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The red temple with white ornaments right at the exit from the Kitai-gorod underground pedestrian crossing is the All Saints Church on Kulishki.
The first All Saints Church on Kulishki was built in the 14th century in the memory of all those who had died in a crucial battle of 1380 with the Mongols. The temple was constructed on the very road which prince Dmitry Donskoy (or Dmitry of the Don) and his army took when heading to face the Mongol khan Mamai. The road went through the Varvarsky Gate of the Kitai-gorod wall and advanced further on through Kulishki – that was the name given to a clearing in the forest on the way towards the Kulikovo Field. The army, having lost many of its men, took this road on the way back, too.
In the 16-17th centuries the temple was rebuilt a few times. This is when its façade received the pilasters – the abutments designed to visually resemble columns, – as well as the fake windows and other decorative elements. Earlier on, the ancient miraculous ikon of Madonna Bogoliubskaya was kept in the temple, which was the reason behind all those crowds always gathering in front of the Varvarsky Gate, as they were all seeking contact with the holy relic.
A fresco depicting St.Sergiy of Radonezh giving his blessing to prince Dmitry of the Don can be still found in the All Saints Church on Kulishki. Over the time the temple has considerably sunk into the ground. During the restoration works undertaken back in the Soviet times part of the building was liberated from layers of ground, and you can now see the first tier on the left side of the church.
A terrible thing happened in Moscow in 1771 during the plague endemic. The crowd, overcome with rage, lacerated archbishop Ambrosius in the Donskoi monastery, who had insisted earlier that the donation box be locked and the miraculous ikon of Madonna Bogoliubskaya be stashed away out of health and safety considerations. Just the day before Fyodor Matveev, a priest from the All Saints Church on Kulishki, where the ikon was displayed, implied in his preaching service that Moscow had been punished with plague because its citizens had not revered Madonna Bogoliubskaya strongly enough.
Kitay-gorod is one of the oldest parts of Moscow. It appeared nearby the old wooden Kremlin. Although the name translates as “Chinatown,” it probably derives from kita (wattle), referring to the wall that surrounded this early Kremlin suburb. Today, remains of an old city wall and colorful churches are scattered throughout this ancient neighborhood.
The stone walls were erected in the 16th century by an Italian architect known under the name Petrok Maly and originally featured 13 towers and six gates. They were as thick as they were high. The last of the towers were demolished in the 1930s, but small portions of the wall still stand. One of two remaining parts of the wall is located in Zaryadye and the other near the exit from the Okhotny Ryad station of Moscow Metro behind the Hotel Metropol.
Kitay-gorod starts at Red Square. Apart from Red Square, the quarter is bordered by the chain of Central Squares of Moscow, notably Theatre Square (in front of Bolshoi Theatre), Lubyanka Square (in front of the KGB headquarters), and Slavyanskaya Square.
Since time immemorial Kitay-gorod has been developing as a trading area. And for centuries it was known as the most prestigious business area of Moscow. Its three main streets — Varvarka, Ilyinka, and Nikolskaya — are lined with banks, shops, and storehouses. There are also lots of historical buildings that relate to the heritage of the federal and global importance now.
In our tour you will walk along Nikolskaya Street that is famous for being the site of Moscow's first university, the Slavic Greek Latin Academy, housed in extant Zaikonospassky monastery (1660s). Another monastery cathedral, the main church of Epiphany Bogoyavlensky Monastery (1690s), is the oldest male monastery in Moscow, stands in the middle of Kitay-gorod in the eponymous Bogoyavlensky Lane. The 18th century survives in the exterior walls of the otherwise rebuilt Gostiny Dvor (Guest Merchant's Court) by Giacomo Quarenghi.
A whole quarter of Kitay-gorod adjacent to the Moskva River and known as Zaryadye (now just Varvarka Street) was demolished in the 20th century, sparing only those structures that were classified as historic monuments. These include the Cathedral of the Sign (1679–84), the Church of All Saints (1680s), St. George's Church on Pskov Hill (1657), St. Maksim's Church (1698), St. Anna's Church at the Corner (1510s), St. Barbara's Church (1796–1804), the Old English Embassy (1550s), and the 16th century Romanov boyar residence. The two last are the museums. You can visit them to see the life of the first Romanovs in the 16-17th centuries.