--:-- • --:--Пример экскурсии
The corner building №7 on Varvarka street is the ex-residence of the Varvarinsky householders’ joint-stock company of the late 19th century. Nikolsky lane, about 300m in total length, diverts to the side of it. It is blocked at the moment, there is no thoroughfare. You can see the St.Nicholas Church from Varvarka street, with its monumental hipped bell-tower in the center of Nikolsky lane.
Varvarka street is often referred to as a sanctuary of the older Russian architecture, and that is fully deserved. There are many unique churches and chambers preserved. Thus, for example, number 7 became essentially the first office center in Moscow. It was built in 1891. From the very beginning the intention was for the lower floors to be rented out as offices and warehouses, while the top floors would make perfect residential housing. The building’s exterior combines many Western-European styles at once, and this eclectic mix was highly appreciated by the lessees.
One must pay attention to the streetlamps and street signs seen on Varvarka. These minor architectural objects are often the first to suffer from constant use. From the mid-19th century Russian masters paid particular attention to designing and producing benches, trashcans and lamps – each object was manually finished to perfection. Most of them have not lived to see this day, but there are two houses on Varvarka street – number nine and number fourteen, – that are still decorated with old streetlamps. Of course, the glass has long been dark, and the lamps run on electricity, not oil. Yet prudent housekeepers manage to install low-wattage bulbs, which is pure economy in their opinion, but also increases the old historic look and feel.
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.