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At a distance, behind the light-green bell tower of the Church of the Martyr George on the Pskov Mountain, one can very clearly see the white-stone Church of Conception of St.Anna on the corner. It’s quite hard to approach the church, as it has been locked behind the construction site fence since they had begun to tear the “Rossiya” hotel down. But the church is definitely worth your attention. Its grandeur and beautiful décor strike one’s eye even at such a distance.
The Church of Conception of St.Anna on the corner is one of the oldest parish churches in Zaryadye district, now a fenced-in area where the “Rossiya” hotel is being renovated. The church was built in the middle of the 16th century onsite an even more ancient church, but it has been rebuilt many times since then. The church is located on the intersection of Kitaigorоdsky road and Moskvoretskaya embankment, that’s why it’s called the Church of Conception of St.Anna “on the corner”. They say that one of the side chapels was built by the prince Dmitry Pozharsky honouring the liberation of Moscow from the Polish-Lithuanian invasion. It was him as well who bought out and returned to the church its stolen bell weighing 500 kg. In the beginning of the C17th prince Dmitry Pozharsky and merchant Kuzma Minin gathered the Volunteer Army and freed Moscow from the Poles. The monument to both of them is located on Red Square next to the St.Basil’s Cathedral.
The Church of Conception of St.Anna was supported my the tsar’s family, who invested a lot of money in its restoration. Ivan the Terrible himself presented the church with a miracle-working icon. After the WW2 the church was renovated, while the regular masses resumed in the middle of 1990s.
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.