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At the far end of the square, where it intersects with the paved pedestrian street of Lavrushinsky pereulok, we find a bust of the author Shmelev, mounted on a plinth.
The bust standing on the short plinth is of author Ivan Shmelov. He was a native of this area and studied at the 6th Boy's Grammar School which was set up in the former Demidov mansion – you can see it over there behind the wrought-iron black railings. The bust was cast in Paris by artist Lydia Luzanovskaya. Shmelev had fled the USSR in 1922 and emigrated to Paris – after the Bolsheviks had shot his only son, an officer in the White Guard. His books are his own personal reckoning with the Bolsheviks – the works of a bereaved father.
Shmelev's first successful work was a short story called “The Man From The Restaurant”, written in 1911. It's the story of a man who – although now working as a waiter – refuses to lose his human dignity. In 1920 Shmelev – a retired military officer – was waiting to be shot. However, when they found out he was the same Shmelev who'd written this proto-socialist story, he was released. There's another story – The Sweet Man - which is almost paradoxical. A landlord decided to raise children out of love for the common people, and he ordered a model of a man – made out of sugar. Every day kids licked the sugar-man, until there was almost nothing left of him at all. And then the sugar-man fell over and crushed his master to death.
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.