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The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, here on Volkhonka, is in fact the second planned cathedral-monument to the heroes of the 1812 campaign. The original cathedral as devised by Tsar Alexander I was to have been built on the Sparrow Hills, overlooking the city – where Moscow University Main Campus now stands. The Tsar believed this was the finest location available, and put the project out to competitive entry. In 1817 the Tsar chose the designs of a painter, Karl Wittberg – a 30-year-old graduate of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts. His huge cathedral – planned at 230 metres high, and with a huge colonnade of 64-metre columns - was to rule over the city from the Sparrow Hills heights.
By December 1817 work had already begun on the new cathedral on the Sparrow Hills, between the Smolensk and Kaluga highways, to Wittberg's designs. Wittberg's intention was to create a perpetual memorial of glory to the fallen heroes of the war in the Lower Church, and illustrate the victories of 1812 in pictures on the cathedral walls. If it had ever been completed, Wittberg's cathedral would have resembled an Egyptian pyramid. However the creator of this grandiose project was then accused of syphoning-off the project funds for his own use – he was sacked from the project, and put on trial for embezzlement and incompetence.
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.