--:-- • --:--Пример экскурсии
From the square on Lubyanka Square you can see the beige-coloured facade of the Polytechnical Museum – unlike the rest of the building, it's designed in the style-moderne fashion.
Stop to take a look at the slightly faded frescoes on the facade of the Polytechnical Museum's northern wing – which illustrate the themes of industrial and agricultural work and education. Under the windows we can see some bas-reliefs – two squirrels holding pine-nuts. Meanwhile on the wrought-iron balconies we can find an owl. The wise owl, of course, is the symbol of knowledge. And it was here in the Polytechnical Museum in the soviet era that the Knowledge Society held its meetings. Later the owl became famous as the symbol of the tv quiz show “What? Where? When?”.
The North Wing of the Museum was completed considerably later than the rest of the building. It houses a large scientific library and famous Auditorium. There were regular public lectures on many topics. The first two decades of the C20th were the heyday of the lectures – corresponding with the main flowering of the artistic avant-garde. The 1960s saw a revival in their popularity – the time of the “physicists versus lyric poets” discussions.
The Auditorium hosted talks by such famous names as Vladimir Mayakovsky, Nikolai Burliuk and Ivan Bunin. Sometimes the discussions about art became very heated! In 1918 there were several sharply-worded exchanges between the symbolists, the imagists and the futurists, in which well-known poets like Khlebnikov, Bely, Yesenin, Mariengof and Briussov took part.
These poetic traditions at the Polytechnical Museum continued in the 1930s with faces of the new generation – Zabolotsky, Tvardovsky, and Bagritsky. The time of the Khrushchev political “thaw” in the 1960s saw writers such as Andrei Voznesensky, Robert Rozhdestvensky and Bulat Okudjava participating, and there were concerts given by the singer-songwriters known in soviet Russia as “bards”. The Main Auditorium was simultaneously hosting popular science lectures from major Russian and foreign scientists. The early Nobel biologist Ilya Mechnikov, and Academics Vavilov, Fersman, and Zelinsky gave talks. In May 1934 Nils Bor gave the first lecture about the construction of atomic nucleii. We can sum it all up simply by saying that the Main Auditorium of the Polytechnical Museum was the forum of scientific and artistic debate for many decades.
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.