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Vladimir Mayakovsky was a Russian-Soviet poet, dramatist, artist, film-director, and a man of letters. He was also the prominent figure in Russian Futurism. His sheer output in the literary field makes him one of the great cultural figures of the 1st part of C20th.
Why the Mayakovsky’s monument, this top achiever's statue has a grumpy look? There's a popular explanation for his sulky appearance! They say that Mayakovsky once fancied a beer at the Peking Hotel, but had no cash on him. Despite being one of the first private car-owners in the USSR, they wouldn't take his IOU. So instead he went across the road to the Sofia Hotel, where the beer was cheaper – and counted his change on the way. But the story is cheerful rubbish. Mayakovsky shot himself in Spring of 1930, and the Peking only opened in 1956.
The most obvious landmark in Triumph Square is at its centre – the statue of the poet Mayakovsky. Try standing facing the same direction as the statue. Behind you is the clock-towered building of the Peking Hotel, while facing you across the street is what was formerly the Hotel Sofia – nowadays it has fast-food restaurants on the ground floor. Now take a quarter-turn leftwards – the building (now a restaurant) to the right of the roadway arch used to be the Moskva Cinema, one of the first in Russia. It was built by Alexander Khanjonkov – an entrepreneur, movie-maker and major figure in the history of the silver screen in Russia. Directly under where you're standing is a tunnel leading the huge 6-lane Garden Ring Road under the square – and below that is Mayakovskaya metro station. If you now turn to the right, you see the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, like the Doge's Palace in Venice – and next to it, but lower, the Satire Theatre, with its characteristic silver dome.
The statue of Mayakovsky was erected on what's now Triumph Square in 1958 – back when the square too was called Mayakovsky. In soviet times poets used to gather near the Mayakovsky statue – but of course, just reading impromptu poetry wasn't sanctioned by Soviet authorities. And in fact the KGB began carting poets away from the area from the early 1960s onwards.
Actually the tradition of holding meetings on Triumph Square still goes on. Since 2009 civil rights demonstrators have met here on the 31st of each month, in defense of Article 31 of the Constitution – 'the right to free assembly'.
From the Mayakovsky Statue there's an excellent view of the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.
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.