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The delicate two-storey building of blue colour that at 33 Piatnitskaya street is a mansion of the late 19th century that used to belong to merchant Korobkov’s widow. It is currently occupied by the Republic of Tanzania embassy.
The 33 Piatnitskaya street was commissioned by Terenty (or simply Terence) Korovkob – a wealthy and well-known jeweler of the last quarter of the 19th century.
Just like any other businessman Korobkov was afraid of confiscation, expropriation and debt imprisonment. So he registered the house in the name of his wife, like many of his contemporaries did. That is why the signboard on the façade reads specifically “the house of Korobkova”.
Construction of the Korobkova mansion involved two stages. The older and more northern two-storey part of the building dates back to 1866. In the early 1890s it was reconstructed in an eclectic style by Lev Kekushev, a famous Moscow architect. The southern wing was added in 1899 by his student – architect Shutzman.
The most interesting to look at is the little tower in the left part of Korobkova mansion. It resembles a merchant’s trunk quite a lot, held up by two caryatides. There is a large arched window between them with a caduceus – the ancient Greek god Mercury’s staff. It is the symbol of intermediation, agreement and trade. Yet the main function of the caduceus is to ensure the owner’s safety and security.
In the postwar years the Korobkova mansion was occupied by the History of Arts Institute headed by a famous artist Igor Grabar.
Architect Lev Kekushev received secondary education in Vilensky school in Lithuania. He went on to study at the Civil engineering institute. In 1890 he left the public sector and decided to devote himself to private practices; he left Moscow altogether. Kekushev taught in a technical college, combining this job with another occupation as a teacher at Stroganov art school; he then spent a few years as a lecturer at Moscow engineering college of communication.
Lev Kekushev was a great drawing artist, he was heavily involved in drafting decorative and applied arts – he sketched images of bronze, wooden and zinc items for various Moscow production plants. He taught silver-plating, iron forging and composition. He had played a significant role in the evolution and shaping of the object environment of the time.
Both his initial sketches and final drafts for various household items and interior elements showed evident trends of the modernist style.
In the 1890s architect Lev Kekushev enjoyed a proper coming of success with the wealthy Moscow clientele. Just as it was with the decorative and applied arts, the master’s transition to an obviously modernist style became the basis of his architectural works of those years. At first it revealed itself mainly in minor details.
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.