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What is now the Garden Ring Road (called "Sadovoe Koltso" in Russian) – a 16-km or 10-mile highway around the city centre – stands where there was once a defensive wall. The wall had been ordered by the Tsar in the late C16th after Moscow had been burned in Crimean Tartar raids. Work proceeded swiftly – in the first year they built ramparts, an oak wall five meters high, and 150 towers - of which 34 were gatehouses. In fact these walls burnt down in the C17th, but the ramparts and moat lasted until 1816.
The defensive ramparts along the route of the Garden Ring were only finally removed at the end of the C19th. But in 1816 the order went out to replace the redundant defences with a handsome paved circular street – the bridges alone were to be 25m (82 feet) wide! The upkeep of the remaining width of 18 metres on each side was to be met by householders at their own expense, but in return they could cultivate gardens to their own taste and style. And thus the road became called The Garden Ring.
The last of the gardens around the Garden Ring was knocked down in 1937, when the entire ring was turned into an arterial road, and new bridges across the Moskva River built to meet traffic needs along it.
Several trolleybus routes run around the Garden Ring. The best-known is the B-Route, which Moscovites call “the Little B”. But this letter-designated route actually dates back to 1912, when it was not a trolleybus but a tram route, and wasn't called “Little B” but “Little Bug”.
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.