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The square in front of the Polytechnical Museum has a monument to the Victims of Stalinist Repression, mounted on a granite pedestal of stone from the Solovki Islands.
The granite stone of this monument was brought from the Solovki Islands, in the White Sea – the location of one of the most notorious of the Stalinist gulags. This stone was set here in 1990, and an identical one was similarly placed in St.Petersburg. From the Solovki Stone you get a good view of the whole of Lubyanka Square, with the colossal KGB building, the Children's World Department Store, the Lubyanksaya Metro Station, and the Nautilus Shopping Centre. Memorial ceremonies are held here at the Solovki Stone on days when victims of the Stalin Repression are remembered. It's not coincidental that the memorial looks onto the KGB's headquarters – where the Stalinist terror was planned and carried out, and so many of its victims were imprisoned and interrogated.
Lubyanka Square has witnessed no small number of significant events. It was here in the early C17th that the patriotic militiamen raised by Minin and Pozharsky fought the Polish invaders, and drove them out of Kitai-Gorod. In 1905 the funeral of the Revolutionary Baumann drew a crowd of over 200,000. And in 1912 there was a political demonstration caused by the shooting of mineworkers in Lena, Siberia – who had been shot by their employers when they'd complained about working conditions.
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.