Hg2 : The Hedonist

Panfilov Park

First established by the Russians in the late 19th-century, Panfilov is a green lung in the middle of the city with broad, tree-lined avenues and attractive landscaping. The park’s focal point is a huge monolithic war memorial devoted to the 28 Heroes of the Panfilov Division, with two vast black statues depicting the square-jawed soliders who reputedly gave their lives in the defence of Moscow against the Nazis in November 1941. All were posthumously awarded the accolade of Hero of the Soviet Union and a separate avenue is lined with memorials etched with the names of each soldier. An eternal flame acts as a memorial to all Kazakhstanis who lost their lives during the ‘Great Patriotic War’, and there is a further memorial statue to those who died more recently fighting for the USSR in Afghanistan. The statues act as both a focal point for the annual Victory Day commemorations on 9th May and as a place of pilgrimage for newlyweds, who descend in droves to take pictures and for brides to symbolically place their bouquets on the memorial. Look out for the white limos that are the pre¬ferred matrimonial mode of transport. The jingoistic mood the Soviets must have been aiming for when creating the memorial is further compounded by the equally bulky 1970s House of Officers further to the east. For a more spiritual Panfilov experience, head to the picturesque Ascension Cathedral, whose spectacular domes can be seen above the tree-line; or discover the country’s musical history with a visit to the the Museum of National Musical Instruments, the small wooden construction slightly to the north of the war memorial. Simply strolling through the park is in itself a pleasant and illuminating experience at any time of year.

Dostyk Avenue and Gogol Street
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