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Luchnikov Lane leaves Lubyansky side street on the section towards Bolshoi Zlatoustinsky Lane. It's a short lane that runs for just 180 metres, so road traffic along it is single-direction – in the direction of the Polytechnical Museum. Long ago this little lane was actually a part of a street named Yevplovka – the street that's now called Myasnitskaya, or Butcher Street.
Luchnikov Lane, or Archer's Lane has also been known previously as Georgievsky Lane due to the adjoining St.George's Church. The “Archer's” name, according to one version, comes from a former freeman's settlement here, where they made bows & arrows. But it might also be to the bow-shape of the lane – with a bend in it. Not too many attractive buildings have been left here, though. The bank building which is on the corner shows clear traits of the influence of the soviet-era constructivist style.
But until the mid-1990s Luchnikov lane was an address every Muscovite knew – because it was the location of the only 24-hour dumpling shop in town. The customers were mostly cab-drivers on their night-shift. But at 5am here you might meet English punk-rockers, guests from neighbouring soviet republics, or academics who'd been to a public lecture at the Polytechnical Museum and were still discussing it furiously – in the cafe everyone used to call “the Hat”. Siberian dumplings are meat-stuffed like ravioli, and the ones served at The Hat weren't the best ones. Often the dough was coming off the meat filling like a paste. Of course, it was a stand-up place, and they served vodka from cheap glasses. Although it was named “Green Light” after Moscow's taxis, there were often few actual cab-drivers among the diners.
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.