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Bogoyavlensky, or Epiphany Lane runs from Nikolskaya Street to Ilyinka. It's had this name from the C15th, due to the Bogoyavlensky, or Monastery of the Epiphany. The only surviving trace of the monastery is its cathedral. The first monastery buildings were wooden, and appeared here in the C13th – by the C14th the cathedral had been rebuilt in stone. The cathedral we see here today replaced the older one in the C17th. It's one of Moscow's most notable baroque churches, notable for its tiered construction and lavish exterior decoration.
There's nothing especially interesting on the opposite side of Bogoyavlensky Lane, from the architectural point of view. However, the names of some of the previous landowners have echoed down Russian history. One of them – Prince Telyatevsky, along with his vassal Ivan Bolotnikov – organised the rebellion against the rule of Tsar Vassily Shuisky. In the C18th property titles were held here by Natalya Dolgorukova – who was the daughter of Field-Marshal Scheremetyev.
Countess Natalya Scheremetyeva became Countess Dolgorukova by marriage to Prince Ivan Dolgoruky, when she was just 16. Dolgoruky had been a great favourite of Tsar Peter the Second. However, Tsar Peter died just three days after Dolgoruky's wedding, and Dolgoruky found himself being sent to Siberia in the shenanigans which followed. His young wife followed him into Siberian exile. They lived together in exile for 8 years, but Dolgoruky was then arrested, taken away, and executed. The Countess returned to Moscow, and then entered a convent in Kiev as a nun. Her life became the basis for several literary works, and her own “Memoirs” are a fine example of the suffering of a devoted loving wife.
In the latter C19th the title deeds to property along Bogoyavlensky Lane were acquired by Merchants of the First Guild, named Gabriel and Alexei Chizhovy – owners of one of the foremost banks. Here they opened the Chizhovy Courtyard, which was let out to a large number of shops and concessions – among which was a branch of the Rallé & Co perfumery company. Nowadays the space which was once the Chizhovy Courtyard has been converted into the entrance vestibule of “Ploschad Revolutsii” metro station.
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.