The history of Expocentre is directly connected with the history of international exhibitions in this country.
It all started when the All-Union Chamber of Commerce (later renamed the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the USSR) added a Department of Foreign Exhibitions that was later transformed into a Division of International and Foreign Exhibitions in the USSR, which became the predecessor of Expocentre.
In the 1950s foreign business circles were interested in expansion of economic cooperation with the USSR. In 1959, Expocentre held the first American Exhibition in Sokolniki Park. On the area of 41,000 sqm visitors saw household appliances, equipment for city and public utilities, vehicles, etc. The exhibition was opened by Nikita Khrushchev and US Vice President Richard Nixon.
Soon there were held national exhibitions of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and other countries.
In 1964, Expocentre organized the first large-sale international event – Stroydormash – that showcased the latest road construction equipment. Its figures impress even now: 377 companies from 20 countries occupied 54,000 sqm. The exhibition was co-organized by the State Committee on Construction, Road and Municipal Machine Engineering under the USSR Gosstroy.
In the 1960s, the event program started taking shape. Two decades later it covered all main branches of the Soviet economy.
Among many projects that were brought to life in the 60s and 70s, the special place belongs to the Khimia International Exhibition for Chemical Industry and Science. It was launched in 1965 on the initiative of then Minister of the USSR Chemical Industry Leonid Kostandov. In 1975, Khimia became the first Russian event to receive the approval logo of UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
The success of Khimia was followed by other significant and large events such as Sviaz (communications), Lesdrevmash (timber industry), Elektro (electric industry), Neftegaz (oil and gas industries), Inlegmash (light industry), etc.
At that time the majority of exhibitions ran in the Sokolniki Park and other venues.
An ever-growing interest of foreign companies in participation in trade shows in Moscow resulted in a need for extra floor area. In the mid 1970s, Nikolai Patolichev, the USSR Minister of Foreign Trade, encouraged the USSR Chamber of Commerce and Industry to ask the Government to erect a new modern venue on the banks of the Moskva River next to Krasnaya Presnya Park.
The fist pavilion was opened in 1977. In January of 1978 it welcomed its first show, Derevoobrabotka (woodworking).
In the 1980s, the construction of Expocentre Fairgrounds at Krasnopresnenskaya embankment went into high gear. After Pavilion No. 1, appeared Pavilions Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and Forum. Forum is a unique building that looks like a glass pyramid; it has become Expocentre’s symbol.
In 2002, a new Pavilion No. 7 brought to life an idea of two-level exposition area with transforming halls. It allowed Expocentre to expand its convention services as this pavilion accommodates a conference hall seating 300 persons. It is even equipped to hold movie conventions.
In 2007 a new pavilion No.8 with the total space of 21,000 sq m was put into operation. It offers 12,000 sq m of exhibition area.
The pavilion also has a conference hall seating 300 people, halls for seminars and meeting rooms. It is the most technologically advanced exhibition pavilion in Russia. Its halls meet the most demanding acoustic requirements suitable even for symphony concerts. A system of walkways made this pavilion part of a group of previously constructed pavilions Nos.2, 3, 7 and Forum. As a result, we have created a single space that combines show, congress, recreational and transit areas on the ground level of the fairgrounds. We also added new cloakrooms and cafes. It makes working and visiting much more comfortable.
Expocentre Fairgrounds and the Moscow City Business Centre are located in the same neighborhood, which makes events held at the venue especially relevant. The company and its shows are internationally recognized. Today, most events proudly bear the UFI logo: Khimia (chemical industry), Zdravookhraneniye (health care), Prodexpo (foodstuffs and beverages), Mebel (furniture), Lesdrevmash (timber industry), Metalloobrabotka (metalworking), Technoforum (Equipment and Technology for Construction Materials Processing), Agroprodmash (agriculture and food processing), Sviaz (telecommunications), Elektro (electric industry), Inlegmash (light industry), Mir Stekla (glass industry), Navitech (navigation systems, technologies and services), Neftegaz (oil and gas), Mir Detstva (goods for children), Obuv. Mir Kozhi (shoes and leather products), Reklama (advertising), Photonics. The World of Lasers and Optics, Interlakokraska (paints and coatings), CJF (child and junior fashion) and Healthy Life-style, Tires & Rubber, 5pEXPO.