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Probably all the bridges across the Moskva are great, but the Great Moscow River Bridge is named that way because its continuation across the Water Overflow Canal is named the Lesser. The bridge offers a panoramic view over the Kremlin which people used to call “the hundred-rouble landscape”. The reason was because in the 1960s in the USSR, this view appeared on the 100-rouble banknote – the highest value banknote in circulation, and worth a month's salary to many people.
Great Moscow River Bridge was built on the former site of the oldest city river crossings. For more than 300 years there was a floating bridge here – built over floating pontoons, which were held in place with a system of anchors. In 1789 a wooden bridge built on piles was put up on the spot, and then in 1938 the present bridge was opened. The project was presented in “Science & Technology Monthly” magazine in 1937. However, the bridge unveiled a year later differed in considerable detail from the one previewed in the magazine. Where we see the observation platforms at the sides of the bridge now there were to have been enormous horse statues supported by equally enormous pylons. Mysteriously these decorative elements disappeared during the construction phase, and never materialised in practice.
The 28th of May 1987 witnessed an unprecedented event whose news swept the entire USSR. People thought that this kind of thing only happened in movies – until it happened in reality. A 19-year-old German amateur pilot named Mathias Rust flew his “Cessna-172B-Skyhawk” across the border, skipped below soviet radar system and landed on the Great Moscow River Bridge, coming to a halt by St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. He'd originally set off from Hamburg, and made a stop in Helsinki for refuelling. He told air traffic control there that he was planning to fly to Stockholm. But after a while he changed course and set his coordinates for Moscow instead.
Mathias Rust explained later that his flight had been intended as a gesture of peace. However, the Soviet authorities didn't see things in the same light, and arrested him for hooliganism and illegal entry into Soviet airspace. He was sentenced to four years in jail, but released by an amnesty agreement 15 months later. At the time, Moscow's main airport was Scheremetyevo – it had two terminals, of which Terminal-2 handled international flights. After Rust's legendary caper, people began to call the area between St. Basil's and the river “Scheremetyevo-3”.
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.