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To the left of the CEC building there's a four-storey brown brick building with two curved arches – it's the Pashkov Hall.
We're reminded of German Gothic when we look at the Pashkov Hall. In the early C19th a certain retired Lieutenant named Pashkov owned this plot of land. He bequeathed it to the Moscow Merchants Association on the condition that any income it generated went to the benefit of fifty dwellers at the St.Andrew's almshouse. The Merchants Association built a two-storey covered market, but it soon burned down. Towards the end of the C19th a new stone trading hall was opened with shop premises, offices, and furnished rooms.
This trading centre was a seething flea market where you could buy almost anything from second-hand dresses and boots without soles through to broken teacups. It's hard to imagine today who might have wanted all this bric-a-brac? But it always drew a huge crowd, and sometimes there were a few bargains to be had among the junk.
But on the night of 15th September 1881 a huge conflagration broke out at the Pashkov Hall. They couldn't put it out – the market stalls burned merrily, so they began piping water from the river. The flames burned brighter than streetlights in surrounding suburbs, and newspapers compared it to the fires which followed Napoleon's retreat in 1812. After the fire the current building, designed by the architect Freidenberg, was put up. The building takes its inspiration from medieval German trading-halls, with their traditional Hanseatic and Teutonic emblems.
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.