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Today’s version of the Big Stone Bridge dates back to 1938. Its fencings are adorned with images of the almost-forgotten soviet coat of arms of Moscow. Once the 1917 revolution was done, the Moscow’s Saint George coat of arms was relinquished. On September 22nd, 1924, the Presidium of the Moscow Council approved of the new coat of arms for the city, which was then used up until 1993. Just look at it a little closer: that soviet design resembles all too well a symbol of Mars widely recognized in the C20th Russia – a magic pentagram, an encircled five-pointed star.
There is an idea going round that the cast-iron coats of arms of the Big Stone Bridge were really powerful good-fortune amulets for the USSR rulers. Allegedly, they emanate invisible mysterious energies that created a powerful protective field above the city center. Consider this: during the 70 years of the Soviet rule not a single leader had suffered unnatural death, while the tsars back in old Russia were murdered by handfuls. Thus, there had been 10 emperors at reign in Russia from early C18th up until 1917; 5 of them were murdered!
The magic powers of the Moscow coat of arms left no room for doubt by the 1940s. That is why it became the basis for the prototype of the prestigious soviet Victory order. It has to be noted that its influence is also evident in the Italian republic coat of arms. Italy also placed a five-pointed star on its coat of arms. Advocates of the magic properties of the image have a couple of solid arguments to back up their case. Thus, throughout the soviet times Moscow had remained the richest and the most prosperous city of the country and had outgrown itself by many times, both area and population-wise. In 1941 it could not be taken down by the world’s strongest army, let alone that was also the period of the Red Army’s major weakness. Moscow hadn’t burnt down in the mass bombings by German air forces, even though their most popular bombs of choice were the ones with flammable liquids that destroyed even those buildings made of stone.
Stalin was so confident of the Moscow coat of arms’ protective powers that he decided not to flee the capital even during the most critical period of the German attack. In the postwar times Moscow became a recognized world center for science, manufacturing and culture. It was considered one of the safest capitals of the world to live in. There were no significant terrorist acts in Moscow in the soviet period. Nevermind, though. If mystics is not your strongest side, just enjoy exploring the Stalinist artifacts as they are.
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.