ZamoskvorechyeRussian: Zamoskvoreche or Замоскворечье is a vast and exceptionally interesting district south of the Kremlin, where outstanding historical landmarks, such as the Resurrection Church in KadashiRussian: hram Voskreseniya Hristova v Kadashah or храм Воскресения Христова в Кадашах, St. Kliment’s ChurchRussian: tserkov Klimenta papy Rimskogo or церковь Климента папы Римского, the State Tretyakov GalleryRussian: Tretyakovskaya galereya or Третьяковская галерея, the Church of St. Gregory of Neo-CaesareaRussian: hram Georgiya Neokessariyskogo or храм Георгия Неокессарийского and many others still stand today. This is a favourite place for Muscovites’ to go for a stroll. Many streets and lanes have undergone large-scale reconstruction and now feature broad sidewalks, stylish lanterns, benches and cycling lanes. Numerous restaurants, cafés and pubs are open to visitors in the vicinity.
ZAMOSKVORECHYE: ‘A MOSCOW WITHIN MOSCOW’
Back in medieval times, Muscovites avoided settling beyond the Moskva RiverRussian: Moskva-reka or Москва-река, since Crimean Tatarsa Turkic ethnic group that formed in the Crimean Peninsula during the 13th–17th centuries’ raids made living there too perilous. The names of this district’s oldest streets, Bolshaya and Malaya OrdynkaRussian: Bolshaya i Malaya Ordynka or Большая и Малая Ордынка, revive the memories of the road to the Golden Hordea Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire that once ran through Zamoskvorechye.
The Tatar QuarterRussian: Tatarskaya sloboda or Татарская слобода, once inhabited by Tatar ambassadors and their staff, is located in the vicinity of the present-day Bolshaya Tatarskaya StreetRussian: Bolshaya Tatarskaya ulitsa or Большая Татарская улица. Their documents, written in a Turkic language, were translated by tolmachi, or translators, hence the names of Tolmachyovskiye LanesRussian: Tolmachyovskie pereulki or Толмачёвские переулки in Zamoskvorechye. Streltsyarmed Russian guardsmen who protected Moscow from Tatar invasions in the 16th to early 18th century, also lived in this neighbourhood. Their weapons were forged not far from here, in the Novaya Kuznetskaya QuarterRussian: Novaya Kuznetskaya sloboda or Новая Кузнецкая слобода, whose memory lives on in the names of Novokuznetskaya StreetRussian: Novokuznetskaya ulitsa or Новокузнецкая улица and NovokuznetskayaRussian: Новокузнецкая Metro Station.
The tsar’s gardeners who took care of the Tsar’s GardenRussian: Gosudarev sad or Государев сад, a vast park beyond the Moskva River, lived opposite the Kremlin in the 16th and 17th centuries. They even managed to grow melons in the local greenhouses. The Tsar’s Garden disappeared over 300 years ago, but the names of Sadovnicheskaya StreetRussian: Sadovnicheskaya ulitsa or Садовническая улица and Sadovnicheskaya EmbankmentRussian: Sadovnicheskaya naberezhnaya or Садовническая набережная remind us of the gardens that once bloomed here. The Tatars stopped bothering Moscow in the 17th century, and craftsmen – blacksmiths, weavers and even minters – started to settle in Zamoskvorechye. The Kadashi QuarterRussian: Kadashevskaya sloboda or Кадашевская слобода is the best-known quarter here. Local weavers wove cloths for the tsar’s court and were extremely wealthy, as demonstrated by the sumptuous Resurrection Church in Kadashi. Kadashevsky and Monetchikovsky LanesRussian: Kadashevskie i Monetchikovskie pereulki or Кадашевские и Монетчиковские переулки as well as the Ovchinnikovskaya EmbankmentRussian: Ovchinnikovskaya naberezhnaya or Овчинниковская набережная reminiscent of these old Moscow quarters.
Merchants were drawn to this neighbourhood in the 18th and 19thcenturies. The Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky, who was born and grew up in a house located on Malaya Ordynka Streeet in Zamoskvorechye, gave a vivid description of the life of a merchant in his literary works. Aleksey Bakhrushin and Pavel Tretyakov, great connoisseurs and ardent collectors of Russian art, were also born into merchant families in Zamoskvorechye, and their former mansions now house the Theatre MuseumRussian: Teatralnyi muzey or Театральный музей and the world-famous Tretyakov Art Gallery, respectively.
Zamoskovrechye did not escape the destiny of other Moscow districts in the 20th century, namely reconstructions, additions and demolitions. A master plan conceived in 1935 was intended to reconstruct a missing section of the Boulevard RingRussian: Bulvarnoe koltso or Бульварное кольцо and to sweep away the cozy lanes and courtyards between Pyatnitskaya and Yakimanka StreetsRussian: ulitsy Pyatnitskaya i Yakimanka or улицы Пятницкая и Якиманка. WWII interfered with these plans, but the traces of ‘Stalin’s ring’ are still there, including the Sadovnichesky DrivewayRussian: Sadovnicheskiy proezd or Садовнический проезд lined with buildings from the Stalin Era, the RadiodomRussian: Радиодом (Radio House) and the Writers HouseRussian: Dom pisateley or Дом писателей which ended up being built in the spot where the ring was originally supposed to be. Zamoskvorechye suffered the most in the 1970s and 1980s, when Yakimanka Street was turned into a wide avenue.
Today, Zamoskvorechye is one the few districts in Moscow where you can still see trams; the infamous “AnnushkaRussian: Аннушка” (tram №А) and tram №39 which goes from Clean PondsRussian: Chistye prudy or Чистые пруды right to the Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityRussian: Moskovskiy gosudarstvennyi universitet imeni Lomonosova or Московский государственный университет имени Ломоносова.
POLYANKA AND YAKIMANKA
At first glance, Yakimanka Street is no different to any modern street in any residential neighbourhood, but if you take a closer look at it, you will see the Church of St. John the Warrior Russian: Hram Ioanna Voina or Храм Иоанна Воина (46, Bolshaya Yakimanka StreetRussian: ulitsa Bolshaya Yakimanka or улица Большая Якиманка), a remarkable architectural monument in the Petrine Baroquea bewildering mixture of Italian Baroque, early French Rococo and Neoclassicism, Dutch civil architecture and several other styles and movements style built by Ivan Zarudny, who also constructed the renowned Menshikov’s TowerRussian: Menshikova bashnya or Меншикова башня, otherwise known as the Church of the Archangel Gabriel on the Clean PondsRussian: hram Arhangela Gavriila na Chistyih prudah or храм Архангела Гавриила на Чистых прудах. These two churches have a lot in common: moldings, volutes, balconies with balustrades and round lucarne windows. In 1928, an 18th-century Baroque iconostasis was transferred here from the dismantled Church of Three Holy Hierarchs by the Red GateRussian: Tserkov Tryoh svyatiteley u Krasnyih Vorot or Церковь Трех святителей у Красных Ворот.
A two-storey stone palace with cross-vaults, turrets, hipped roofs and tiles is located opposite the Church of St. John the Warrior. It was owned by Nikolay Igumnov, a rich merchant from Yaroslavla city located 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, who decided, in 1895, to have a mansion built in keeping with the spirit of the fabulous 17th-century uzorochyeRussian architectural style of the 17th century characterized by intricate forms, an abundance of decor, and the complexity of the composition architectural style. This pseudo-Russian style was extremely popular at the time; it was used in the construction of the Historical and Polytechnic MuseumsRussian: Istoricheskiy i Politehnicheskiy muzei or Исторический и Политехнический музеи, the Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812Russian: Muzey voyny 1812 goda or Музей войны 1812 года, as well as the Upper Trading RowsRussian: Verhnie torgovye ryady or Верхние торговые ряды and GUMRussian: ГУМ. Today, the mansion houses the Embassy of France.
Polyanka StreetRussian: ulitsa Polyanka or улица Полянка had better luck than Yakimanka Street, since it has been neither expanded nor destroyed. It features one of Moscow’s most beautiful churches, the Church of St. Gregory of Neo-CaesareaRussian: Hram Grigoriya Neokesariyskogo or Храм Григория Неокесарийского (29A, Bolshaya Polyanka StreetRussian: ulitsa Bolshaya Polyanka or улица Большая Полянка), whose icons were painted by the legendary 17th-century painter Simon Ushakov. Built in the uzorochye style, it is decorated with glazed tiles, a tent-shaped bell-tower and a plethora of gables. Upon the completion of the restoration works, a chiming clock which rang with an hourly prayer was installed on the bell-tower.
THE KADASHI NEIGHBOURHOOD AND LAVRUSHINKSY LANE
If you go round the Church of St. Gregory of Neo-Caesarea, along Staromonetny LaneRussian: Staromonetnyi pereulok or Старомонетный переулок, you will see the domes of the Church of St. Nicholas in TolmachiRussian: tserkov Nikoly v Tolmachah or церковь Николы в Толмачах. Going in the direction of the church along Bolshoy Tolmachovsky LaneRussian: Bolshoy Tolmachyovskiy pereulok or Большой Толмачёвский переулок, you will notice the gate of the Demidov MansionRussian: usadba Demidovyh or усадьба Демидовых (3, Bolshoy Tolmachovsky Lane), which belonged to a family of Russian magnates of the metal industry. The philosopher Vladimir Solovyov called this house, “an aristocratic oasis in the midst of merchant Zamoskvorechye”. The mansion’s cast iron fence was forged in the 18th century at one of the plants owned by the Demidovs. The building itself, decorated with bas-reliefs and round medallions is an outstanding example of late 18th-century Russian classicism. The building is now home to a library.
Leaving the Demidov House behind you, walk along Lavrushinsky LaneRussian: Lavrushinskiy pereulok or Лаврушинский переулок. This lane is renowned throughout the world for the Tretyakov Art Gallery, neighboured by a huge grey Stalin-era building (17, Lavrushinsky Lane), which was built for Soviet writers in 1937 on the red line of what was intended to be the Zamoskvoretsky section of the Boulevard Ring. Ilya Ilf, Yevgeni Petrova literary tandem of two Soviet prose authors of the 1920s and 1930s, Boris Pasternaka Soviet Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, Konstantin Paustovskya Russian Soviet writer nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature in 1965, Agniya Bartoa Soviet poet and children's writer and many other writers had apartments there. Make sure you take a look under the arch at the surviving 17th-century stone palace located in the courtyard of the Writers House.
The Tretyakov Art Gallery (10, Lavrushinsky Lane) is the heart of Lavrushinsky Lane. Its main collection is housed in a mansion owned by the Tretyakov family, who donated it to the city. The ornate annex, reminiscent of Russian fairytale palaces, was designed by painter Viktor Vasnetsova Russian artist who specialized in mythological and historical subjects and built by Alexander Kalmykov between 1902 and 1904. The Corps of EngineersRussian: Inzhenernyi korpus or Инженерный корпус, also located in Lavrushinsky Lane, hosts temporary exhibitions. The Resurrection Church in KadashiRussian: Hram Voskresheniya Hristova v Kadashah or Храм Воскрешения Христова в Кадашах (Building 4, 7, 2nd Kadashevsky LaneRussian: 2-oy Kadashevskiy pereulok or 2-ой Кадашевский переулок), a masterpiece of Russian architecture, is only a five-minute walk from the Tretyakov Art Gallery. Window frames carved in white stone, gables and portals contrasting with brick walls convey a feeling of lightness typical of churches built in the so-called Naryshkin Baroque stylea particular style of Baroque architecture and decoration which was fashionable in Moscow from the turn of the 17th into the early 18th centuries. The Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in FiliRussian: Tserkov Pokrova v Filyah or Церковь Покрова в Филях is another example of this architectural style. The church’s 43-meter-high bell-tower offers a magnificent view of the Kremlin and of Zamoskvorechye. A museum dedicated to the history of the Kadashi Quarter is located next to the church.
BOLSHAYA AND MALAYA ORDYNKA STREETS
Bolshaya and Malaya Ordynka are two old streets in Zamoskvorechye that once led to the Golden Horde. Today, it is a quiet neighbourhood with many ancient churches and mansions. The Church of the Consolation of All SorrowsRussian: Hram Ikony Bozhiey Materi «Vseh skorbyaschih Radost» or Храм Иконы Божией Матери «Всех скорбящих Радость» (20, Bolshaya Ordynka Street), a masterpiece of Moscow classicism built by renowned architects Vassily Bazhenov and Osip Bove, is located in the vicinity of the Tretyakov Art Gallery. Bazhenov erected the bell-tower and the refectory, while Bove worked on the church designed as a rotunda edged with a plaster frieze. The church retains much of its original décor.
The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in PyzhiRussian: Hram Svyatitelya Nikolaya v Pyzhah or Храм Святителя Николая в Пыжах (Building 1, 27A/8, Bolshaya Ordynka Street) is located further along Bolshaya Ordynka Street. PyzhiRussian: Пыжи was once a small quarter inhabited by streltsythe units of Russian guardsmen from the 16th to the early 18th centuries, armed with firearms. It was named after Colonel Bogdan Pyzhov. The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra on Ordynka Street is a fine example of 17th-century Moscow uzorochye architectural style featuring carved window frames, decorative gables and a tent-shaped bell-tower.
The Marfo-Mariinsky ConventRussian: Marfo-Mariinskaya obitel or Марфо-Мариинская обитель is just around the corner from the Church of St. Nicholas. It was founded by Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna, the widow of Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich of Russia, Governor General of Moscow, who was assassinated by terrorists in 1905. The sisters at the convent aim to meet the needs of the poor, sick and homeless. The Church of the Intercession of the Holy VirginRussian: hram Pokrova or храм Покрова, a rare example of Art Modern in Russian church architecture reminiscent of medieval churches of Novgorodduring the 14th century, the city was the capital of the Novgorod Republic and one of Europe's largest cities and Pskova city located about 20 kilometers east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River, stands in the middle of the convent. Russian painter Mikhail Nesterovone of the first exponents of Symbolist art in Russia, best known for his work The Vision to the Youth Bartholomew, painted the walls of the church.
A stroll along Ordynka Street would not be complete without a visit to the house museum dedicated to the 19th-century Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. He was born in 1823 in a small wooden house (9/12, Malaya Ordynka Street). Merchants and poor nobles had such houses built for themselves in the aftermath of the 1812 Fire of Moscowduring the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812. Today, paying a visit to this museum with its wooden stairs, upholstered in red velvet and creaky floorboards is the best way to plunge into the Zamoskvorechye of antiquity.
Pyatnitskaya StreetRussian: Pyatnitskaya ulitsa or Пятницкая улица was the main commercial street of Zamoskvorechye in ancient times. It was named after the Church of St. ParaskeviRussian: Tserkov Svyatoy Paraskevy Pyatnitsy or Церковь Святой Параскевы Пятницы, considered to be the patron saint of merchants. The church was dismantled in 1935, and the site is currently occupied by the entrance hall of Novokuznetskaya Metro Station.
The cozy Chernigovsky LaneRussian: Chernigovskiy pereulok or Черниговский переулок branches off to the right from the very start of Pyatnitskaya Street and features two surviving sanctuaries, the Church of Saints Mikhail and Fyodor of ChernigovRussian: Tserkov Mihaila i Fyodora Chernigovskih or Церковь Михаила и Фёдора Черниговских (3, Chernigovsky Lane) and the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist near the ForestRussian: Tserkov Useknoveniya Glavy Ioanna Predtechi pod Borom or Церковь Усекновения Главы Иоанна Предтечи под Бором (Building 1, 4/2 Pyatnitskaya Street). The former church was erected in 1572 on the site where, according to legend, the Muscovites met the relics of Princes Mikhail and Fyodor of Chernigov who had become martyrs for their everlasting belief in the Christian faith. The church was rebuilt in stone in 1675 and it is yet another fine example of the Moscow uzorochye style.
Its name shows that the surrounding area, uninhabited at the time, was still covered with pine forest back in the 16th century when Italian architect Aloisio the New built the first church on this site.
St. Kliment’s ChurchRussian: Tserkov Klimenta Papy Rimskogo or Церковь Климента Папы Римского (Building 1, 26, Pyatnitskaya Street) is most unusual. In 1612, Minin and Pozharskythey gathered an all-Russian volunteer army and expelled the forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Moscow’s Russian militia defeated the joint Polish and Lithuanian army near this then-wooden church, an event which marked the liberation of Moscow. A sumptuous Baroque-style church complete with a refectory and a bell-tower was built here between 1756 and 1769. It is not precisely known who created this masterpiece, however historians credit either Pietro Trezzini, Ivan Yakovlev or Karl Blank with building this church. The original Baroque iconostasis and frescoes decorating the interiors of the church and the iron cast fence on the outside have survived to this day.
The well-known “house with lionsRussian: dom so lvami or дом со львами”, a mansion owned by the Rökk family (64, Pyatnitskaya Street), is located in the very end of Pyatnitskaya Street. It was constructed in an eclectic manner by Sergey Shervud, son of Vladimir Shervud who built the State Historical MuseumRussian: Istoricheskiy muzey or Исторический музей. The left wing embellished with caryatids and round lucarne windows follows the Baroque style, while the right wing featuring a protruding Corinthian porсh with lions on it dates is built in the late Classicism or Empire style.
There are many residential buildings, pharmacies and supermarkets here, and the only tram in Zamoskvorechye runs through this bustling Moscow neighbourhood. A house affectionately referred to as “drunken” by Muscovites because of its unusual shape is located in the middle of the street (Building 1, 13, Novokuznetskaya Street). The well-known Soviet comedy Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future was filmed in this experimental 13-storey residential house built by V. Yavorsky.
At the intersection of Novokuznetskaya Street and Pervy Novokuznetsky LaneRussian: 1-y Novokuznetskiy pereulok or 1-ый Новокузнецкий переулок, you can see what Moscow districts looked like 150 years ago. A merchant’s house (Building 1, 26, Novokuznetskaya Street) is worth a glance; merchants usually had their shops and warehouses on the first floor, and these were built with brick. The second floor, where they lived, was built of wood. These semi-stone houses were very popular in 19th-century Moscow among merchants, but they are almost all gone now.
A particularly distinctive blue mansion stands on the opposite side of the street (Building 1, 27/6, Novokuznetskaya Street). Before the Russian Revolutionin 1917, it belonged to K. Bakhrushin, a member of a renowned Moscow family of merchants and patrons of the arts. This house is decorated with fretwork, marble stairs and a lovely garden. The landscaping was done by Karl Gippius between 1895 and 1896. It now houses the Public Prosecution OfficeRussian: gorodskaya prokuratura or городская прокуратура of the City of Moscow. The best-known of Bakhrushin’s mansions is located a few steps away from Novokuznetskaya Street (31/12, Bakhrushina StreetRussian: ulitsa Bahrushina or улица Бахрушина). Built in the last years of the 19th century, it looks like an old castle and houses the Theatre MuseumRussian: Teatralnyi muzey or Театральный музей created by A. Bakhrushin, in whose personal house the museum was built.