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Bolshaya Ordynka, or Great Horde Street, is an ancient thoroughfare that began from the settlement of the Royal Gardeners on the Island. In the C14th the road began from Balchug – the boggy banks of the Moskva River - 'balchukh' was a Tatar word meaning “muddy”. The abundance of fresh water here attracted trades which relied upon it – tanners, weavers, blacksmiths and coin-minters. So settlements (not just groups of traders – but communities who held Royal warrants, and enjoyed certain privileges) grew up called Weavers, Tanners, and Money-Minters. But the principal inhabitants here – from the 1220s to the 1480s – were the Tatar Overlords of the Great Horde – who served the Mongolian Khans as their local administrators. They ruled medieval Russia by reigning over the Muscovites – and the Muscovites ruled the country for them. The Tatars chose to rule the Muscovites from a discreet distance, across the river – so they made their encampment here. The payment of tribute was made here, on “their” side of the river. It was a huge administrative centre for the entire country, and required a huge team of interpreters and translators between the Russian and Tatar languages. A separate regiment of bodyguards served the encampment.
The length of Bolshaya Ordynka Street is 1.5 kilometres. These days it runs from the Small Moscow River Bridge (beyond which we find St Basil's Descent and Red Square) and runs as far as the Garden Ring Road. The street is typified by former taverns, old market stalls, inns and similar kinds of building.
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.