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The red-brick building which reminds us of a baroque residence – with the white-stone ornamentation – belonged to a member of the Duma named Averky Kirillov. The Duma in Kirillov's times was a kind of medieval Senate. This attractive building has an unattractive history, since it is connected with the psychopathic Maliuta Skuratov, the sadistic henchman of Ivan the Terrible. If you walk around Kirillov's Chambers you come to a churchyard, where you find the noble-looking Chapel of St.Nicholas the Wondrous on Bersenevskaya Embankment.
Averky Kirillov's Chambers were converted and rebuilt out of earlier C16th buildings – the architect is unknown, but tradition preserves at least the names of several previous owners. However, we know for certain that by the mid-1650s these chambers had become the property of a high-ranking state official named Averky Kirillov.
As far as can be seen, ownership of these Chambers was awarded to Averky Kirillov's grandfather shortly after the Time of Troubles – the political crisis caused by a vacuum of power when Ivan the Terrible died without an adult heir. These “Troubles” blighted Russia for over a decade until 1613. By 1657 Averky Kirillov had inherited the Chambers and rebuilt them. Kirillov's political ambitions ended violently. In 1682 there was a political coup, backed by the Streltsy, or Sharpshooters Regiment. Kirillov was identified as supporting the overthrown monarchy – the Sharpshooters found him and hacked him to pieces. His mutilated body was dragged to Red Square and put on public display there.
After Averky Kirillov's death the chambers were rebuilt by new owners, and the present Flemish baroque appearance of the building appeared. This became the primary feature of the new building.
During the Soviet years Averky Kirillov's former chambers were turned over into a restoration project for a number of years. Then when the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was pulled down to make way for the never-built Palace Of Soviets, the buildings here were put into service as barracks accommodation for the workforce. These days the building houses the Averky Kirillov Institute for Cultural Research. In the courtyard you'll find a well. Although it's clearly new, its former tradition as a wishing-well is still remembered. But people say that only good wishes are fulfilled!
Legend has it that the Chambers of Averky Kirillov were subsequently put to use as a Torture Chamber by Maliuta Skuratov – the infamous hatchet-man and killer who served Tsar Ivan the Terrible. In the 1930s, boys from neighbouring houses found tunnels running under the building, and piles of skulls. At first historians thought they'd unearthed bodies from the first wave of soviet revenge massacres. But research showed that the bones were from a much earlier time. Then the Mosvka-Volga River was dug, causing the water-level to rise and flood the tunnels – but the legend lives on.
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.