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The old building with columns and a mezzanine floor is the former Main Building of the Moscow estate of Peter the Great's friend and companion, Nikita Zotov. Although it's right in the centre of Moscow, it's actually quite hard to get a glimpse of it. It's right by the Great Stone Bridge, but from the embankment the view is blocked by trees. In the early C19th the estate had fallen into the hands of a Senator named Alexander Alyabev. He lived here with his son, who went on to become a composer. The house is now given over to bookselling.
In the C18th this manor house belonged to descendants of a chum of Tsar Peter the Great's, a man named Nikita Zotov. Recently restorers working here discovered an abnormally large brick in the wall – the tell-tale sign of building of that period. It's worth looking at the decoration of the building – a cornice with floral ornamentation, windows of unusual design, railed balconies and balustrades, medallions in the form of pretty girls' faces.
The main building of Nikita Zotov's Estate changed hands several times during its history – in common with the fate of buildings owned by many famous families.
In the early C19th a Secret Counselor and Senator named Alexander Alyabev owned the property, after he had resigned from his post of Governor of Tobolsk. Alyabev expanded the house with a mezzanine floor and an extension at the rear of the building. So when the memorial plaque says it was Alyabev's house, and not Zotov's, it's at least partly true.
After the Alyabevs the property passed into the hands of the vodka-distiller Popov, and then to the industrialist Protopopov, and finally into the hands of Solodovnikov. Then followed the soviet era, and there is a memorial plaque from the period which tells us that the well-known soviet architect Boris Iofan worked here. Iofan was the architect of the House On The Embankment, which stands on the opposite side of the Moskva River. He was also to have designed the Palace Of The Soviets – but the project was never built.
Muscovites know that the composer Alexander Alyabev once killed a man. In an argument over a card game he stabbed a man named Vremev (or “Mr Time”), who had accused him of cheating. Vremev died two days later. Alyabev was found guilty and sent to Siberia. Moscow wits quickly thought up the gag that “that's how they kill Time in Moscow”. Alyabev served three years in Siberia, even though there was no direct evidence against him. Some people said it was because Alyabev was connected with the Decembrists. It was there in Siberia, in a prison cell, that he wrote his famous song “The Nightingale”.
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.