Moscow Orphanage

Moscow, Russia

Moscow Orphanage

The Moscow Orphanage or Foundling Home (Russian: Воспитательный дом в Москве) was an ambitious project conceived by Catherine the Great and Ivan Betskoy, in the early 1760s. This idealistic experiment of the Age of Enlightenment was intended to manufacture "ideal citizens" for the Russian state by bringing up thousands of abandoned children to a very high standard of refinement, cultivation, and professional qualifications. Despite more than adequate staffing and financing, the Orphanage was plagued by high infant mortality and ultimately failed as a social institution.

The main building, one of the earliest and largest Neoclassical structures in the city, occupies a large portion of Moskvoretskaya Embankment between the Kremlin and Yauza River, boasting a 379-metre frontage on Moskva River. The complex was built in three stages over two centuries, from Karl Blank's master plan (1767) to its complete implementation in the 1940s. Today, the ensemble of the Orphanage houses the Academy of Missile Forces and Russian Academy of Medicine.

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