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There's only one building on the odd-numbered side of Novaya, or New Square – the beige three-storeyed building ot the Polytechnical Museum. This is the right-hand, or Southern Wing.
The central part of the Polytechnical Museum building is the first to have been built. Building work began at the close of the C19th with funds allocated by the Moscow City Parliament. At first the museum's collections were put on view in a rented building on Prechistenka Street. On the initiative of the Imperial Society for Natural History, Anthropology & Ethnography, the Moscow Parliament found a plot of land on Lubyanka Square, and 500,000 roubles for building a museum on the site. The building work dragged on for 30 years! It was the first time a building in Russia had been designed especially to house a museum collection. Very few other buildings in Europe have been purpose-built as museums, in fact – except for modern projects of this kind. The architect was a Russian-born Italian, Monighetti – who also built the Royal residence at Livadia, in Crimea.
The central section of the Polytechnical Museum building was laid-out in the so-called “Russian style”, and the facade is richly decorated with stucco-work. The right-hand, or Southern Wing was built only 20 years later, and the pseudo-Russian style was maintained by an architect named Shonin. There are decorative columns on the facade.
The Northern, or left-hand Wing of the museum wasn't built until 1907, when the new style moderne had already come into being. The facade of the new wing combined elements of style moderne fused with ideas of the pseudo-Russian style. However, the facade facing Lubyanka Square differs significantly, and it's a purely style-moderne design executed by architects Yeramishantsev and Voyeikov.
The Polytechnical Museum building is one of Moscow's most well-known sights. As an architectural monument it has been listed in a huge number of different books on architecture. The Moscow City Parliament weighed the location of the museum heavily in mind when allocating a site for it – this kind of museum should be right in the city-centre, with the potential for further expansion. The remit of the museum's founders was to establish a centre for the promotion and popularisation of scientific knowledge. Setting up the permanent collection of the museum was not only intended to promote knowledge of achievements in science and technology, but also stimulate progress and advance in the areas of industrial science and development.
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.