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Try making a short break in the very beginning of Varvarka St. and enjoy the beautiful view. Opposite the Church of St.Barbara you can see the building of the Middle Trading Rows. A bit further there is the Merchant Court and on the opposite side – the Church of Maxim the Blessed. Between this church and the church of St.Barbara you can see one of Stalin’s high-rise buildings, the one on Kotelnicheskaya embankment. Many famous scientists, actors, military leaders and architects lived in this house. The view to the Raushskaya embankment is blocked greatly by the construction site fence, where many tourist buses stop. But you can still see the smokestacks of a power plant as well as the “Balchug-Kempinsky” hotel on the opposite side of the river. Furthermore, you can see a green-brown office building with big windows, Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge and Vasilyevsky Slope square.
Next to the Moscow river bridge you can clearly see the Kremlin wall and its Beklemishevskaya tower. All the achievements of the medieval military science are concentrated here: four floors for circular fire, a fighting ground surrounded by mounted loopholes, a well and a special hiding place to listen and prevent the undermine. This is one of the few towers in Kremlin that almost hasn’t been rebuilt. The next tower is called Konstantino-Yeleninskaya and it used to have gates. Further is the Nabatnaya tower that served as fire alarm in ancient times. Between the towers one can see the Ivan the Great belfry and the Kremlin’s cathedrals. On the edge of Vasilievsky slope there is a cathedral that has become a symbol of Moscow – the Cathedral of Pokrov on the ditch, more famous as St. Basil’s Cathedral. This masterpiece of Russian architecture is included into UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
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.