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The main architectural interest along Maly Patriarshy lane (or Little Patriarch's lane) is at №5. But №3 is interesting for a different reason – the Russian space-programme scientist Ari Sternfeld lived there.
Ari Sternfeld was the first Russian scientist to calculate space velocity, and allocate a system of speeds. He also coined the terms “cosmonautics” and “cosmodrome” (or “space-port” in English). Sternfeld also calculated the hugely important optimised-energy flight trajectories – the idea of using orbital gravity to springboard craft into deep space. To this day they bear his name – Sternfeld Trajectories.
Ari Sternfeld, this pioneer of space exploration was born in the Russian Empire – but at a time when that Empire still included Eastern Poland. Here Sternfeld was born in 1905, in a small Polish village. He studied in Krakow, then in France, and in 1934 moved to pursue his career in the USSR. Sternfeld felt certain that the ideas in his famous book “An Introduction To Space Exploration” would be appreciated in the country which had produced Tsiolkovsky – the first space scientist and physicist. But in the 1930s he was blacklisted by the Communist authorities, and never received the Government post he hoped for. For 43 years he worked alone at home on his researches.
The small house at Maly Patriarshy lane 5 was built in the 1930s, with a facade of some interest. The square balconies are arranged chessboard-fashion, and only one of them is glazed. There's a high thoroughfare arch on the right side of the building, adding the impression of some kind of tower. Above the arch there's a bas-relief titled “Joyous Motherhood”, showing a mother with children, and a young couple who are an allegory of “Happy Youth”.
One resident of the house at №5 was the famous aircraft engineer Polikarpov, and there's a plaque on the wall to him. In the house which stood here before the present one lived a children's author, who wrote the lyrics of the most popular Christmas song “A fir-tree grew up in the forest…”
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.