’s Only Municipal Haunted House
March 18, 2007, 2:11 pm
Filed under: frivolity, me, Uncategorized, wider world

The World’s Only Municipal Haunted House. That’s what G — SF’s friend with whom we stayed in Moscow — called Lenin’s tomb, the huge black granite monument to the early Communist leader. Apparently, Lenin was virtually mummified despite his wishes, and became what one website calls “Russia’s Statue of Liberty.” Right. Anyway, Lenin wanted to be buried in a much more discreetly:

When Lenin died of a stroke and heart attack on Jan. 21, 1924, his widow said he’d wished to be buried next to his mother in a simple cemetery plot. But the communist elite had other ideas.

They originally planned to freeze their beloved leader, but his body began to deteriorate badly as a super-freezer was being built. Instead, using an untested chemical process, Lenin was embalmed and his skin carefully treated to preserve a lifelike appearance.

The giant sarcophagus sits on side of Red Square, in front of the Kremlin’s outer wall.

lenin’s tomb

Behind the tomb, past Russian leaders, including Stalin, are buried and have statues in their honor. Year round, huge wreaths of flowers ring Stalin’s grave (this goes back to the common Russian sentiment I mentioned in an earlier post — he didn’t really kill all those people, or if he did, it was for the good of the country).

Inside, it is all black granite and few lights, Soldiers every 10 feet or so keep you moving (no stopping, no photos). Lenin lies there in a black suit, one fist clenched in Communist salute.


The photo doesn’t quite do it justice, but it’s the best one available, and after two metal detectors and 2 pat-downs, I definitely couldn’t take any of my own. When we were there, it was much darker — so much so that I didn’t know there were red lightning bolts around the walls — and the looming guards only heightened the haunted house feel.

Here’s a close-up of the man himself:

lenin closeup

Understand now why it’s creepy?

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

this is so creepy. and ironic. lenin’s tomb is located opposite a high end shopping mall where you’re much more likely to find the perfect little black dress than a little red book.
the revolution will be charged to your credit card…

Comment by professorplum

that’s crazy. i can just imagine the communist elite scurrying around looking for a freezer. very dr. strangelove (which, was maybe more historical fiction than satire, eh?)

Comment by maxwell

that’s the thing — being there, I really felt like Dr. Strangelove, even if it is only a satire, was touching a nerve. Also, the fact that Lenin lies for eternity across from Louis Vuitton is an irony that has got to make you smile.

Comment by bean

[…] Bead – For the christian right, gay-hating is just the start …Who also has a post up about a haunted municipal house, which is entertaining as […]

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