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There's a small square here were the Garden Ring meets Yermolaevsky lane – a church once stood here. St.Yermolai's-On-The-Goat-Marsh stood level with where №21 Yermolaevsky lane now stands. But this peculiar name is all that survives of the church itself.
St.Yermolai's Chapel on the Goat-Marsh had been built in the early C17th as a chapel church of Patriarch Germogen – Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
The Patriarch's Sloboda-na-Kozikhe, which means the Settlement on the Goat-Marsh, wasn't the only of the Patriarch's settlements in Moscow. In fact there were many, each with its own unique background. One of them, for example, bred valuable fish for the patriarch's table on feast-days. But at the Goat-Marsh ponds they raised simpler fish for his Holiness's everyday consumption. And of course, they bred goats there too – hence the name Goat-Marsh.
The Russian word “sloboda” which means “settlement“ derives from a similar word meaning 'freedom'. In the Middle Ages the dwellers of slobodas were free of the serfdom – hence “settlers” were “freemen”. The exact terms of this 'freedom' varied from place to place, and time to time – but the earliest settlers were also exempted from both military conscription and paying tithes.
We would like to offer you a very interesting tour in the centre of Moscow – around Patriarshiye Prudy or Patriarch’s Ponds. For the last 200 years, there has been only one pond known to the public, although, the name of Tryokhprudny Pereulok (lit. Three-Pond Lane) suggests there used to be more. It is known that in 1683-1684 Patriarch Joachim ordered to dig three ponds for drainage of wetlands and fish farming to the patriarchal table. So, such ponds were fishponds.
The area is named after the seventeenth century Patriarch's Goat Sloboda located on the Goat Marsh. This marsh once was connected by a brook to the Presnya River in the west; by 1739, when the first topographic map was compiled, the brook disappeared and the marsh separated from the Presnya. People considered the swamp as an anomalous zone; apparently this caused a proverb ("Thomas has hastened, but made people laugh - he sticked in Patriarshy").
The pond acquired its present shape and was cleaned up in 1830-31 in the frames of the plan to rebuild Moscow after the Fire of 1812.
At the beginning of the XX century the area around the Ponds was actively built up. Among the buildings appeared at this time, you can see the mansion of Tarasov. In 1924, the Soviet government in the fight against religion renamed the Patriarch's Ponds in Pioneer Ponds. In 1945 in Ermolaevsky Lane a house for senior military commanders of the USSR was built.
Near the Ponds you will find a monument to Ivan Krylov. The fabulist sits surrounded by animated characters of his works: a monkey in front of a mirror, barking pug after the elephant, crow with cheese.
This district is, directly or indirectly, connected with Russian poets: Karamzin, Zhukovsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Baratynsky, Krylov. Not far from the Ponds lived Vladimir Mayakovsky. In Tree-Pond Lane Marina Tsvetaeva was born.
The novel by Mikhail Bulgakov “Master and Margarita” begins at Patriarch's Ponds. During the tour you will see the Museum-Theatre "Bulgakov's House". The district has a number of museums: Yermolova Museum, State Museum of Oriental Art, Anton Chekhov’s Museum, Svyatoslav Richter Memorial Apartment, Alexey Tolstoy Memorial Apartment, Maxim Gorky Memorial House, etc.