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The church with black cupolas that you see is the Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova (today Russians pronounce it stressing the last syllable – EndovA, while in ancient Russia they used to stress the middle one - EndOva). The courtyard of the church looks towards the patterned balconies of the former hotel owned by Ivan Mamontov.
The Church of St. George in Endova dates back to the 16th century. In the beginning there was a wooden church here. One century later it was rebuilt in stone. During the Time of Troubles (i.e. in the beginning of the 17th century, during the war with Poland and the time of anarchy) they used to build small stockaded towns next to many churches in Moscow; here there one too. The church fell into decay – either because it had been badly built or because of its proximity to the river. As a result, it had to be rebuilt again not even a century later. But as they say, misery loves company. The bell-tower collapsed in 1786 due to an underflooding. It took another 20 years to restore it, but then another trouble: the fire of 1812. The entire interior of the church burnt out, while a considerable damage was done to the outside walls. So they had to rebuild it all over again.
The Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova is surrounded by a fine forged fence. In 1930-s one of the fence pieces was secretly taken to Kolomenskoe. Based on this single piece that had remained intact the entire fence was recreated during the reconstruction in 1990-s.
During the Soviet times the Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova was closed. It served as a residency for the construction workers of Moscow metro, and later simply as a warehouse. In 1992 the restoration began. As a result, the roof with kokoshniks, the window cases and the refectory are fully restored. The temple serves today as a town church of the Solovetsky Monastery. In the courtyard you can see a wooden worship cross that was consecrated to commemorate the martyrs who had died in the Solovki prison camp. The foundation of the cross is a blockhouse filled with stones from Solovki.
Tsar Ivan the Terrible built the first „tsar’s tavern“ for his oprichniks right next to the Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova. The ancient Russian word “yandova” meant a copper vessel for beer. “Yandova” had also another meaning: this word was used to describe a drain ditch reinforced with wood that looked like a gutter. The additional reinforcement was necessary due to frequent floods. Many names in this area are connected with such words as ditch, trench or canal. Raushskaya embankment, for example, comes from “rovushki” (“small ditches”), Kanava (“trench”) is another name of Vodootvodny Canal, while Endova is a distorted, more scathing name of this area.
The bell-tower of the Church of St. George the Victorious was built in 1806. It was financed by a scientist, botanist and naturalist named Pavel Demidov. Let’s face it, there aren’t many building in Moscow financed by scientists. The whole area from Sadovnicheskaya St. to the house No. 13 was called Demidovsky court during a long period of time. Demidov had here in his own courtyard a small menagerie and a botanical garden. Not far away from here, in Lavrushensky lane, you can see Demidov’s mansion, where the scientist also bred exotic animals and cultivated rare plants. Demidov bequeathed his library, collection of minerals and coins to the Moscow State University. All this had been considered lost in the fire of 1812 up until recently when the MSU research library has been moved from Mokhovaya St. to a new building on Vorobievy Gory (Sparrow Hills). Then they have discovered these old boxes, untouched for the last 200 years, that contained the scientist’s precious gift.
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.