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Red Square

Red Square is a large open square in the center of Moscow. It is located in front of the Kremlin's western wall. The square is fenced in the State Historical Museum building, the GUM building, and St. Basil Cathedral. For many centuries Red Square has served as the place for important historical events.
Red Square was founded at the end of the 15th century when Ivan III ordered to demolish wooden constructions around the Kremlin walls to prevent the tsar's residence from a fire. On the site of wooden constructions by the Kremlin's western wall a trade square started to form. Originally, it was called Torgovaya Square (Trade Square), then it got the name of Trinity Square, as the Trinity Church was located in the southern side of the square. The square obtained its modern name in the 17th century.
In an effort to fortify the Kremlin the 12-meters ditch was dug in 1508-1516. It connected Moscow River and Neglinnaya River. The ditch fenced in walls was filled up only after 1812. In the northern side of the square the Kitai-Gorod gates were located, and the western side featured trade rows. In 1555-1560 on the side of the Trinity Church the Pokrovsky Cathedral (St. Basil Cathedral) was put up by Russian architects Barma and Postnik.
In the 30s of the 16th century a dais was constructed on Red Square. It was called the Lobnoe Mesto (place of execution). It served as a rostrum for annunciation of important events such as government communique and solemn ceremonies. Sometimes it was used for executions. The Lobnoe Mesto got its modern shape in 1786 when it was rebuilt by architect M. Kazakov. The Lobnoe Mesto looks like a round stone eminence edged with a parapet and stairs.
By the end of the 17th century Red Square grew in importance for Moscow and the whole country. In 1697 the Mint was put up on the square, in 1699 the Zemsky Department was constructed, and later the Main Drugstore was erected. In 1755 Moscow University started to function in the building of the drugstore.
In 1786 the new trade rows designed by architect Quarenghi were put up in front of the Kremlin wall. The building was destroyed during the Patriotic War of 1812, and in 1814-1815 it was rebuilt. In 1818 in front of the building the monument to heroes of struggle against Polish intervention Kozma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pojarsky was put up. In 1930 the monument made after sculptor I. Martos's design was moved to the Pokrovsky Cathedral.
At the end of the 19th century the look of Red Square changed noticeably. In 1875-1881 on the site of Zemsky Department the Historical Museum was put up. It was designed by architect V. Sherwood. In 1889-1893 the building of the Upper trade rows that nowadays houses the GUM department store was put up to A. Pomerantsev's design. These buildings were constructed in pseudo-Russian style to match the walls and towers of the Kremlin.
The next stage of Red Square ensemble formation was closely connected to the Soviet period of Russian history. Red Square together with the Kremlin turned into the symbol of the new power, and its name was associated with Revolution. Since 1918 Red Square served as a place for parades and demonstrations. On Red Square the parade of the 7th of November, 1941 took place, the participants of which were leaving for the front. The parade dedicated to the victory in World War II also took place on Red Sqaure on the 24th of June, 1945.
In 1924 the wooden Mausoleum designed by architect A. Shchusev was put up on Red Square. It became the burial place of Vladimir Lenin. In 1929-1930 the Mausoleum was rebuilt in stone, and in 1930-1931 the rostrums above the Mausoleum were constructed after architect V. Frantsuz's design. Along the Kremlin walls the fir-trees were planted, and Red Square that used to be cobbled was covered with cubes.










The Arbat located between Arbatskie Vorota Square and Smolenskaya Square is one of the most famous streets in Moscow. The Arbat is also one of the symbols of old Moscow, which was celebrated in poems, novels, songs and movies. Nowadays the Arbat is the name of the pedestrian street, but actually the Arbat is the whole district of Moscow that marked its 500th birthday in 1993.
The Arbat Street ranges among the oldest in the Russian capital. Its exotic name comes from an Arabian word "arbad" ("rabad") that means "suburb, estate". This word was probably brought to Moscow by Crimean Tatars or Arabian merchants in the 15th century. In the middle of the 17th century there were attempts to rename the street Smolenskaya, but this name did not find acceptance.
Originally, the Arbat was the place where merchants and craftspeople lived, but by the end of the 18th century they were replaced by the noblemen. In the middle of the 19th century the Arbat turned into the prestigious and fashionable place. The richest and the most powerful Russian families preferred to have their mansions here. The Arbat was a peaceful and quiet district where the relatively small mansions in the Empire style and wooden houses surrounded by gardens were put up. The Arbat did not feature large shops. The area was popular among the doctors, lawyers, writers and poets. In different times, the Arbat was the place of stay for Alexander Pushkin, Sergey Rakhmaninov, Alexander Skryabin, Nikolay Gogol, Lev Tolstoy, Mikhail Saltikov-Shchedrin, Anton Chekhov, and Alexander Block. Life of famous director Evgeniy Vakhtangov and his theater was closely connected to the Arbat.
By the end of the 19th century the Arbat started to approach its modern look. A lot of shops and many-storied tenement-houses were constructed.
At the time of the Soviet power the look of the Old Arbat underwent irreversible changes. At the beginning of the 1960s the side streets of the Arbat were turned into the part of Kalinina Prospect that was lately renamed the New Arbat. It resulted in destruction of many architectural monuments of the 18th-19th centuries. The Muscovites neatly called the new street "the dentures".
In 1974-1986 the Arbat became the pedestrian street with plenty of small shops, cafes and lively pedlary. It is the place where artists work, street singers perform, and Russian souvenirs are sold. The Old Arbat is a very popular place, especially among the tourists, since the Muscovites are pretty skeptical about such a transformation of the famous Moscow corner.
The Arbat feature memorial museums dedicated to Alexander Pushkin, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Mikhail Lermontov. The street also features a number of old mansions decorated with moldings, balconies, and caryatids. In the Arbat, 2 there is the famous Prague Restaurant that exists since 1872. One of the most famous theaters in Moscow, Vakhtangov Theater, is also located in the Arbat.



Manege Square

Manege Square is a large pedestrian open space at the very centre of Moscow bound by the Hotel Moskva (to the east), the State Historical Museum and the Alexander Garden (to the south), the Moscow Manege (to the west), and the 18th-century headquarters of the Moscow State University (to the north).
The square forms a vital part of downtown Moscow, connecting Red Square (which sprawls behind the Iberian Gate immediately to the south) with a major traffic artery, Tverskaya Street, which starts here and runs northward in the direction of Saint Petersburg. It is served by three metro stations: Okhotny Ryad, Ploshchad Revolyutsii and Teatralnaya
Moiseyevskaya Square at the turn of the 19th centuryThe Manezhka (as it is familiarly known) had its origins in Moiseyevskaya Square, which was formed in 1798 in consequence of the demolition of the medieval Moiseyevsky Monastery which used to stand on the banks of the Neglinnaya River since the times of Ivan the Terrible. Although the muddy river was earthed up, the neighbourhood remained crammed with public houses and taverns which gave the area its infamous moniker of "Moscow's belly".
A decision was arrived at in 1932 to pull down these "ugly relics of the bourgeois lifestyle" in order to make room for Communist meetings and demonstrations. As a result, the 19th-century Grand Hotel and several Neoclassical mansions by Osip Bove were dismantled, whereupon the Moiseyevskaya Square was expanded to its present size and renamed Manezhnaya after the Manege it now abutted upon.
Notwithstanding its new name, the eastern side of the square came to be dominated by another building, the newly-built Hotel Moskva, a hybrid of several styles, most notable for its huge proportions and uptight look.
In 1967, the square was rechristened after the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution. Furthermore, in order to commemorate that event, the Communist authorities laid a foundation stone for a grandiose sculptural monument, which failed to materialize. In August 1991, Manezhnaya Square (its name by then restored) became a venue for great demonstrations celebrating the fall of Communism after the abortive coup d'état. More recently, it made the news in connection with riots following the Russia national football team's defeat at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.


Kitai-Gorod is one of the oldest historical parts of Moscow. It joins the Kremlin from the east side, and Moscow River - from the south side. In the north it borders with Okhotny Ryad, and in the north-east - with Old and New squares.
The south part of Kitai-Gorod is the oldest one. It is well known that in the 11th century it had already been inhabited. In the 14th century the territory was occupied by traders and craftsmen. The name "Kitai-Gorod" appeared in the 16th century when the craftsmen were replaced by the boyars and clergy representatives. The name has nothing to do with China, which is "Kitai" in Russian. Most probably, it comes from the old Russian word "kita" that is a bunch of poles that was used for fortification construction.
Originally, Kitai-Gorod was surrounded with earth rampart and wooden fortifications, and in 1535-1538 on their site the Kitaigorodskaya Wall was put up. By that time Kitai-Gorod along with Red Square was an important trade center of Moscow. It was also famous as the place where the Printing Typography started to function in the 16th century, and printing pioneer Ivan Fyodorov worked. At the end of the 17th century in Kitai-Gorod the Mint was opened, and in 1687 the Slovenian-Greek-Latin Academy that was the prototype of the University was founded in the monastery of Our Savior Behind the Icons.
Nowadays Kitai-Gorod ranges among the nine "preserving zones" that were created by the government decision. It is not allowed to put up new constructions in Kitai-Gorod. The restored old mansions and churches are used as museums, concert halls, and other cultural institutes.

Poklonnaya Hill

Historically, the hill had great strategic importance, as it commanded the best view of the Russian capital. Its name is derived from the Russian for "to bow down", as everyone approaching the capital from the west was expected to do homage here. In 1812, it was the spot where Napoleon in vain expected the keys to the Kremlin to be brought to him by Russians.
In the 1960s, the Soviet authorities decided to put the area to use as an open-air museum dedicated to the Russian victory over Napoleon. The Moscow triumphal arch, erected in wood in 1814 and in marble in 1827 to a design by Osip Bove, was relocated and reconstructed here in 1968. A loghouse, where Kutuzov presided over the Fili conference which decided to abandon Moscow to the enemy, was designated a national monument. The huge panorama "Battle of Borodino" by Franz Roubaud (1910-12) was installed here in 1962. A monument to Kutuzov was opened in 1973.
At the 60th V-day celebrations in 2005, President Vladimir Putin inaugurated 15 extravagant bronze columns, symbolizing main fronts and navies of the Red Army during the World War II.

Izmaylovsky Park

Izmaylovsky Park or Izmaylovo Park is one of the largest parks (urban forests) in Moscow, Russia, situated in the Izmaylovo District of the city. The park was inaugurated in 1930, and was known as Stalin Park until it changed its name in the 1950s. Izmailovskaya station of the Moscow Metro serves the park.
In November 1995, terrorists from Chechnya planted, but did not detonate, a RDD in Izmailovo Park. The bomb consisted of dynamite and caesium-137 removed from cancer treatment equipment. Reporters were tipped off about its location and it was defused.

Losiny Ostrov National Park

Losiny Ostrov National Park (Elk Island) is the first national park of Russia, located in Moscow and Moscow Oblast. It is presumed to be the largest forest in a city of comparable size.
Losiny Ostrov National Park was created in 1983 on the land which since ancient times served as the strictly guarded hunting area of Russian Grand Princes and tsars. Its territory was declared reserved in 1799, the first forest management was established here in 1842, and the idea of the creation of national park was expressed as early as 1909.
This place is known from the 14th century, in particular, from the testaments of Russian princes - Ivan Kalita, Dmitri Donskoi, Vladimir of Serpukhov and their descendants. In them are mentioned the plowed lands and the forests, located on the territory of the present national park. Later, this region became the place of tsarist hunting, and the land of the future park came under protection. During the Time of Troubles, the economic activity here was abruptly reduced, the former plowed lands were overgrown with forest. The prosperity of the Losiny Ostrov as a hunting area is connected with tsar Aleksey.

Patriarch Ponds

Patriarshiye Ponds nicknamed Patriki (Патрики), is an affluent residential area in downtown Presnensky District of Moscow, Russia. For the last 200 years, there has been only one pond, although, as the name of Tryokhprudny Pereulok suggests, there used to be more. The area of the existing pond is 9,900 square meters (106,560 sq ft); the depth is about two meters. Because of the area's proximity to Tverskaya Street business district, the area is popular with expatriates.