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The fountain in the Public Gardens on Marshy Square was built in 1948, and has a long history. It was once a music-and-light fountain, and the loudspeakers for it still stand on the masts of the fountain's lighting. The lights worked in time to the music. However, a lot of influential people lived in the elite Party House On The Embankment nearby, and the music annoyed them – well, in fact some said it was all too loud, while others said the patriotic tub-thumping tunes were actually being played too quietly. To please both sides, the music was shut off altogether. The 1980s heralded the last shout for the ailing USSR, and musical fountains were the last thing on anyone's mind. These days the din of passing traffic is so intense that no-one would hear it even if they did decide to turn the music on again.
It's worth mentioning that the fountain has an official name – Bolotny, or Marshy Fountain - although frankly it's a hugely inappropriate name. Similarly no-one now remembers that that pool of the fountain is cast from the melted-down barrels of captured German ordnance from WW2. The granite spheres nearby were – according to city legend – previously located on the waterfront outside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, before it was knocked down by Stalin.
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.