Moscow’s Zaryadye Park and The Red Square. © Alexander Vilf / Sputnik

Moscow’s Zaryadye Park has landed a spot on TIME’s “World’s Greatest Places” list, with the magazine highlighting its boomerang-shaped bridge and ice cave. It’s the first large-scale public park to be built in Moscow in 50 years.

The park, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro –the same architects behind New York’s High Line– in collaboration with Hargreaves Associates and Citymakers, has hosted nearly 10 million people since opening in September 2017. 

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The park is best known for its 70-meter overlook bridge which hangs above the Moscow River, offering brilliant views of the Kremlin and Red Square. Visitors are also treated to a concert hall and ice cave, along with an underground archaeology museum, a floral greenhouse, and an open-air amphitheater.

It’s also possible to take a trip around Russia without ever leaving Moscow, as the park offers four zones which represent Moscow’s major geographic zones – tundra, steppe, forest, and wetlands.

But the park isn’t just a pretty place to visit. It’s also significant because it has transformed an area which has a bumpy historic past. The area, which for centuries was a booming trade center right next to the Kremlin, was abandoned when Peter the Great moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg in 1712, and later became clogged with sewage when fortifications were built along the river in the 18th century. It later became the site of a Jewish enclave, and most recently was home to the Hotel Rossiya, which was demolished in 2006 so that developers could build luxury apartments. However, that project was ultimately abandoned.

TIME isn’t the first to recognize Zaryadye Park’s unique merits; one of the biggest architectural projects to be completed in Moscow since the fall of the Soviet Union, it was also crowned the winner of ArchDaily’s ‘Building of the Year’ awards, in the category of ‘Public Architecture,’ in February. 

The park has lately attracted attention for reasons barely related to architecture or design. It’s become a favored spot for couples looking to have sex in the open air – and the Moscow’s chief architect, seemingly happy about the new-found popularity, said they have tapes to prove it. 

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