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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.