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The church which has one gold and four blue domes is the Church of St Nicholas at Pyzhakh. Opposite the church we see two single-storey bordeaux-coloured buildings joined by a porch. They were once the property of a significant merchant and Freeman of the City of Moscow, Vassily Arshinov.
The Church of St Nicholas at Pyzhakh was originally built in the C17th and consecrated to the Annunciation of Our Lord. The Church was built as an annexe to St Nicholas's Church, which abuts it to the Eastern side. There are 16 window-lets set in the gabled bell-tower, enabling its chimes to be heard more loudly. The architect's name isn't known, but the extent of the decoration on the church is great, even for that time.
Symmetrically aligned with the Church of St Nicholas there were the Chapels of St Anthony and St Theodosius of the Holy Caves. In fact one bell from the bell-tower once had the honour of appearing in the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre – these days it's in the belltower of the Elokhovsky Cathedral. The railings which face Bolshaya Ordynka were put up in the C19th, but the rails were replaced in the style moderne era.
A wooden Church of the Annunciation stood on the site of the St Nicholas at Pyzhakh Church no earlier than 1593. It was paid for by sharpshooters of a regiment led by a captain named Filosofov. During the rule of Tsar Alexei Mihailovich this same sharpshooter regiment had been sent to serve as the garrison troops in Kiev. There they relieved a regiment captained by Bogdan Pyzhov – whose surname comes into the name of the St Nicholas Church at Pyzhakh. By the mid-C17th the church has been rebuilt in stone – the church building which we see nowadays, in fact.
The Church of Nicholas was rebuilt and refurbished many times. It was desecrated by Napoleon's occupying army in 1812, and it was not until 1848 that it was fully restored and redecorated – a process which took forty years. All the work undertaken during those many years of rebuilding was paid for by the charitable donations of Ivan Lyamin, the benefactor and trustee of the church. Lyamin subsequently became Mayor Of Moscow for some years, and was a founder member of the Moscow Merchants Bank.
Three of the priests who served at the Church of St Nicholas during the years of Communist repression were subsequently canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church as Latter-Day Martyrs. They were Holy Father Gabriel Igoshkin, Rector from 1928 until 1934; Holy Martyr Nikolai Pomerantsev; and Martyr Tatiana Grimbilt, a member of the choir.
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.