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In the C18th the place where we find today's Marshy Square was called the Tsaritsa's Meadows. It was a location which offered the unlikely entertainment combination of public executions and firework displays. One famous firework display took place for the coronation of Catherine I in 1724. There was even a special fireworks laboratory located here, where they both devised and launched fireworks. From the C19th Marshy Square became mainly a market-place. Merchants had their premises all around, and transporting goods was easy – summer by river, and winter over the ice. Marshy Square was the main city bread-market at the time – rows of goods sold by stout traders. Most of the trade was wholesale, and most of the traders were country-people who weren't known for being very communicative.
However, there were large sums of money changing hand at the Marshy Square Market. The sellers were termed kulaks – the term used in the C19th for stall-holders who produced nothing of their own, but bought-up bread from out-of-town peasants and immediately sold it on for a small profit. In 1841 one Moscow newspaper wrote “You wouldn't believe Marshy Square Market! You'll see real kulaks there – shabby coat; odd shoes so that one foot's warm and the other's cold; and their hair growing through their cap. Just like capitalists they buy-up bread from travelling sellers.” They also sold oats and barley at Marshy Square Market, in winter – and in summer they also sold fruit.
The size of Marshy Square was considerably less in the early C19th than today. The northern perimeter was Labaznaya Street, which has long since become part of the modern square. The square was even known as Labaznaya – a name which immediately suggests the bread-warehouses which used to stand there. After 1917 the trade in bread and fruit here ended. In 1938 the square was rebuilt, and from 1940 parts of the square became grassy lawns.
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.