This striking building in Moscow, Russia, is nicknamed for the fantastic animals that frolic amid a swath of its front-facing wall—familiar critters like owls and ducks alongside make-believe beasts from chimeras to dragons.
Fittingly, the locals have taken to calling the building the “House with Animals,” as its terracotta bas-relief is crammed with a collection of curious creatures. Against the backdrop of soft blue-green paint, the white figures look as though they belong in a gallery rather than on the streets of Moscow, and they’re sure to stop any passerby.
The team of artists behind the facade based the beings in their imaginative herd on a relief housed within a medieval cathedral in Vladimir. However, rather than strictly mimicking the older artwork, they added a 20th-century Art Nouveau twist and made the animals look larger and more grotesque.
When the house was built in the early 1900s, it was intended accommodate parishioners from the church that helped fund its construction. After World War II the building was expanded, and two more floors were added. Unfortunately, the additions destroyed part of its bas-relief. Now the building houses various companies and offices. The terracotta creatures that did survive are listed as objects of cultural heritage.
Know Before You Go
The closest metro station is Chistye Prudy.