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A majestic snow-white building stands atop the Vagankovsky hill, across the road from the Borovitskaya Kremlin Tower. It's Pashkov's House, with an elaborate colonnade and stairway - one of Moscow's most famous buildings.
Pashkov's House is one of the most attractive and celebrated buildings in Moscow. It was built in the 1780s for an officer of the Semyonov Life-Guard, Pyotr Pashkov – son of a former adjutant of Tsar Peter the Great. The Pashkovs numbered among Russia's wealthiest nobles. This wealth had been steadily accumulated by judicious and fortuitous marriages into Russia's prosperous merchant class - offering their daughters the social advantages of noble blood.
According to legend this great mansion was built by legendary architect Bazhenov - out of motives of revenge against Empress Catherine II. He had fallen from Her Majesty's favour and been sidelined – his projects for the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Tsaritsino Palace Estate had been frozen. The root cause was Bazhenov's attempt to join the Masonic Lodge headed by Catherine's son, Crown Prince Paul – whom she utterly detested. In breach of every last gasp of protocol, Bazhenov built the mansion here showing its backside to the Kremlin – the main entrance was planned from Starovagankovsky lane, on the other side. The main staircase was originally built there – and only moved around to the Kremlin side in the 1930s, during the Soviet era.
Pashkov's House was a city landmark from the very outset. Its image appeared in landscape paintings, on postage stamps, calendars, and even turned up on matchboxes and chocolate wrappers. The house itself – and the hill on which it sits – became enmeshed in legend and story. While archaeological work was being conducted, they uncovered a well of white marble, a whole 6 metres in diameter, and descending a full 15 metres into Vagankovsky Hill. A few historians even suggested that it wasn't a well, but part of a system of tunnels built by Tsar Ivan the Terrible to connect nearby areas of importance with the Kremlin. However, further research showed that it was part of the Moscow city water supply, and records showed there had been a well located on the hillside since the latter C18th.
Pashkov's House was badly damaged during the fires that preceded Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in 1812. The house changed quite a lot during the restorations. The English Garden surrounding the house slowly disappeared – it had once had a pond with rare birds and strange beasts, according to contemporary sources. When Mokhovaya street was widened in the C20th, they knocked down the row of Tuscan marble columns which had once lined the street entrance – a few are still left at Znamenka street. The last private owner of the house was a granddaughter of Pashkov's cousin. In 1921 the building was confiscated by the Soviet state, and became a building of the State Public Library. It's now owned by the National Library of Russia.
Moscow is the capital of the ancient and modern Russian state. It has been playing crucial role for centuries. Here you can face all episodes of rich and gorgeous Russian history.
The city is full of historical buildings, monuments, cathedrals, museums and parks. It started many centuries ago from the Kremlin – medieval city-fortress overlooking the Moskva River. Now it is not only the government seat but open air museum. Behind the tall red brick walls palaces, cathedrals and museums are hidden. You can get there through one of the gates and walk along the streets that saw Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter the Great and all other Romanovs, and the Soviet leaders.
You can visit all the cathedrals on Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square, climb Ivan the Great Bell Tower, take photos of the Tzar Bell and Tzar Cannon, see state regalia, ceremonial vestments and gold and silver relics in the world-known treasury-house – the Armoury Chamber. To say more, the Kremlin and its vicinities are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
We would like to advise you not to concentrate on the Kremlin only. Now you can get out of the Kremlin through the Spasskiye Gate and find yourself on Red Square – the main square of the country where Victory Day parades take place. In winter there is a skating rink with some kind of souvenir bazar. Red Square is famous for being the part of so called Kitai-Gorod – the second ring of fortified walls. Here you will see the beautiful fairy-tale St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is open for tourists and it’s worth visiting. Other places that pay tourists’ attention are GUM (the main center for shopaholics), Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State History Museum and the small Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady. If you go along Nikolskaya Street, you will get to Lubyanka Square with the imposing buildings of former KGB and the biggest in Russia Children's World Department Store.
If you decide to go through the Resurrection Gate you will find yourself on Manezhnaya (Manege) Square at the entrance to the Alexander Garden. It’s a large pedestrian open space and a nice place to walk and relax near the fountains. Underground Trade Centre ”Okhotny Ryad” or “the Hunter’s Row” is a paradise for shopping. You can continue your walk towards Arbat or Tverskaya Street. There are also fine buildings to visit and to take pictures of: The Shilov Art Gallery, hotels “Moskva”, “Nationale”, Pashkov's House, The Former House of the Moscow State Duma etc.
If you decide to turn round Georgy Zhukov’s horse monument you’ll occur on Revolution Square where you can visit the Museum of Patriotic War of 1812. From there it’s very easy to get to Teatralnaya or “Theatre” Square limited by the Metropol Hotel, The Bolshoi and the Maly Theatres. In the center you will find a beautiful fountain by Vitali.
All these sites and even more you will be able to visit and explore with knowledgeable audio excursion with offline map from Your Audio Guide “Attractions around the Kremlin”. You will find Moscow very pleasant for spending holidays.