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This pedestrian bridge was opened in mid-1994 to provide a crossing from Bolotnaya, or Marshy Square to Kadashevsky Embankment on the opposite side of Moskva River. Official explanations state that its name – Luzhkov Bridge – arose because the historic name of the district was Tsaritsa's Meadow, in Russian Tsaritsyn Loog - “Luzhkov” derives from “Loog”. But most Muscovites are in no doubt that the bridge was named after the omnipotent Moscow Mayor at the time, Yuri Luzhkov.
Street-lanterns both big and small decorate the Luzhkov Bridge. Zurab Tsereteli, the President of the Russian Academy of Arts, donated the large bas-relief sculptures of St. George which decorate the handrails. The rails have been decorated in more impromptu manner by a large number of padlocks which have been locked in place. There was a craze among couples in love to mark their inseparable hearts with a padlock – and throw the key into the water. The designers searched for a way of protecting the bridge from so many locks – so some metallic trees were added, to which padlocks can be lawfully fixed. The hope is that the fad for padlock-fixing will wear off, and then the metallic trees will be carted-off – leaving the bridge in its original glory.
The highest point on the bridge walkway offers a splendid view of a redbrick factory building located on the waterfront – it's the Red October Chocolate Factory, and behind it we see Tsereteli's massive statue of Peter the Great. Look beyond the Udarnik, or Drummer-Boy Cinema, and you can see the chimneys of the Central Electric Power-Station. The cinema's rounded dome tops off the enormous shape of the House On The Embankment. Beyond the line of trees ahead we see the fortress walls of the Kremlin. Looking further round we see Zamoskvorechie's old buildings, and – in summer weather – the fountains of the Water Overflow Canal. The fountains are mounted on pontoons in the canal, and they rise and fall with the water-level in the canal.
Luzhkov Bridge is often called Lover's Bridge, the Bridge of Love, or the Bridge of Kisses. These unofficial names arise from the metallic trees added to the bridge's design, on whose branches young couples fasten padlocks as a symbol of their everlasting love. The first Love Tree was added to the bridge in 2007. But it was preceded by ongoing battles between newlyweds and the State Enterprise “GorMost”, which is in charge of bridges and underpasses. Newlyweds fastened their padlocks of love to various city bridges – and GorMost immediately hacksawed them off again. It was a question of who would blink first – and GorMost blinked. Instead they put up the metallic trees at the Luzhkov Bridge, saying that padlocks attached to these trees would be left in place. Then they had to install more metallic trees to cope with the demand. Nowadays there is no more room left on the bridge for metallic trees, so they have started to appear on the embankment by the bridge as well.
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.