The Bolshoi Theatre is one of the oldest and biggest theatres in Russia. It is also one of the most renowned opera and ballet theatres in the world. People sometimes call it shortly "The Bolshoi" and it is situated in the central part of Moscow. Originally it was an Imperial theatre.
The architect who designed the building of The Bolshoi was Joseph Bove. It was built between 1821 and 1824. Since then, the building was renovated and rebuilt several times. However, it kept its original imperial decorations. Today, it’s not simply the building of the theatre but it is also an outstanding landmark of Moscow. The neoclassical view of The Bolshoi can be seen on the Russian 100-ruble banknote.
The theatre is always associated with opera and ballet. It has been the site for many notable premiers. Among them, Rachmaninoff’s “Aleko”, Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov”, Tchaikovsky’s “The Voyevoda” and “Mazeppa”. Ballet repertoire includes Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”, Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Adam’s “Giselle” and several others. Many productions are based on classical works of Russian composers. However, the works of such Italian composers as Verdi, Rossini and Puccini are also staged.
The Bolshoi is well-known throughout the world. It is frequently visited by tourists and guests of Moscow. The Bolshoi’s sibling – The Maly Theatre – situated right next to it, is also frequented by visitors from all over the globe. The Maly Theatre specializes in dramas.
The first fortresses on the site of the Moscow Kremlin were built in the 11th century. Initially, they were simple wooden fences with guard towers. The wooden walls were first replaced by white-stone walls in 1367 (during the reign of Prince Dmitry Donskoy).
Being a symbol of the Russian statehood, the architectural ensemble “The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square” is included into the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum and Heritage Site incorporates the Armoury Chamber and the architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square, consisting of the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, the Church of Laying Our Lady's Holy Robe, the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles' Church and the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex, as well as the exhibition halls in the Assumption Belfry and in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace.
The unique architectural ensemble of the square has been under protection of UNESCO; it includes the Place of Fronts, the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, the Necropolis near the Kremlin wall where political and military figures of the Soviet state are buried. To the west is the Moscow Kremlin, to the east – the Upper (GUM) and the Middle Trade Rows, to the north – the Historical Museum and the Kazan Cathedral, to the south – the St. Basil's Cathedral.
The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin (St. Basil's Cathedral) is one of the most significant monuments of Old Russian architecture of the 16th century. The cathedral was built in 1555-1561 at the behest of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in honor of the conquest of the Kazan kingdom.
The central church is consecrated for the sake of the Protection of the Holy Virgin. Four churches are consecrated for the sake of the saints, whose memorial days occurred to be in the decisive battles for Kazan.
Other churches were consecrated for the sake of such events of the second half of the 16th century, as an appearance of a new image of Nicholas the Wonderworker in the Vyatka lands and the glorification of the Reverend Varlaam Khutynsky and Alexander Svirsky.
The Eastern Church is dedicated to the basic dogma of the Christian faith - the Holy Trinity. The Western Church of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem connects the cathedral with the image of the Heavenly City.
The Intercession Cathedral has unique wall paintings, an impressive collection of Old Russian icon painting and masterpieces of church art.
The Diamond Fund exhibition was opened in 1967 on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin. It is a subdivision of the Gokhran of Russia. Treasures of the Diamond Fund of the Russian Federation represent a collection of unique nuggets of precious metals and precious stones of historical and artistic value, as well as a collection of unique jewelry and other items made of precious metals and precious stones. The collection is undoubtedly one of the most significant and largest collections in the world. It is the most famous part of the State Fund treasury.
The Diamond Fund is a unique collection with a long path of development closely associated with the history of the Russian state. It includes masterpieces of jewelry art of the 18th-20th centuries, rare gems, insignia, gold and platinum nuggets of historical, artistic, scientific and material value.
The Armoury Chamber preserves ancient state regalia, ceremonial tsar's vestments and coronation dress, vestments of the Russian Orthodox Church's hierarchs, the largest collection of gold and silverware by Russian craftsmen, West European artistic silver, ceremonial weapons and arms, carriages, horse ceremonial harness.
The State Armoury presents more than four thousands items of applied art of Russia, European and Eastern countries of the 4th - early 20th centuries. The highest artistic level and particular historical and cultural value of the exhibits have made the State Armoury of the Moscow Kremlin a world-wide known museum.
The Kremlin Armoury keeps ancient state regalia, the most valuable of which is Monomakh's Cap, the main royal cap of Russian grand dukes and tsars, a symbol of autocracy in Russia. The Monomakh's Cap was used for the coronations of Tsars (including Tsar Ivan the Terrible) for 178 years.
The most famous museum of Russian art in the world was founded in 1856 by merchant Pavel Tretyakov. It has 11th century mosaics, ancient icons, sculptures, paintings. After the restoration, the gallery got a new depository and an Engineering building, where exhibitions take place.
The exhibition space in the main building of the gallery is over 12,000 square metres and is divided into 62 themed halls. The collection amounts to 170,000 artworks. Masterpieces of medieval Russian icon painting as well as paintings by I. Aivazovsky, M. Vrubel, K. Bryullov, V. Vasnetsov, and dozens of works by other Russian artists are displayed here. The museum contains many world-class masterpieces such as “The Trinity” by A. Rublev, “Appearance of Christ to the People” by A. Ivanov, “Boyarynya Morozova” by V. Surikov and amazing landscapes by I. Levitan and A. Kuindzhi. There are book shops and souvenir shops, cafes, and a restaurant called The Tratyakov Brothers which is affiliated with the gallery.
The building in Lavrushinsky side street is located in Zamoskvorechye, one of the most beautiful historical areas of Moscow. This is one of the few areas where 18-19th century buildings are largely preserved. A short walk away from the Tretyakov Gallery is the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent, St. Clement the Pope Church, and the Church of the Resurrection in Kadashevskaya Sloboda. The area around the beautiful Pyatnitskaya street has a good selection of cafes and restaurants to cater to every taste.
It was pitilessly demolished by Bolshevists in Stalin’s times and later restored as a replica using citizens’ funds. The Cathedral was consecrated on Transfiguration Day, 19 August 2000, as a symbol of the transformation of Moscow and Russia and the renunciation of its theomachic past.
Moscow’s cathedral of Christ the Saviour was under construction and embellishment for as long as 44 years (from 1839 to 1883). Its designer Konstantin Thon was a pioneer of the “neo-Russian” architectural style. Apart from him, the best sculptors and artists worked on the project. The ingenious Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote his 1812 Overture for the consecration ceremony, attended by veterans of the Patriotic War of 1812.
In 1931, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was dynamited to make way for the Palace of the Soviets, a new cathedral for the new era. The era that challenged the past and the present and wanted to immortalise itself in the highest building in the world, a gigantic ziggurat palace crowned with a 100-metre statue of Lenin. Eventually, communists abandoned their utopian idea and built a swimming pool on the site (Moskva Pool) – a sign of the modest and “warm” Stagnation Period of the 1960s–1980s. Next followed the Perestroika and repentance for the crimes of the past, and the cathedral, restored in the 1990s, became a symbol of putting the historical record straight.
Right in front of the park, The Luzhniki Olympic Complex, the biggest in Russia and Europe with its impressive Luzhniki Stadium, is a place not only for sports but also for other activities, as musical and cultural ones. In 1980 the stadium became a place for The Summer Olympics; The Olympic Mishka was send to the night sky from here, with the sad song and spectators` tears. And now football fans are exited about The 2018 FIFA World Cup. As for the international musicians, there were such stars with the concerts as U2, Moby, Muse, Depeche Mode, Korn, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and many others…
The Complex can offer different services, paintball and golf, for example. You can visit the museum of Russian sport, eat in some café or stay in the hotel.
The panoramic view can show not only some magnificent buildings, but also an amount of common dwelling houses, also known as "boxes", so typical for any Russian town.
Many visitors, as well as tourists come to this place throughout the year, In addition, it has become a nice tradition for newly married couples to visit the place. You can`t leave Vorobyovy Hills without some souvenirs, thus there are many shops with the biggest possible variety of folk things, such as traditional matreshka and lapti (bast shoe).
It`s possible to take an elevator up to the hill and down. While going to the hill one can embrace oneself with an amazing view, take some photos. If you are feeling hungry while on the way to the observation deck, you pop in a really nice restaurant, which has a lovely summer terrace. If you are not up for a nice dine-out, then you will have a chance to eat at a fast food place, which are nearby as well.
Nowadays, the memorial complex on the Poklonnaya Hill is an architectural ensemble and a park area, which includes the following objects: the Obelisk of the Victory 141.8 meters (465.2 feet) high (opened in 1995), the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 with an exposition and an archive (1995), the Temple of Martyr George the Victorious (1995), the Shuhada Memorial Mosque (1997), the Memorial Synagogue and the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Holocaust (1998), the Monument to Defenders of the Russian Land (1995), the Monument to Missing Soldiers without Graves (1995), the Spirit of the Elbe Memorial Plate (1995), the Peoples Tragedy Sculptural Composition (1997), the Monument to the Spanish People Fallen in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 (2003), the Monument to Peace Keepers (2004), the Memorial in Honor of Participant Countries of Anti-Hitler Coalition (2005), 15 Memorial Stelae in Honor of Main Fronts and Naval Forces of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 (2005), the Eternal Flame (2010), the “We Were Together in Our Fight against Fascism” Monument (2010), the Monument to Heroes of World War I (2014), the Hero Cities Memorial Complex (2016), the War Roads Monument (2017), the Monument to Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Liquidators (2017).
The Victory Park is a symbolic place wh ere dozens of thousands of people gather annually on May 9 to honor the memory of participants of the Great Patriotic War.
The Years of War Main Avenue includes five terraces, symbolizing five years of the war, and 1418 fountains represent the number of war days. The exposition of military equipment, engineering and fortification structures operates in the open air. Over 300 samples of heavy weapons used during the war are displayed here. There are 15 rides for young visitors in the style of the period of the Great Patriotic War: Air Fight, Victory Transport, Armored Train, Heavenly Slug and others.
The Victory Park is also a popular place to spend winter and summer holidays for Moscow citizens and guests of the capital. The sports area is located between the Alley of Partisans and the Alley of Soldiers and is open all day. It includes a multi-functional sports ground for football, volleyball and basketball, three courts, a table tennis court and a workout area with a series of pull-up bars, benches and inclusive equipment.
The Novodevichy Convent looks like a real fortress becuase it used to be a key fortified outpost protecting the south-western outskirts of Moscow. The remote location allowed the Lord’s servants to be of assistance to their secular ruler: they were the first to raise the alarm, and the first to accept battle. Tsar Vasily III founded the Novodevichy Convent in 1524 with these intentions in mind. Now a beautiful monument of architecture, the convent used to be the epicenter of all kinds of historic events throughout the six centuries of its existence. The convent bore witness to the iconic moments such as the formation of the Muscovite state, the Time of Troubles, wars, coups, revolutions, and the campaigns designed first to destroy and later to restore the Orthodox shrines. In the 19th–20th centuries, the convent necropolis became a burial place of famous personalities including artists, scientists, and Soviet party leaders. The remarkably rich history of Novodevichy Convent is full of legends.
When planning your visit, keep in mind that some of the facilities were designed to be used during summer time only (such as the Smolensky Cathedral), so you will find them closed in winter. Make sure to take a walk around the Novodevichy Ponds Park, located immediately outside the walls of the convent. The park is very cozy and provides a wonderful panoramic view of the Novodevichy Convent.
The Neglinnaya River, blocking the way to the Kremlin from the West, had became polluted and shallow by the 18th century, so in 1819, beneath the Resurrection Gate of China Town, it was enclosed under vaults and covered with earth. On this place in 1819 - 1823 the park was destroyed, which was called the Kremlin (from 1856 - Alexandrovsky) garden. We go into the garden from the side of the Resurrection Square through a large cast-iron gate. The park's decoration was built near the Central Arsenal Tower on an artificial hill, designed by the architect J Bove, a cove with four columns, which still exists today.
In 1913, a 20-meter obelisk was erected in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov's house in the garden, which in 1918 was converted into a monument to the great thinkers and revolutionary-socialists.
In 1967, the obelisk was moved to the south, and in its place a simple and majestic memorial ensemble "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" was built, dedicated to the heroic deeds of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. In the center of the complex is the Eternal Fire of Glory, next to the red porphyry blocks with the land of heroic cities.
For the burial of the Father of the Revolution, something special had to be arranged. Immediately after his death in 1924, a wooden mausoleum was erected on the square. In 1929, architect Aleksei Shchusev was commissioned to design a more lasting home for the body. The result, unveiled a year later, is a squat but attractive pyramid in layers of red, grey and black granite that harmonizes remarkably well with the Kremlin buildings behind it, despite its clear Constructivist influences. In the 1930's, granite platforms were added around the sides of the mausoleum, providing a point for government officials to inspect parades, a sight that became famous throughout the world in the Soviet Era.
While the mausoleum is comparatively small from the outside, it has hidden depths. There are two underground floors to the structure, which used to house a rest area for VIPs and the Kremlin guards, and the laboratory that was once used to supervise the ongoing embalming process. Sadly, though apparently no longer used, they aren't open to the public.
Despite the attention of a team of scientists - and leaving aside rumors that he was long ago replaced by a wax model - Lenin is not the freshest-looking of corpses. Gone are the days when eager citizens queued round block to catch a quick glimpse of the great leader. However, if you do wish to see the body, the process is far from simple. First you have to leave bags and cameras - no filming inside - in the Kutayfa tower cloakrooms. Then you join the queue that runs along the Kremlin wall. Visitors are kept moving, so you only get to spend a few minutes inside the mausoleum before you're hurried out by the guards. The funerary chamber is very dark and, on sunny days, the sudden contrast can be bewildering. Nonetheless, this is still something of a morbid necessity for visitors to Moscow. After years of rumor and controversy as to the fate of Lenin's body, the mausoleum was reopened in April 2005, and it looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
The building, like most buildings of the late 19th century, was designed in the style of historicism whose cornerstone is the use of architectural elements and details typical of a particular epoch in history. Carved window surrounds, small keeled arches and the decoration of the grand staircase are all reminiscent of 17th century architecture, i.e. the famous Russian patternwork (uzorochje). The architect paid special attention to the front facade as well as the corner which connects Red Square and Nikolskaya street. In addition, the Upper Trading Rows echo the architecture of the building of the Historical Museum, also built in an historic style.
Once inside, you get a totally different impression of the GUM. It is not just one building, but a kind of miniature city. It is formed by three street-like arcades intersecting at right angles and featuring a fountain in the center of the building, located under a glass dome which lets in natural sunlight. The arcades have transparent arched skylights, giving the impression that you are outdoors. Framing the arcades are three-storey buildings housing numerous stores. Each level has concourses and walkways which link different arcades. Inside as well as outside, three tiers of decoration can be seen, marking the three storeys. This is the architect’s way of conveying the medieval atmosphere of a whole trading quarter while turning it into a small town sheltered from any rough weather or inconvenience – basically, anything that might prevent its visitors from having an enjoyable time inside.
The Upper Trading Rows were constructed to meet the new specifications of the time. The building was equipped with central heating, electric lighting and running water. The innovation lay in the use of metal support structures, which allowed for a large number of decorative elements with no constructive function. But more importantly, the construction features arched roofs with slanting trusses designed by V. Shukhov. Glass panes were attached to the steel framework, which was instrumental not only in covering long and wide arcades and providing illumination but also in in increasing the efficiency of the construction in terms of overall cost.
The same principle was used to build a number of arcades in Europe among which are the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and the Galleria Umberto I in Naples.
Today, the GUM arcades host different exhibitions, while the mall itself, which has long become an architectural and historical landmark, is unmissable for all who find themselves in Moscow.
This is also the site of the Moskvarium, one of the biggest indoor aquariums in Europe both in terms of its floor space and the number of sea animals contained inside. Fabulous fountains with remarkable sculptural groups are the jewel in the crown of VDNKh. All kinds of festivals, exhibitions, and fairs are held in the VDNKh pavilions as well as in the open air year round. A huge ice rink operates here in winter.
Most of the VDNKh pavilions are built in the so-called Stalinist Empire style. They preserve the memory of their epoch – a period of intense industrial development of the Soviet Union, the victory in the Great Patriotic War and the post-war recovery period. The history of VDNKh goes back to the 1930s. The first ever “All-Union Agricultural Exhibition” opened here in 1939. A display of the top achievements of the country’s working people was supposed to become a public festival and a source for pride. V. Mukhina’s famous stainless steel sculpture ’Worker and Kolkhoz Woman’ was erected at the entrance to the exhibition. The monument received international recognition at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.
The territory of the VDNKh is so vast and impressive (more than 300 ha), that you need more than one day to see it all – every visit to this place brings new discoveries.
In the last few years, VDNKh has been under renovation. The exhibition was integrated with the Botanical Garden and the Ostankino Park, and as a result, an immense recreational area has now been established. The pavilions are being restored; in the “Central” pavilion, the relief called “Glory to Soviet People – the Standard Bearer of Peace”, created by Vuchetich, was found 50 years afterwards. The Moskvarium, entertainment facilities and museums have also been opened in this space. Various exhibitions are held in the pavilions and in the open air. Convenient rental desks, bicycle paths, playgrounds for children, and sports facilities have been set up as well. There are cafes, green areas and beautiful flower beds, too. Many come to this place simply to have a stroll, meet with friends, or learn to roller skate or ice skate. There is always a festive spirit in the air here, and it’s certainly worth a visit.
This rather squat tower (its height on the outer side is just 13.5 meters), was built in 1516 by Aliosio de Carcano, in order to defend the bridges to the Kremlin. It is the only bridgehead watchtower to survive to the present day, and was previously surrounded by a moat and a river. In times of enemy attack, the gates were tightly shut, and the tower became a formidable obstacle to those besieging the citadel. In the 16th and 17th centuries the water level of the Neglinnaya River was high enough that water surrounded the tower on all sides, thanks to a system of dikes. It is said that the tower got its name from its heavy, ponderous form: the word "kutafya" in Russian once meant "ugly, clumsy woman". In 1668 a causeway leading through the tower to the Troitskaya Bridge was built. The building was thoroughly restored in the 1970s.
Judging by the Tsar Cannon's calibre of 890 mm, it was given its name as the world’s biggest cannon. The gun's tube's weight is about 40 ton, its length is 5,34 m. The cannon's surface is adorned with the cast figured friezes, vegetation ornament, memorial inscriptions and an equestrian image of Tsar Feodor Ioannovich. In 1835, the Tsar Cannon was fixed on the carriage specially cast for it at the Berdt’s factory in St. Petersburg. Four hollow decorative cannonballs were made at the same time.
The Tsar Cannon has never shot. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war.
Initially, the Tsar Cannon was fixed on Red Square near the Spasskiye Gate. In 1706, it was moved into the Kremlin, fixed at first in the Arsenal’s inner yard and then at the main gate (with another cannon). In 1835, the two cannons were staged on the new bases, specially cast on the project of A. Bryullov. In 1843, the Tsar Cannon and other old Russian cannons were placed in front of the Armoury Chamber’s old building in the opposite of the Arsenal. The captured cannons were left by the Arsenal.
In 1960, when the Palace of Congresses (now it is called the State Kremlin Palace) was under construction, the building of the Armoury Chamber (architect I. Yegotov) was dismantled. The old cannons were transferred to the Arsenal building. Later the Tsar Cannon was fixed on its present-day place. The Tsar Cannon, its base and cannonballs were renovated in the 1970s.
The bell was formed and cast in a special moulding pit at Ivanovskaya Square to the east of the 'Ivan the Great' Bell Tower.
Woodcarvers from St. Petersburg – Vasily Kobelev, Pyotr Galkin, Pyotr Kokhtev, Pyotr Serebryakov and the moulding master Pyotr Luokovnikov were commissioned to make the relief ornamentation. The name of the sculptor was discovered not long ago – it was Feodor Medvedev who got educated in Italy. Preparatory works took almost two years. At the end of 1734, the masters began the heating of metal in specially built furnaces, but soon the leakage was found out. At the same time, the fire destroyed wooden lifting constructions above the bell. The work was recommenced, but when Ivan Motorin died in August 1735, his son was entrusted with the work.
The Tsar Bell was finally cast in November 1735. However, it still remained in the moulding pit. In May 1737, a terrible fire known as Troitsky broke out and spread to the Kremlin buildings. During the fire extinguishing, cold water fell on the bell itself. Temperature difference caused its crack, and a huge piece of 11.5 ton broke off.
The repeated attempts to lift up the bell were a failure. In 1836, the work was commissioned to French architect from St. Peterburg Auguste Montferrant, who designed the lifting construction and an octal sandstone pedestal for the Tsar Bell. The first lifting was a failure; then the device was improved and the Tsar Bell was pulled out from the moulding pit at last. It remains there up till now as an example of the art of casting.
The Tsar Bell is decorated with bas-relief portraits of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and Empress Anna Ioannovna; it is adorned both with floral ornament in the baroque style and images of saints, angels and inscriptions telling the story of the bell.
The present-day stately stone cathedral was constructed by an Italian architect named Aloisio the New in 1508. Grand Prince Ivan III of Russia ordered Aloisio to take inspiration from Russian architecture, therefore the resulting cathedral incorporated many elements of both Russian and Venetian styles. The cathedral’s history dates back to the 13th century, when a wooden church was founded on this spot by Mikhail Yaroslavich Khorobrit, the brother of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky, in honour of his patron saint, Archangel.
The cathedral is located on Borovitsky Hill, with amazing views from the side of the Moskva River. It is reminiscent of a mediaeval Venetian palazzo, as the wall’s surface, divided vertically by classic pilasters and horizontally by cornices, covered with ornate decorations from top to bottom reflects the cathedral’s inner design to a lesser extent than do many ancient Russian churches. A abundance classical decorative elements as cornices, pilasters and capitals creates the impression of synchronicity and visually splits the building into two tiers. Adorned with blind arches, the lower tier appears massive, while rectangular recessed panels embellish the upper tier. Unusual sculptures, shell-shaped niches and medallion windows are visible in the upper section of the cathedral.
The building is a cruciform domed church, i.e. its two crossing central aisles are topped with a dome at their intersection. The Cathedral features five domes, highlighting its special significance. Notice that four domes out of five are not golden – this reflects that the cathedral is used as a necropolis. From the side of the Cathedral Square, the building appears overly elongated – this is because a gallery was annexed to the loggia’s western part for use by the ruling family.
The tiered structure gives the impression that the inner space of the church is divided into two floors. This is not the case, however. Enter the cathedral, and you will find yourself in a cramped and dark space typical of traditional Russian architecture. This effect is produced by the narrow arrow slit windows which do not allow much light to pass, the dark walls covered entirely with frescos, the dome-supporting pillars, and the tombs lined up along the walls. It is worth noting the 17th-century carved wooden iconostasis. While most of the icons in the cathedral date back to the 17th century, the oldest is the patronal icon entitled The Holy Archangel Michael and the Scenes of His Deeds, dated 1399. The Icon of Our Lady of the Blessed Heaven (1678-1680) is known for its apparent healing properties.
Of special interest are the frescos, painted in the 17th century by artists from the Kremlin Armoury, including the well-known icon-painter Simeon Ushakov. They are based on the ideology of the unity of church and state. As with other Russian religious buildings, the frescos are located in the dome and the apse and also cover the walls in tiers. Many scenes portray the miracles worked by the Cathedral’s patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel. What is unusual about the mural paintings are the representations of the deceased princes, located right over their graves. These are full-length portraits of the princes, whose figures face the altar, with medallion-shaped images of their patron saints above their heads. The princes embody the strengthening of Moscow and the gathering of the Russian lands, a cause for which they fought during their lifetimes.
The cathedral of the assumption was built in 1475 and consecrated to the Feast of the Dormition (passing of earthly life) of the Mother of God, who is believed to be a patron of Russia. The cathedral retained its high status even after the capital of the Russian Empire had been relocated to St. Petersburg in the early 18th century.
Aristotele Fioravanti, the Italian architect who designed this temple, came up with an amazing mix of Russian temple building traditions and the latest techniques applied in European design and construction. Besides its architecture, the Dormition Cathedral is interesting because of its wall paintings – the beautiful 15th–17th century frescoes exemplifying Orthodox monumental art. The Cathedral of the Dormition has been a Patriarchal cathedral since 1991, but worship services are quite infrequent there, so the temple is open to tourists virtually all year round.
There are reliquaries containing the relics of the Metropolitans of Moscow: Saint Jonas, Saint Philip II, Saint Hermogenes, and Saint Peter who gave his blessing for the construction of the very first Dormition Cathedral on this site in 1326. The cathedral also features some ancient icons of great value dating back to the 13th–14th centuries.
The palace was the residence of the Russian monarchs during their visits to Moscow.
Its name is derived from the Russian words for "forehead" (lob) and "place" (mesto). In old Russian lobmeant a steep river bank. The platform, believed to have been constructed in brick in the 1530s, was first mentioned in 1547, when Ivan the Terrible addressed the Muscovites from there. Subsequently, it was primarily used for announcing the tsar's ukazes and for religious ceremonies. Despite a common misconception, the circular platform itself was never a place for executions. Sometimes scaffolds were placed by it, but usually public executions were carried out at Vasilevsky Spusk behind St. Basil's Cathedral.
In the Russian Empire, during Holy Week, the Palm Sunday procession called "donkey walk" would end at the Lobnoye Mesto where a depiction of Calvary had been erected. The Tsar himself, on foot to show humility, would lead the Patriarch of Moscow, who was seated on a donkey, in a procession from the city gates to Red Square.
The nearby Monument to Minin and Pozharsky commemorates the events of 1612, when Prince Pozharsky ascended the Lobnoye Mesto to pronounce Moscow free from Polish occupation. In 1786, the architect Matvei Kazakov had the Lobnoye Mesto rebuilt in white stone, while keeping its original location and proportions.
The monument was conceived by the Free Society of Lovers of Literature, Science, and the Arts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of those events. Construction was funded by public conscription in Nizhny Novgorod, the city from where Minin and Pozharsky came to save Moscow. Tsar Alexander I, however, decided the monument should be installed on Red Square next to the Moscow Kremlin rather than in Nizhny Novgorod. The competition for the best design was won by the celebrated sculptor Ivan Martos in 1808. Martos completed a model, which was approved by Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in 1813. Casting work using 1100 lbs of copper was carried out in 1816 in St Petersburg. The base, made of three massive blocks of granite from Finland, was also carved at St Petersburg. Moving the statue and base to Moscow presented logistical challenges and was accomplished in winter by using the frozen waterways. However, in the wake of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, the monument could not be unveiled until 1818.
The front of the base carries a bronze plaque depicting a scene of patriotic citizens sacrificing their property for the benefit of the motherland. On the left is an image of the sculptor Martos giving away his two sons (one of whom was killed in 1813)
Originally, the statue stood in the centre of Red Square, with Minin extending his hand towards the Moscow Kremlin. However, after the 1917 Revolution, the Communist authorities found the monument was obstructing parades on the square and discussed its demolition or transfer to some indoor museum. In 1936, the statue was moved closer to the cathedral where it remains to the present day.
On the first celebration of the Unity Day (November 4, 2005) an almost exact copy of this monument by Zurab Tsereteliwas erected in Nizhny Novgorod. The copy is only 5 cm shorter than the Moscow original.
Now the Russian State Library stores in its holdings more than 47 million books, documents and artefacts. More than 800 thousand people visit the library annually and about 100 thousand new library tickets are issued. There are 36 reading rooms in the RSL, where more than one and a half thousand people can work at the same time. Any citizen of Russia or other state above 14 years old can become a user of the Library.
It is important for the Library not only to enlarge its collections, but also to make them as accessible as possible, paying attention to the preservation of rare and valuable editions. Digitization and placement of materials in the RSL electronic library solve these tasks. More than 90% of dissertation abstracts, early printed books, documents from the Cartographic collection and the Universal collection, and more than 80% of the Music collection are in the public domain. Access to copyrighted documents is only possible from the Library premises.
At the end of 2014 by the decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation the Russian State Library was appointed the operator of the National Electronic Library (NEL). NEL is a modern project aimed at free access of readers to the collections of key Russian libraries through the integrated portal and search system.
Since January 2017 the RSL started to receive electronic legal deposit copies of printed publications and dissertation theses.
The Library is developing and looking for new forms of interaction with the reader. The best and the most interesting of the RSL collections is demonstrated at exhibitions. In 2016 the Russian State Library opened the new museum space for major exhibitions Ivanovsky Hall. Each exposition is accompanied by lecture tour and excursion program. You can also have a tour to the Book Depository, Pashkov House, Book Museum and walk through the premises of the main building. On traditional events of LibraryNight, LibraryDay and Open Doors Day experts and everyone are welcome to acquaint with the work of the Library.
The Annual Public Report demonstrates in detail how the Russian State Library is changing.
In 1918 the capital of the Soviet State was moved back to Moscow. As a result lots of government employees were moved to Moscow and settled in so-called houses of Soviets (hotels the National, the Metropol ). However, there was a lack of living space to provide all of them. It was decided to construct a huge building in the vicinity of the Kremlin to provide apartments to members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Later the house on the embankment completed in 1931 was populated by high-rank officers, writers, artists and old Bolsheviks. According to the original project the house had to be made of red bricks to match the Kremlin walls. However, due to scarcity of tangible assets it was faceted with gray concrete. 12-storey building with 505 apartments became the biggest house in Europe. All apartments had oak parquet, painting on the ceilings. There was a movie theater for 1500 spectators, a gym, a department store, a laundry, a bank, a post-and-telegraph office, a kindergarten. There were also a few cafeterias where residents might have their meal for free. One of the blocks was non-residential, it was used to wire tap other blocks. As a result many residents of this house were repressed.
The old photo shows the building of Wine and Salt Court, an old distillery and excise warehouse which used to stand on on Bersenevskaya embankment. It was called so since"bersen", an old Russian name for gooseberry, was growing here. This name was attached to this site and still preserved in the name of the embankment.
In 1932, after the adoption of the plan reconstruction of the center of Moscow, work began on the construction of the complex to the Council of Labor and Defense. Architect AL Langman constructed building combines elements of strict classicism constructivism and twenties XX century. Pylons and Atyk ten-house indicate kinship with the classical architecture of the XIX century, but the original designs and the overall style typical of the period of Soviet architecture, which later would be called Stalin. Granite plinth and severe wall cladding, made of limestone, and later will form the basis of many buildings in Moscow thirties.
In 1969 the Council of Ministers of the building was built the second building, which is now called the new building of the State Duma. This sixteen-house of glass and concrete.
In the early 1890s, Arseniy Morozov together with Viktor Mazyrin travelled through Spain and Portugal. They were in admiration at the Portuguese Pena Palace in Sintra, built in the mid 19th century, with elements of Spanish-Moorish mediaeval architecture and national Manueline style. On his return to Moscow, Arseniy Morozov decided to build himself a fortress house, broadly speaking replicating the style of Pena Palace, and made his dream a reality on a plot that was given to him by his mother for his 25th birthday.
The neo-Moorish style is most obviously manifested in the design of the portal of the parade entrance and two towers on its sides. In the remaining parts of the mansion, elements of different styles can sometimes be seen, for example some window openings are flanked with classical columns. The overall composition of the mansion with an emphasised absence of symmetry of parts of the building is characteristic of the modern architecture.
During the Soviet period, the First Working Travelling Troupe of the Proletkultura Theatre was initially located in the building, then the Japanese Embassy, the office of the English newspaper "British Ally", the Indian Embassy, and the Union of Soviet Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Peoples of Foreign Countries.
In 2003, the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation commenced reconstruction and restoration of the building, and unique interiors were renewed and restored during the works. In January 2006, the mansion was opened as the Reception House of the Government of the Russian Federation. It is used for holding meetings of government delegations, diplomatic negotiations, and conferences of international organisations.
Located in the very heart of Moscow, the Pushkin Theatre occupies a historic building on Tverskoy Boulevard and has another stage in the neighbouring Sytinsky Lane, which is used for small-scale productions.
The Pushkin Theatre is situated an area which was inhabited by the tsar’s gunsmiths before the 16thcentury and, consequently, known as Bronnaya Sloboda (Weapons’ Quarter). In 1779, A. S. Dmitriyeva-Mamonova, a Russian noblewoman and the then owner of this plot of land, built a building that would later accommodate the theatre. Its subsequent owners undertook numerous reconstructions of the building during the next 130 years, and in 1914, this mansion facing the boulevard enchanted actress Alisa Koonen, the wife of director Aleksandr Tairov who was searching for a venue for his new theatre.
Tairov decided to build an entire auditorium and sponsors helped him fulfil this ambition. The Chamber Theatre opened its doors in December 1914 with a premiere of Shakuntala, which was a huge success. This was followed by Famira Kifared, Phedra and Giroflet-Girofla. These productions propelled Tairov to fame. He was a brilliant director whose aim was to create a new, “synthetic” type of actor who was capable of taking on all kinds of roles, whether tragic, dramatic or comic. Actress Alisa Koonen fully complied with his demands, along with the rest of the troupe who were acknowledged with many awards.
In 1949, the authorities accused Aleksandr Tairov of promoting aestheticism, an art movement completely out of line with Stalin’s views on art. The Chamber Theatre was shut and Tairov died a short time later, unable to cope with the severe emotional stress caused by the closing of his beloved theatre. Alisa Koonen outlived her husband by 25 years, but after his death she never again set food into the theatre, even though it was located just a few steps from her apartment.
In 1950, the theatre resumed its activities under the direction of V. Vanin, changing its name to the Moscow Pushkin Theatre. Among its directors were B. Babochkin, B. Morozov, Y. Yeryomin, R. Kozak, B. Ravenskikh and B. Tolmazov. In Soviet times, the theatre staged productions of M. Sholokhov’s Virgin Soil Upturned and The Fate of a Man, L. Andreyev’s The Days of Our Life and M. Bulgakov’s Last Days. Among the productions staged at that time are eternal classics, such as A. Ostrovsky’s Mad Money, Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and L. Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata. The theatre also stages plays based on contemporary literary works (K. Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor and A. Christie’s Mousetrap).
The map of Moscow of the 17-18th centuries differs significantly to what we see today. There used to be suburbs and forest lands behind Vagankovsky Hill at that time, where hunting and other entertainment for the tsar were arranged. According to the testimonies of contemporaries, Pyotr Pashkov (1726-1790), “the first Russian vodka baron”, was vain and ambitious. He was a self-made “new man”. This might have been the reason why he decided to build a palace which equaled the Emperor’s one in its beauty and grandeur.
It is unclear which architect designed the masterpiece of Pashkov House. The construction of the house is attributed either to architect M. Kazakov, or N. Legrand, though most often to V. Bazhenov. He was a brilliant specialist; following French Neoclassical architects C. Ledoux and J-G. Soufflot, he acquired a love for impressive dimensions, sophisticated arrangement, and an abundance of décor which often contained masonic symbols. Bazhenov was the author of many grand projects, including the Tsaritsyno Estate countryside ensemble. But it is Pashkov House that is unanimously believed to be his best creation. There is nothing excessive in the way it looks – it is simple and elegant, with only the clear classical shapes of the Ionian and Corinthian orders and modest stone décor. Despite its simplicity, it still bears some special aristocracy. The mansion became the first civic building whose windows overlooked the Kremlin from the top downwards.
The Pashkov House has a long history of reconstructions. After the Patriotic War of 1812, the building was partially reconstructed by architect O. Bove. The grand staircase on the side of Mokhovaya street and the modern fence were built in the 1930s to architect M. Dolganov’s project. Before that, the facade on the Mokhovaya street side was solid, and it was impossible to get into the house from the street.
The only original interior to have survived is the great hall. In the 19th century, the house was passed from its impoverished owners to the state treasury and was used according to the needs of the public. At first, the building was occupied by the Moscow Institute for Nobles. After that, it was a gymnasium. In 1861, the Rumyantsev Museum and the Moscow Public Library opened there. One of the departments of the Russian State Library occupies the building today.
This corner of Moscow is an excellent resting place, where not only locals try to get to, but also numerous guests of the city. There is something to admire here: magnificent nature, monuments of culture. Even the name of this picturesque corner of the capital evokes pleasant associations.
Attractions in this wonderful corner of the city are rich in its unique history. Of course, it's hard to believe, but once this place was a stinking, horrible puddle, contaminated with various wastes of meat trade. This is due to the fact that in the neighborhood (Myasnitskaya street) there were a huge number of meat shops.
For a long time everything has changed: the associate of Peter I Alexander Menshikov in 1703 year nearby purchased a small plot with a house. The place was, by his order, ennobled, and the pond cleaned. Since then the pond has become a Clean Pond. And the more familiar name for today has gradually become common. Hence, there is no cascade of ponds.
But Chistye Prudy became one of the favorite recreation places for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and other metropolitan areas and guests, which Moscow is enjoying.
This is an amazing region of Moscow, whose history is preserved not only in the annals and textbooks. Like a hundred and odd years ago, white swans swim on the mirror surface of the water, lovers and young mothers with strollers stroll along the alleys. Often you can see here and more mature couples walking along the avenues.
Like many years ago, lindens, willows, chestnuts are in blossom here. Even the new modern houses that have appeared around the boulevard in recent years have merged into the ensemble and do not destroy the external habitual appearance of the quarters of antiquity that is observed in many parts of the huge city of Moscow.
Clean ponds, whose sights are magnificent and beautiful, are very popular among tourists. One of the main advantages of the park is the magnificent building (19 village), built in 1912-14. It has a colonnade, stylized as antique. The building was built for the cinema "Colosseum" R.I. Klein (the famous architect). However, after its reconstruction in 70-ies, it was transferred to the drama theater "Contemporary".
In the next house (d. 21), erected in 1890-ies, there were literary meetings of N. Teleshov, in which M. Gorky, A. Chekhov, D. Mamin-Sibiryak, A. Kuprin, I. Bunin and other famous writers and poets. Quite close to this house (d. 23) in 1920-34 years lived the famous film director Sergei Eisenstein.
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