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In cities that are built on rivers, an embankment usually ends next to a bridge or another significant building, giving place to the next one. But Moscow seems to be an exception: if you walk on Kremlevskaya Embankment you will pass by the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge (“Big Stone Bridge”), which indeed is big and stone, and you will see that the embankment has not ended. The reason is very simple, it’s just that not many people know it. Kremlevskaya Embankment ends next to Lenivka Street that used to be the continuation of the former Vsekhsvyatsky Bridge, the first stone bridge in Moscow. That is why after Lenivka Street, i.e. after the former bridge, Prechistenskaya Embankment begins.
Generally it is quite a weird area here. To start with, the road named Chertolie, meaning the one built by the devil (“chert” means “devil” in Russian) was renamed into Prechistenka (from “Prechistaya Deva”, “the Most-Pure Virgin”). Furthermore, Ivan the Terrible’s executioner named Malyuta Skuratov did his evil deeds right in this area. And finally, Peter I took this land and divided it between his closest associates – Fyodor Golovin and a confirmed drunkard Nikita Zotov.
It was right on Prechistenskaya Embankment that the famous tavern “Wolf’s Valley” was opened when the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior had been finished. The tavern was famous among different people and for different reasons. It was a place of robberies and gangster attacks that often led to murders. Meanwhile, an outstanding Russian writer Ostrovsky used to come here from time to time with his friends. They liked so called tavern people of natural gifts, as for example Nicolas Ryzhiy, a guitar player, and an always drunk torban player Alexey. Torban is an ancient musical instrument with 30 strings played by plucking, something between psaltery and Ukranian bandura. Alexey could skillfully play “vengerka”, a fast folk Hungarian dance. Ostrovsky and his friends loved to have fun to his music.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a cathedral on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks southwest of the Kremlin. With an overall height of 103 metres it is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world.
The current church is the second to stand on this site. The original church, built during the 19th century, took more than 40 years to build. It was destroyed in 1931 during the Communist rule of Joseph Stalin. The demolition was supposed to make way for a colossal Palace of the Soviets that was never built, so the church was reconstructed in the 1990s on the same site.
The Cathedral is located on Volkhonka Street, which starts from Borovitskaya Square. The name of the street appeared at the end of the XVIII century when on the lands of the Volkonskis, a famous noble family was a popular tavern "Volkhonka". The street is one of the most ancient in Moscow. It was famous as a district for the rich.
This district is going to become Moscow Museum District. During the tour you will see and have the opportunity to visit a number of art museums: The Tsvetkovsky Gallery, The Ilya Glazunov Art Gallery, The Lopukhin Family Mansion (aka the Roerich Museum), Gallery of European and American Art of the C19th and C20th, The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Private Collections. While walking here you will understand why Moscow used to be accepted as a beautiful jewelry box. In the lanes you will discover old mansions and fall in love with stories of Russian noble families. Such are The Golitsyn Mansion, The Lopukhin Family Mansion, Obolonsky's Mansion, Sergey Tretyakov's Mansion etc. The Chambers of Averky Kirillov - a unique example of a large urban homestead. Chambers, Church of St. Nicholas and outbuildings along the waterfront are a single architectural complex.
Another bright example of Moscow architecture is Pertsova's Rental Apartment Mansions. The house was an apartment house, located on the corner of Soymonovsky passage and Prechistenskaya embankment, built in 1905-1907 by architects N. Zhukov and B.N. Shnaubert on sketches of the artist S.V. Malyutin, author of Russian nesting dolls. The house includes apartments and artists' studios in the upper attic of the building.