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The Yuri Orlov Palaeontological Museum

The Yuri Orlov Palaeontological Museum in Moscow This is one of the most extensive natural history museums in the world, displaying the earth's flora and fauna from prehistoric times to the present day.

As you walk round the museum you'll be able to visualize the whole process of the evolution of life on earth - and get better acquainted with the very first inhabitants of the planet, some of whom are quite terrifying, even in skeletal form. Kids, of course - and adults, too - are particularly fond of the dinosaur hall, where you can see a number of skeletons of these extinct beasts who once dominated the earth. There is also a separate hall dedicated to the geological history of the Moscow region. There's also an impressive mammoth skeleton.

All together, there are six beautifully laid-out halls in the Palaeontological Museum, containing some of the rarest specimens of animal and plant life from several million years ago. This unique collection has over 5,000 exhibits, gathered by several generations of Russian scientists and explorers.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday - 10:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 18:45, closed Monday and Tuesday.

• SHORT HISTORY

The history of the museum goes back 1716, when Tsar Peter I opened the Kunstkamera in St Petersburg, which housed a collection of rare finds, including the teeth and bones of a mammoth. Exhibits from there became the foundations of the Geological Museum's collection.

During the Second World War, the museum's collection was shipped to Alma-Ata, but by 1944 the museum had already been restored and reopened to the public. Numerous palaeontological excavations added to the museum's collection, and in 1966 it was renamed in honour of the Russian explorer Yuri Orlov.

The building that houses the museum can truly be described as unique, not least because it shows a degree of imagination rarely seen in Soviet architecture. Its construction took more than twenty years, and involved workers from the Institute of Plaeontology, as well as a group of architects, construction engineers, designers and the best animal artists in Moscow. The red-brick building resembles something between a medieval castle and a Victorian power station, with a central interior courtyard surrounded by four exhibition spaces with adjoining towers at each corner.

• ADDRESS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Address: 123, Profsoyuznaya Ulitsa, Moscow, 117647, Russia
Telephone: +7 (495) 339-1500
Transport: From Teply Stan Metro station it's one stop on any form of transport, or 5-7 minutes on foot.

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