Take a look at this picture of Hotel Moskva. It looks symmetrical, doesn’t it? The right side is the same as the left, right? WRONG. If you look more closely, you will see that many decorative elements are different on the two sides of the hotel.
Why would somebody design and build this strange structure? The answer lies in the same fear of the government that explained the thumb on the railroad in an earlier post.
So, what’s the story? Legend has it that Joseph Stalin, the tyrannical head of the Soviet Union, approved this design himself. The architect, Alexey Shchusev, prepared the final design and placed the two options on the same page for comparison. Stalin signed off on the design in the middle of the page. None of the architects dared asked Stalin which design he approved. Thus, the hotel was built as is, with the two different sides.