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A small square next to Novokuznetskaya underground station hall has always been a favorite with the muscovites. In summer the place where the fountain is located now used to be all cafes bustling with people. To be fair, there are still lots of people here today. It’s a lively spot. Street musicians play here in the evenings, the youths hang out. When the fountain appeared a few years ago, the locals flinched at first because of its looks, but everyone got used to it eventually. Even the photographs with it in the background turn out rather lovely.
Back in the day, before the 1930s, during the soviet rule the Church of Paraskeva Piatnitsa stood in this very place. That is why the street is named Piatnitskaya. The church was beautifully done in a baroque style, with an intricately carved iconostasis. The temple was knocked down and the priest was shot. And now there is this fountain with biblical history behind it – the Adam and Eve. One more interesting detail: most of Moscow’s monumental sculptures are the work of male craftsmen. Yet this fountain was sculpted by the Levonsky mother and daughter. Things do change, after all.
Cultured people are frequently enraged by the fact that the fountain of such biblical implications stands on the former location of the Church of Paraskeva. Paraskeva Piatnitsa led an ascetic lifestyle, was tortured and beheaded during the reign of Diocletianus, remaining a virgin. Her parents named her Piatnitsa (or Friday) because she was born on this day of the Lord’s suffering on the cross… Yet none of this seems to be of concern to our contemporaries, who sincerely believe that Friday is simply a legitimate end-of-the-working-week reason to celebrate freedom from the office walls. It has to be said that the party atmosphere in the street is encouraging the celebrations indeed.
St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa was a Holy Christian Martyr of the 3rd Century. Her name in Greek means 'The Eve Of The Feast of Friday'. Paraskeva lived during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, in the city of Ikonium in Asia Minor. She was beheaded during a purge directed at Christian believers. Paraskeva is considered the patron saint of fields and livestock. Her intercession is also sought in cases of mental disturbance – which can also include, for example, the effects of alcoholism.
In orthodox Christianity the image of Paraskeva Piatnitsa has long been fused with the pagan Slavic goddess Mokusha, the spinner of fate. She is also the goddess of fertility and the mother of all harvests. One of the days when Mokusha receives special worship is the Friday closest to April, the 8th. Another important day is the 28th of October (according to the old Julian calendar), and that is the Paraskeva Piatnitsa (or Paraskeva Friday).
The metal associated with Mokusha is silver, the stone is rhinestone. The beast of Mokusha is the cat. The symbols associated are yarn, clew of wool and spindle. Spiders are Mokusha’s servants. Mokusha is also associated with the thin cord bracelets worn around one’s right wrist.
The territories of historical district Zamoskvorechye lie on the right (southern) bank of the Moskva River. They joined Moscow in the 14th century when Russian lands used to suffer from the Golden Horde raids. The settlers mainly were soldiers, handicraftsmen and merchants. Their life was organized in a patchwork sloboda system. In 1591-1592 during the reign of Feodor I the fortified wall on the site of the present-day Garden Ring was built. Even now, one can easily understand from the street names what occupation the residents had centuries ago. For example, royal garden attendants (садовники, sadovniki) settled in the beginning of present-day Sadovnicheskaya Street from 1495 until the fire of 1701; tanners specializing in sheepskin (oвчинники, ovchinniki) gave their name to Ovchinnikovsky Lanes; royal mint workers (монетчики, monetchiki) – to Monetchikovsky Lanes, Court translators (толмачи, tolmachi) to Tolmachevsky Lanes. Bolshaya Ordynka Street was named after Orda, was the road to the Golden Horde, and was initially home to the Tatar community.
During our tour we are going to tell you about famous historic buildings in Pyatnitskaya Street, the main walking street of the district. We will walk around the State Tretyakov Gallery and listen to the story about the Tretyakovs, famous Russian businessmen, collectors and patrons of art, and the history of their collection and Gallery building.
There is also the house and museum of another famous Russian businessman and patron of art - Bakhrushin museum of theater, built in 1896.
Famous Russian writer Alexander Ostrovsky also lived in Zamoskvorechye, in Malaya Ordynka street. If you like his works you can visit his house-museum.
Zamoskvorechye is famous for its churches: Church of St. Sophia Of God's Wisdom on Gardener's Island and its belfry, Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova, The Church of the Ikon “the Joy of All Who Suffer”, The Church of St Nicholas at Pyzhakh, etc. Each of them has its own history and mystery.
With Your Audio Guide you will go through all the streets and lanes, get familiar with some interesting yards, explore the legends and myths and find out the truth. You will relax on the benches of Bolotnaya square; take pictures of the Kremlin domes, Giant Peter the Great statue, river embankments, learn about the former Mamontov Hotel and super deluxe Balchug-Kempinsky.