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Stand with your back to the tall pink colonnaded building on Pyatnitskaya, and you have a view of Chernigovsky Lane and the two churches which stand on it, one opposite the other. The one on the left, with the green roof, is the Pine-Forest Church of the Beheading of St. John The Baptist. Meanwhile on the right we see the five-domed church of St. Mikhail & St. Fyodor the Wondrous. It's very likely that the single-domed church might in fact be the oldest in the Zamoskvorechie neighbourhood.
The Pine-Forest Church of the Beheading of St. John The Baptist was built in the early C16th by the Italian master mason Aloisio Lamberti da Montagnana – the court architect of Tsar Basil III, who was known in Russia by the nickname of “Aleviz Novy”, or 'Aleviz the New'. Russians at the time liked to give russified nicknames to visiting foreign experts – and since there was already one Italian mason nicknamed “Aleviz”, they called the first one “Old Aleviz”, the new arrival 'New Aleviz'. “New Aleviz” is most famous for building the Cathedral of Archangel Michael in the Kremlin – although only the lower part of his design is preserved, as the upper part dates from a later rebuilding. Much of the rebuilding here in the Church of St John The Baptist was supervised by the style-moderne architect of the early C20th Feodor Schechtel, who installed a marble ikon-screen.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917 the Church of John the Baptist was closed. After WW2 the church building was used as the offices of the Management Committee For Foodstuff Production. It was later used as a showroom for decorative glassware. The entire interiors of the church underwent extensive restoration in the 1990s, during which ancient frescoes were discovered, similar in style to those in St Basil's Cathedral. It was decided to preserve the marble altar-screen that had been installed in the early-C20th rebuilding in the church. In 1992 the Church was restored to Divine Worship.
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.