JUN 23,2015 - JUN 23,2015 (1 DAYS)
Tip 1:Ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka Churches.
Tip 2: Mu-Mu restaurant.
Tip 3: Pedestrian Zone around Tretyakov Gallery.
Tip 4: Along Bolshaya Yakimanka (Kaluga area).
Attractions: Vasilevsky Spusk, Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, Baltchug Kempinski hotel, Maly (Small) Moskvoretsky bridge, Vodootvodny Canal, Bolshaya Ordynka street, Church of Theotokos Joy in Sorrow, Klimentovskiy per (lane), Church of St. Clement, Church of Saint Nicholas in Pyzhi, SS Martha & Mary Convent, St. Catherine Church,
Start: St. Basil Cathedral in the southern edge of Red Square.
End: Paveletskaya (Павелецкая) Metro station. Green line No. 2, Zamoskvoretskaya Line OR Dobryninskaya Metro station, Brown (Circular) line No. 5.
Duration: 1/2 day. This route can be, easily, combined with the "Moscow - Kitay-Gorod" itinerary. The Kitay-Gorod route ends, exactly, where THIS route starts !
Weather: To enjoy the magnificent sights from Vasilievsky Spusk (St. Basil's Descent) to St. Basil Cathedral and the Kremlin walls and from the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge to the Moskva river andw the Kremlin walls - you MUST have a bright day. For the itinerary along Ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka - you can select any weather but avoid a very hot afternoon OR a rainy day. Bolshaya Ordynka is under a massive reconstruction and might be very dirty and muddy in a wet day.
Distance: 10-12 km.
We start at Red Square, in the southern end of St. Basil Cathedral territory. With St. basil to our left on our back - we head southward, when the Kremlin walls are on our right. Vasilevsky Spusk is the territory of the slope at St. Basil's Cathedral, which stretches along the walls of the Kremlin down to the embankment of the Moskva River. It was used for various events in the late 1980s, when the Red Square remained closed for such. There, the most ambitious entertainments in the capital, in particular, concerts of world stars touring in Moscow, take place. This extensive space provides STUNNING SIGHTS OF: ST. BASIL CATHEDRAL, THE KREMLIN WALLS, MOSKVA RIVER AND EMBANKMENT AND MOSKOVRETSKY BRIDGE. It is, mainly, a huge car parking, full with tourists buses, tourist groups and souvenirs sellers. By the beginning of the 19th century, in this place were houses and yards. Vasilevsky descent, as we know it today, was formed as a result of the fire of 1812 and the reconstruction of Red Square had followed it. Before the revolution, the descent was considered part of the Red Square, then became Vasilievskaya area. In 1936 the Moskvoretsky Bridge was built - connecing Vasilevsky descent with Bolshaya Ordynka. Since the end of the 20th century Vasilevsky descent became known as the venue of many celebrations, cultural and sporting events - outdoor concerts, fairs, festivals and rallies.
Saint Basil's cathedral, veiw from Vasilievsky spusk:
Stick to the eastern side of this mighty space - to step over the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge:
Just to remind you: before you enter the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge - you can turn right(west) and start a wonderful walk along the Sophia Promenade / Embankment. See our Tipter blog "Moscow - From the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - around the Kremlin walls". Otherwise, head southward and climb upon the bridge - starting our route along Bolshaya Ordynka.
Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge (Большой Москворецкий мост) is a "pink granite" concrete arch bridge that spans over the Moskva River, immediately east of the Moscow Kremlin. The bridge connects Red Square with Bolshaya Ordynka street in Zamoskvorechye. Built in 1936-1937, it was designed by V. S. Kirillov (structural engineering) and Alexey Shchusev (architectural design). During the years 1935-1938, all the bridges in downtown Moscow were replaced with high capacity bridges and Moskvoretsky Bridge was the first to be completed. The Moskvoretsky Bridge stayed as the only concrete bridge of the 1930s. The bridge was placed at the narrowest point of the Moskva River. Blocks of Zaryadye and Balchug were razed to make way for its construction. The main arch of the Moskvoretsky Bridge consists of three concrete boxes, 92 meters long and 6.1 meters high. The two arches over the embankments are each 42.8 meters long. The bridge has a total width of 40 meters (8 lanes), and its total length with approach ramps is 554 meters. Although it is a concrete structure, Alexey Shchusev finished the bridge in pink granite slabs to create the illusion that the bridge is actually built in stone. Two famous events are concerned with this bridge: on 27 May 1987 German aviator Mathias Rust landed on the bridge. On 27 February 2015 opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was assassinated while crossing this bridge (see photos below):
Kremlin Moskvoretskaya Tower at the eastern end of St, Sophia promenade along the southern Kremlin walls - from Moskvoretsky Bridge:
Northern edge of the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge over the Moskva river - overlooking the eastern walls of the Kremlin:
From the southern end of Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge: Vasilievsky Spusk (St. Basil's Descent), Moskvoretskaya Tower + eastern & southern walls of the Kremlin and eastern end of St, Sophia promenade:
View from the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge: Vasilievsky Spusk (St. Basil's Descent) the Peter, Nameless 1 and Nameless 2 Towers at the southern walls of the Kremlin:
View from the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge: Vasilievsky Spusk (St. Basil's Descent), the Nameless 2 Tower at the southern walls of the Kremlin:
View from the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge: the Nameless 2 Tower at the southern walls of the Kremlin:
Second Nameless Tower in the Kremlin walls from the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge:
Moskvoretskaya Tower or Beklemishevskaya Tower from Moskvoretsky Bridge:
Moskvoretskaya Tower or Beklemishevskaya Tower and the southern Kremlin wall from Moskvoretsky Bridge:
The southern Kremlin wall from Moskvoretsky Bridge:
You just finished to cross the Moskva river on the Bolshaya (Big) Moskvoretsky Bridge -and we enter an island (Baltchug) which is located between the Moskva river (north) and Vodootvodny Canal (south) (see below), lying just opposite the Kremlin. Balchug Island, also known as Bolotny Ostrov, was formed by the construction of the Vodootvodny Canal in the 1780s, and has no official name in Russian. Moscow residents informally call it "Bolotny Ostrov" (Bog Island) while members of Moscow's English-speaking community refer to it as Balchug.
On your left is the Baltchug Kempinski hotel, ul. Balchug 1. Just to envy its well-off visitors: what a thrill to sit down for dinner at the Baltschug Grill after a day of sightseeing and have the view of the sun setting behind Saint Basil’s Cathedral... This hotel is located in the BEST sightseeing place in Moscow. I recommend trying to enter this hotel and catching some photos from its top floors - towards Red Square, St. Basil Cathedral, Moskva rive and the Kremlin walls.
I've admired also this building just next to the Kempinski hotel - on your left, AFTER passing the Bolshaya (Big) Moskvoretsky Bridge and BEFORE crossing the Maly (Small) Moskvoretsky Bridge. Does somebody know WHAT IS THIS BUILDING ?
We approach the Vodootvodny Canal and we cross it from north to south over the Maly (Small) Moskvoretsky bridge (most). The bridge was built in 1937 (GB Broverman engineer, architect L. Shipman). The total length of the bridge of 32.5 m, width 40 m. The bridge is made of reinforced concrete. The Maly Moskvoretsky bridge was built to link Bolshaya Ordynka with the central part of the city over the Vodootvodny Canal.
Vodootvodny Canal (Водоотводный канал, "water bypass canal") is a 4 kilometre long, 30-60 metre wide canal and was built in the 1780s on the old riverbed of the Moskva River to control floods and support shipping. Canal construction created an island, Balchug, between the Moskva River and the canal. The island acquired its present shape in 1938 with the completion of Moscow Canal mega-project. The canal is spanned by 10-11 bridges. We shall meet the canal, again, further westward (Luzhkov bridge) with far more splendid sights than this busy, reconstructed section of the canal - later in this blog.
There is a massive, comprehensive renovation of Bolshaya Ordynka street and it makes walking in its northern most section - a bit unpleasant with huge jams in transport along this part of the street. Zamoskvorechye is one of the major projects of renovation in Moscow. A lot of money is invested in upgrading Zamoskvorechye courtyards, parks and roads - creating a number of pedestrian streets along and around of Bolshaya Ordynka street. During the reconstruction period (from spring 2015) - Bolshaya Ordynka will be preserved as Zamoskvorechye’s central motor road and there will be no traffic restrictions on it. So expect walking a few metres from long queues of cars. Bolshaya Ordynka street was built in the 14th century, and it is certainly one of the most beautiful streets in Zamoskvorechye. Nevertheless, in recent decades it has fallen into disrepair: House façades are in bad shape, trees have been cut down and it has turned into just another street packed with cars. Bolshaya Ordynka lies between the Maly Moskvoretsky Bridge and Serpukhovskaya Square and is the central and oldest street in historical Zamoskvorechye. In the 18th century, members of the gentry and wealthy merchants chose quiet Ordynka for their residence. During that time, a lot of temporal and religious architectural landmarks were built. In 1899, linden trees were planted on Ordynka. In an Active Citizen online poll, which was held in January 2015, Muscovites endorsed the Bolshaya Ordynka renovation plan, choosing large slab pavements and the installation of old style street lamps with separate light fixtures for the road and pavements. Renovation began in May 2015. After the reconstruction, the street will acquire its former ambiance: The house façades will be repaired, all overhead wires and signs will be removed, new trees and bushes will be planted and convenient pavements will be built. The entire territory will certainly be a lot more attractive. Bolshaya Ordynka is 1.8 km long.
Note in Bolshaya Ordynka, 16, one of remaining historical houses:
The first church we meet along Bolshaya Ordynka is the Church of Theotokos Joy in Sorrow, 20, Bolshaya Ordynka (Храм иконы Божией Матери «Всех скорбящих Радость» на Большой Ордынке). The church is a rotunda, cylindrical with two-column Ionic porticos, semi-circular arched windows, decorated with stucco and medallions. Inside in circle there are 12 Ionic columns. The round tree-level bell tower with the round windows and semicircular openings for chime is decorated with details of Corinthian order. It is crowned with the dome and cupola with an apple under the cross. The refectory with the rounded corners is decorated with four-column Ionic porticos. In the large windows there are art forged grates. In 1933 the church was closed, the bells were removed but interior decoration is extant. During the WW2, in 1941-45 the store-rooms of the Tretyakov Gallery were located there. Open: 7.00 - 20.00 daily:
We divert from Ordynka street and turn left onto Klimentovskiy per (lane). A beautiful, charming, vibrant and colorful small road. The whole area around is pedestrian-only. No traffic. On your right is Tretyakov Metro station and on your left is the McDonald's:
A few steps further west in this cheerful lane is the Church of St. Clement, Klimentovskiy Lane, 7 | Zamoskvorechye - on your right. Very nice (beautiful exterior) and quite monumental Baroque church with attached, small and public garden. The church has been abandoned and neglected for tens of years. Just recently renovated. The church was built in the end of the 17th century. It was completed at 1774. The red-white front is topped by a golden dome, surrounded by other four black smaller domes. During the Soviet era - this church was used as a storehouse for many titles of the National Russian State Library. The St. Clement church is striking in its grandeur in a sunny day ! Part of its interiors is closed to the public. A marvelous work of restoration ! Clement was the Pope in years 1762-1774. Open: 10.00 - 18.00:
We return in Klimentovskiy per (lane) from east to west back to Bolshaya Ordynka. If you cross the Bolshaya Ordynka and continue westward - you meet the Ordynskiy tup. road. We shall return to this charming road, later in this route, to continue our itinerary towards Tretyakov Gallery, Vodootvodny Channel and Luzhkov Bridge and, further, Bolotnaya Embankment. All this area has been a pedestrian zone from year 2006.
At the moment we continue southward along Bolshaya Ordynka (but, remember that we'll return the same section - in order to continue, westward to the Tretyakov Gallery) - heading to Church of Saint Nicholas in Pyzhi, Bolshaya Ordynka, 27. It is 200 m. walk to this gorgeous church with its five silver onion domes. The church itself is with blue-white colour. The chuech was built during the years 1670-1672 by the royal guard regiment of the Tsar. Earlier this place was a wooden church, The troops of this unit - populated this district in the 18th century. Do not miss the Iconostasis inside: part of it is original. It is very silent inside. Great place for solitude and reflection. Open: 07.30 - 20.00 daily:
In Bolshaya Ordynka # 34-34A we find the SS Martha & Mary Convent (Марфо-Мариинская обитель, Марфо-Мариинская обитель милосердия во владении великой княгини Елизаветы Фёдоровны) (Marfo-Mariinsky Convent). It is a female convent. To reach this isolated convent - you have to pass through a lowered arch and enter a large courtyard. For the first glance it looks like a medieval monastery - but this monastery was designed and built in 1908 - 1912 (!) by Aleksey Shchusev. He designed the Church of Saints Martha and Mary and the Holy Protection Cathedral, both structures being Art Nouveau renderings of a medieval Novgorod architectural type. The cathedral's snow-white walls are adorned with carved crosses by Sergey Konenkov. The interior contains frescoes and mosaics by Mikhail Nesterov and Pavel Korin The whole complex inside this courtyard includes: hospital, clinic, pharmacy, school etc'. The convent was founded in 1908 by Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (sister of Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Empress of Russia—both of whom are counted among the Russian New Martyrs) to assist sick, wounded, and maimed soldiers in their recovery, and to provide for the needs of the poor and orphans. Grand Duchess Elizabeth was the widow of Grand Duke Sergeii Alexandrovich, who had been assassinated by terrorists in 1905. After her husband's death, she gave away her magnificent collection of jewels, including her wedding ring, and sold her other possessions. With the proceeds, she opened the Convent of Ss Martha and Mary. Her vision was to begin a religious community, made up of women from all social strata, that would merge the ideals of saints Martha and Mary, dedicated both to prayer and to serving the needs of the poor. Open: daily, 08.00 - 20.00:
600 m. further southward, in Bolshaya Ordynka 60, we find the St. Catherine Church. St. Catherine’s Church ‘na Vspolie’ (‘in-the-Fields’), built in the mid-eighteenth century on the territory of the region’s cosmetics guild. The cosmetics merchants’ settlement was originally established in the sixteenth century by order of Tsarina Anastasia Romanovna, while an adjacent church dedicated to St. Catherine was built by order of Tsarina Irina Feodorovna. A seventeenth-century chronicler tells us that in 1612, during the Time of Troubles when the Russian dynasty was threatened by Polish and Lithuanian adventurers, the site became a battleground between Russian soldiers and Lithuanian hetman Jan Karl Khotkevich. Having endured defeat once at the hands of the Russians, the redoubtable hetman dug himself and his troops into a fortification on St. Catherine’s parish territory. In the afternoon of 24 August 1612 the Russians attacked and drove the invaders out. The original church, which was made of wood and may have suffered during the battle, later had a side-chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas dating from 1636. By 1657 the church is indicated as being made of stone with an additional side-chapel dedicated to St. Theodore Stratelates (known since 1625 and later dismantled). In 1696 the church underwent a renewal. The eighteenth century saw the parish church of St. Catherine’s undergo major changes and reconstruction. At present the parish of St. Catherine’s consists of two churches, the older summer (‘cold’, because it does not have heating) church in honour of the saint herself, and the winter (‘warm’, because it has heating) church, dating from the mid-nineteenth century. Construction on the summer church, commissioned by the empress and paid for by the state treasury, began on 25 May 1766 and was consecrated on 28 September 1767. The church combines Moscow baroque with elements of rococo. The imposing baroque iconostasis contained silver Royal Doors weighing approximately 130 kilograms and was erected by a craftsman by the name of Blokhin, who lived in the vicinity of the church. The icons in the iconostasis were painted at a slightly later period by artists D.G. Levitsky and V.I. Vasilevsky. The frescoes, like the icons, were painted by Levitsky in the naturalistic style that betrayed the prevalent Western influence on Russian church art. Levitsky later gained fame as the artist who painted the frescoes for the original Christ the Saviour Cathedral, a monumental structure built to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon in 1812 and Russia’s main church. When the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917, the Church was the primary object of their hatred. St. Catherine’s Church did not escape the communist terror.Bishops, priests and ordinary believers, remnants of the old ‘reactionary’ imperial Russia, were declared enemies of the people by the Bolsheviks and shot in their tens of thousands. Church buildings were desecrated and blown up (including the aforementioned Christ the Saviour Cathedral), icons looted and destroyed, church property plundered ruthlessly. The collapse of the Soviet regime and the end of communism in Russia in the early 1990s changed the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church dramatically. The Church was now free to claim back its lost property and naturally St. Catherine’s Church was one of hundreds of places of worship to be formally returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. The St. Catherine Church mission is to turn to English-speaking Orthodox Christians in Moscow. Open: daily, 10.00 - 18.00:
In case you want to continue to Tretyakov Gallry, Luzhkov Bridge and Bolotnaya Square - skip to Tip 3: Pedestrian Zone around Tretyakov Gallery.
In case you give-up returning to the pedestrian zone around Tretyakov Gallery and returning back northward along Bolshaya Ordynka (see Tip 3) - we shall describe your walk to the Paveletskaya (Павелецкая) Metro station. Green line No. 2, Zamoskvoretskaya Line ( 1.7 km.) OR Dobryninskaya (Добрынинская) Metro station, Brown (Circular) line No. 5 (500 m.). Continue walking southward along Bolshaya Ordynka until its end, 350 m. Continue onto Lyusinovskaya ul., 70 m. Sharp right, 40 m. and turn left 20 m. - to arrive to Dobryninskaya (Добрынинская) Metro station, Brown (Circular) line No. 5.
To connect to Paveletskaya Metro station - walk 400 m. southward along Bolshaya Ordynka almost until its end and turn LEFT (east) onto Volovaya ulitsa (воловая). Walk 1 km. eastward along Valovaya until you see the Paveletskaya Metro station inside a small square - opposite a building, white-washed in its ground floor.
Note the building #35 (Lighthouse) on your right:
Note the building #21 on your right:
Note the giant fresco in Volovaya #3 building:
Note another impressive building in Volovaya #2:
Tip 2: Mu-Mu, Klimentovskiy Lane, House 10:
Mu-Mu is a chain of restaurants in Moscow. Very affordable prices. It is a cafeteria more than a restaurant. The food is good as well as the simple drinks. Always crowdy. Expect queues. varied, frequently changing menu. The staff speaks only Russian:
Tip 3: Pedestrian Zone around Tretyakov Gallery.
Main Attractions: Ordynskiy tup, State Tretyakov Gallery, Lavrushinsky Lane, Luzhkov Bridge, Bolotnaya Square.
Start: Bolshaya Ordynka x Klimentovskiy per (lane).
End: Bolotnaya Square (Болотная площадь, Bolotnaya ploshchad, Boggy Square).
Distance: 2-3 km.
Duartion: 2 hours (without visiting the Tretyakov Gallery).
Weather and orientation: romantic, relaxing walk - only in a nice weather.
In case you continued the route along Bolshaya Ordynka further south (until St. Catherine Church or, even, Dobryninskaya (Добрынинская) Metro station or Paveletskaya Metro station - please RETURN BACK 300 - 400 m. northward along Bolshaya Ordynka until it meets Klimentovskiy per (lane) (near Tretyakovskaya Metro station). Standing in Bolshaya Ordynka with your face to the north (remember ? Moskva river !) - turn LEFT (WEST) to Ordynskiy tup (Orda deadlock).You can turn LEFT (west) also through Bolshoy Tolmachevskiy per.
This is a part of a new pedestrian zone opened in 2006. This area includes the metro station "Novokuznetskaya" - across the street Pyatnitskaya - Clement Lane (see Tip 1) - Orda deadlock - Lavrushinsky Lane - Kadashevskaya embankment - to Bolotnaya Square. The length of the new pedestrian route is 1.93 km, the total area - 5.5 hectares. In the route are the State Tretyakov Gallery (see below), Baroque pattern gallery, the Church of martyr Pope Clement (see Tip 1), museums, libraries, historical monuments and sights of the city. The route provides improved conditions and very pleasant WALK for pedestrians. Along the walking route several building facades had been repaired (ul.Pyatnitskaya 16 and 21, Pyatnitsky Pereulok 10, Clement lane 1, Bolshaya Ordynka 25, Small Tolmachevsky lane 4 and 6).
I preferred to walk westward through Ordynskiy tup, which connects between Bolshaya Ordynka and Lavrushinsky Lane. From the right-hand side the cul-de-sac is flanked by the fencing of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Church. In 2000, the square at the end of the cul-de-sac was demolished, where a bust of writer I. S. Shmelev was installed. From 2006, the area has been a pedestrian zone. THIS IS A VERY PLEASANT WALK IN A GREEN, YOUNG, ELEGANT, VIBRANT AND FULL WITH ATMOSPHERE AND WATER. This is one of the most beautiful areas in Moscow !!!
One of the main sites in this pedestrian zone is located on Lavrushinsky Lane – the State Tretyakov Gallery. The famous museum occupies the even side of the lane, which was named in the XVIII century after homeowner Lavrushina. The Tretyakov Gallery was thorougly browsed in our Tipter blog "Moscow - Zamoskvorechye 1 - The State Tretyakov Gallery, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Sculptures Park, Gorky Central Park". The State Tretyakov Gallery (Государственная Третьяковская Галерея, Gosudarstvennaya Tretyâkovskaya Galereya; abbreviated ГТГ, GTG) is the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. The gallery's history starts in 1856 when the Moscow merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating a collection, which might later grow into a museum of national art. In 1892, Tretyakov devoted his already famous collection of approximately 2,000 works to the Russian nation. The façade of the gallery building was designed by the painter Viktor Vasnetsov in a peculiar Russian fairy-tale style. It was built in 1902–04 to the south from the Moscow Kremlin. During the 20th century, the gallery expanded to several neighboring buildings, including the 17th-century church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachi.
The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits, ranging from Theotokos of Vladimir and Andrei Rublev's Trinity to the monumental Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky and the Black Square by Kazimir Malevich. In May 2012, the Tretyakov Art Gallery played host to the prestigious FIDE World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand as the organizers felt the event would promote both chess and art at the same time.
One unforgettable picture is the one of Surikov, Vasily Ivanovich - "Morning of the Execution of the Streltsy", 1881 - where the soldiers of the Strelki Guard are waiting with their distraught families on Red Square to be executed, overlooked by a vengeful Peter the Great (on a horse!). The Strelki, as a unit, being the ones who brutally murdered his family when Peter was a boy.
It will take you between 2 and 3 hours to walk through the museum. At the entrance of each room is a box with English information. The guided tour in English is well worth it.
Address: 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, The nearest metro stations are “Tretyakovskaya”, “Novokuznetskaya” and “Polyanka”. Opening times: TUE, WED and SUN - 10.00 – 18.00 (ticket office and last admission until 17.00),
THU, FRI, SAT - 10.00 – 21.00 (ticket office and last admission until 20.00),
day-off — MON. Note: Exhibition halls 26-28 will be closed for visitors from May 18, 2015. Prices: Adults — 450 RUB, Students — 250 RUB. Persons under 18 - free. Photographing permit price (additional to entrance ticket): 200 RUB.
Lavrushinsky Lane & Vodootvodny Canal Fountains:
The Lavrushinsky Lane is a splendid avenue leading to and from Tretyakov Gallery from and to the Vodootvodny Canal and the Luzhkov Bridge. This little pedestrian street heads north from the Tretyakov to a footbridge over the Vodootvodny Canal. The road is characterized by architecturally harmonious preserved low-rise buildings. There are also many embassies in this area.
Exiting onto Vodootvodny Canal you will cross the Luzhkov Bridge and find yourself on Bolotnaya Embankment. Many Muscovites call Moscow "Luzhkov-City" sometimes, because Yuri Luzhkov has been their mayor for many years. They also call Moscow "Baturinsk", as for Luzhkov's wife Elena Baturina that used to own one of Russia's biggest construction companies. Later on, Luzhkov was fired by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and replaced with Sergey Sobianin. However, the memory of the previous mayor is still strong, so the first thought that crossed your mind when crossing the bridge is "he or they must be kidding". Well, no, they were not kidding, Luzhkov Bridge does exist and it's one of the places you should definitely visit. However, its name is probably not connected to Moscow mayor. Long time ago the place was called "Tsaritsyn Lug" - "Tsaritsyn Meadow". Hence, "Lug" was transformed to "Luzhkov"...
Luzhkov Bridge is for pedestrians only, which is great because it means there will be no noisy cars around.
What are these colored metallic trees on the bridge ? They may look like a part of the design, but in fact many of the newly-wedding-couples come to the bridge to put a special "happiness lock" on one of those trees. The idea is that couples can symbolize their love by attaching a lock with their names to one of several iron trees. The locks express strength of their relationship. In the beginning there was only one tree, but since the place for the locks ran out quickly, new trees were added. Now, there is a whole forest of those, spanning as far as Bolotnaya embankment itself. Today, there are ten different streets in Moscow where newly hitched couples go on their blessed days to visually present their love to the world by placing their padlocks on the steel trees. The love trees, on Luzhkov Bridge, each have hundreds of padlocks, some modern and new, but the most popular seem to be old – and the older the better. Leading the way are ancient-looking padlocks the size of a human fist that require an old church key, harking back to medieval times. Many are painted bright colors, and almost all of them are hand-painted with the couple's names and date of their wedding. The trees look like metallic cotton candy or steel snow cones:
The "river" you see is actually Vodootvodny Canal - one of Moskva River's bypass canals. Admire these fountains that were placed right in the canal water. The southern side of the canal - the side on your back as you cross the Luzhkov bridge is the Kadashyovskaya Embankment.
Kadashyovskaya Embankment as seen from the bridge:
After passing the Kadasheskaya Embankment and crossing the Vodootvodny Canal by Luzhkov Bridge - you find yourself on Bolotnaya embankment.
View on Bolotnaya Embankment:
Nearby, at the Bolotnaya Square (Болотная площадь, Bolotnaya ploshchad, Boggy Square) you can find sculptured composition by M. Shemyakin and monument to the great Russian artist Repin. Bolotnaya Square is a very nice place where you can walk around, take photos or rest on one of the benches. Bolotnaya Square is, actually, in Yakimanka district (see Tip 4 below), south of the Moscow Kremlin, between the Moskva River (north) and the Vodootvodny Canal (south). The square is bounded by Bolotnaya Embankment of the canal to the south, by Serafimovicha Street and the House on the Embankment to the west (see "Moscow - From the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - around the Kremlin walls" blog), and by Bolotnaya Street to the north and to the east. The square had the name of Repin Square, commemorating Russian artist Ilya Repin, between 1962 and 1994. The square is built as a pedestrian open space. The area around the place was marshy, hence the name of the square. The swampland was drained in the 18th century on the order of Catherine II. The legend has it that fist fights were organized here in 16th – 17th centuries. They were so popular that even the Tsar would attend the show once in a while. The bog was also the venue of public executions and festive fireworks. In the 19th century “ The Bog” had finally acquired the status of a peaceful trading square. In winter, the main grain market in Moscow was operating here. From summer until late fall, fruits were sold in the square. In Soviet times the trading was stopped here. In 1940 a park was placed here. In commemoration of Moscow’ s 800-th anniversary in 1947 lanterns were installed in the park, as well as flowers were planted, and a fountain was put in operation. In the course of time, a monument to the prominent Russian artist I. Repin was unveiled here. In 2001 another sculpture appeared in the park. It was a work by M. Shemyakin “ The Children — victims of Adults Vices”:
You have no Metro station close-by. After you're done with the square, you have three options:
You can walk across the square past the fountain and get to Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge. Its name is translated as "Big Stone Bridge", and it probably can't get any simpler. Anyways, using that bridge you can cross Moskva River and get to the Kremlin through Alexander Garden.
Camenny bridge of Vodootvodny Canal:
Another option is to cross Bolotnaya Square in the opposite direction towards Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, cross it and get to Vasil'evskiy Spusk square which is right next to St. Basil Cathedral.
With the third option - you can continue your walk and visit the «Red October» complex , there are many restaurants, cafes and Lumiere Brothers Photography Center (see "Moscow - From the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - around the Kremlin walls" blog).
Tip 4: Along Bolshaya Yakimanka (Kaluga area):
Start & End: Octyabrskaya Metro Station, Koltsevaya (circular), Brown, No. 5 line.
We start at Octyabrskaya (Октя́брьская) Metro Station. Oktyabrskaya is a station on the Koltsevaya (circular) Line of the Moscow Metro. It is one stop west to Dobryninskaya Metro station and two stops west to Paveletskaya Metro station - all of them on the Koltsevaya (circular), Brown, No. 5 line. The station was designed by Leonid Polyakov with mid-19th century Neoclassical triumphal Empire style as the basis, and incorporated the themes of the 1812 Victory over Napoleon to match the 1945 Soviet victory in the second world war - creating an impressive pompous style.
We exit the station to the Kaluzhskaya square (Kaluzhskaya ploshchad) on the Garden Ring (named after the city of Kaluga) and hence the station's original name Kaluzhskaya (Калужская). The station was renamed on 1961 to its present name (though the square's historic name was reverted in 1992). The exterior entrance contains large bas-reliefs of trumpeters that are lit by lamps concealed as columns underneath. Inside the ticket and escalator halls are decorated with casts and bas-reliefs containing battle banners, weapons figures of the Soviet Army and women symbolizing glory (work by G.Motovilov).
The Kaluzhskaya square name was taken from Kaluzhskie Vorota (gates) of Zemlyanoy (Earthen) city. In 1918-1992 it bore the name Oktyabrskaya pl. in honor of the Great October Socialist Revolution 1917. The road to Kaluga began here in old times. Kaluzhskaya Ploschad (Kaluga Square) is dominated by both the Soviet-style headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin. The tallest monument to Lenin in Moscow was erected in 1985 in the center of the square (at the intersection of Leninsky Prospekt and Kaluzhskaja Plochad). It depicts Lenin on a pedestal with his coat blowing in the wind. The base of the pedestal is decorated with sculptures of revolutionaries flying banners. The statue is surrounded by fountains. Apparently, this is one of the few remaining monuments to Lenin in Moscow - and IT IS IMPRESSIVE. Made by Leo E. Kerbel, one of the most celebrated Soviet artists. Many locals think that the statue is, mainly, a tribute to the Soviet history and era:
Note the Church of Our Lady of Kazan (Храм-часовня Казанской иконы Божией Матери на Калужской площади) in the northern side of Kaluzhskaya Square (1999-2000 , Architect Valeriya Shubina) opposite the Octyabrskaya Metro station:
Kaluzhskaya (Kaluga), Square: Church-Chapel of Our Lady of Kazan, the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, Lenin monument:
Yakimanka District (райо́н Якима́нка) is named after the former church of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. Yakimanka сontains the western half of the historical Zamoskvorechye area (its eastern half is administered as Zamoskvorechye District proper), including the Tretyakov Gallery and the territories of Gorky Park and Neskuchny Sad. The boundary between Yakimanka and Zamoskvorechye districts follows Balchug Street and Bolshaya Ordynka Street (north of Garden Ring), Korovy Val and Mytnaya streets (south of Garden Ring). Territories on the right (southern) bank of Moskva River, now known as Zamoskvorechye, were colonized from the fourteenth century. Two river crossings, west and east of the Kremlin walls, continued south to Kaluga and Serpukhov, and served as main axes of settlement. The western part of Yakimanka District (between the Moskva River and Bolshaya Yakimanka Street) was regularly flooded, and thus its inhabited area was contained within a 700-meter-wide tract of land between Bolshaya Yakimanka and Bolshaya Ordynka streets (see Tip 1 above) (formerly the Kaluga and Serpukhov roads). West to Bolshaya Yakinanka rests Gorky Park (see "Moscow - Zamoskvorechye 1 - The State Tretyakov Gallery, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Sculptures Park, Gorky Central Park" blog).
From Kaluzhskaya (Kaluga) Square - we walk northward along Bolshaya Yakimanka along its left (west) side. It is 300 m. walk to our next destination - Church of St. John the Warrior, located in 46 Bolshaya Yakimanka Street. Note the Panco Villa restaurant - in Bolshaya Yakimanka #52:
One of the most splendid cathedrals of Moscow — Church of St. John the Warrior (Khram Svyatogo Muchenika Ioanna Voina na Yakimanke) - is located 46 Bolshaya Yakimanka Street. Prior to the Revolution, the street had four churches. Since then, only the Church of St. John the Warrior survived. The first reference to the Church of St. John the Warrior dates back to 1625, when it was located closer to the river, next to Krymsky Dvor (in the area of the present-day Central House of Artist, further west in Gorky Park). Historically, this area was occupied by Streltsy who protected the city’s southern border at Ivan the Terrible’s order, since the Kaluga road ran along this area and was used by Crimean Tatars for raids. John the Warrior was the patron saint of Streltsy, and the first wooden church dedicated to him was built in Strelets Sloboda. In 1671, a new stone church was built using Strelets’ donations, though it existed for a very brief period. After Streltsy’s riot, all surviving Streltsy were deported from Moscow, and the church was abandoned. Furthermore, in 1708, it was flooded. Ivan Zarudny, a prominent architect and one of Peter the Great’s favourites, known for his excellent skill with the Moscow Baroque style characteristic of that period, implemented the Tsar’s design. The church, which has never been remodeled or rebuilt in any way, is considered one of the best architectural works of that period, and it was consecrated in 1717.
Even though the church was unharmed by the Moscow fire of 1812, the French army caused severe damage to it: in an attempt to find valuables, they opened up the floors and destroyed the walls. Fortunately, by 1840, the cathedral was fully restored. During the Soviet period, the church continued to operate, but all valuables were confiscated in 1922. The Church of St. John the Warrior became a "museum" of persecutions again the Church. During the 1920-1930s, numerous relics were brought here from other churches. Among them was the Baroque style altar of the Peter the Great period from the Church of Three Sanctifiers, which was demolished on Krasnye Vorota.
Exterior: The central part of the cathedral is quite characteristic of the architectural style of Russian churches, with an octagonal part mounted on top of a rectangular foundation. It is shaped as a double-height rectangle with a high arched ceiling. The cathedral’s eloquent silhouette is formed by the soft lines of the ceiling, adorned with lucarnes in the centre of each façade that crown wide semicircular frontons. The shape of façade decorations resembles the western European Baroque style: decorative balustrades, small balconies in front of lucarnes adorned with mouldings, pilasters in the corners and framing the entrances. The architect’s mastery manifests itself in white-stone and the carved insertions in the portals. The three-level bell tower is significantly less flamboyant compared to the church and has a more traditional shape — the two lower rectangular pillar-like tiers with an octagonal-shaped belfry tier are crowned with a dome and an onion-shaped cupola. The western façade still features a tiled bas-relief of Mark the Evangelist. In 1754-1758, a magnificent fence was erected in the Baroque style, featuring massive gates and elaborate wrought iron bars fitted between pilasters. The formation of the ensemble was completed in 1805 with the construction of a small one-storey house for the clergy.
Interior: Once inside the cathedral, one gets the sensation that it is a wide open space. Originally, the cathedral had choir lofts with stairs leading up to them. In 1779-1785, the church was decorated with mouldings, and its walls were painted by Gavriil Domozhirov. Between 1785 and 1791, a monumental iconostasis was completed (designed by Vasily Bazhenov). It is also possible that Bazhenov participated in designing the refectory. Unfortunately, only the mouldings survived the restoration carried out in 1859—1862, when the wall paintings were covered, the choir lofts demolished, and the iconostasis replaced with a different one. To the left of the entrance is the icon of The Greeting of St. Joachim and St. Anne, brought here from the demolished church. In front of the iconostasis is the icon Our Lady of Kazan from the destructed Kazan Cathedral. Next to it, the shrine features the icon of St. Nicolas the Wonderworker from the Kremlin’s Nikolsky Gate, as well as Smolensky Savior from the Kremlin’s Spassky Gate, the icon of St. Varvara from St. Varvara Church, the icon of Vasily Blazhenny from the cathedral on the Red Square, and the icons of Anna Kashinskaya and Serafim Sarovsky. The church also has the following side altars: Dmitry Rostovsky (on the left) and Saints Samon, Gury and Aviv (on the right), and another side altar of Great Martyr Varvara. Recently, burial services for the musicians Sviatoslav Richter and Alfred Schnittke, who died abroad but were buried in Moscow, were held here. The church also features a children’s Sunday school and a library.
Do not miss the Igumnov House or Igumnov Manor or palace (Дом Игумнова) which is a historic house and is today the residence of the French Ambassador to Russia. Closed to public. The house is located at 43 Bolshaya Yakimanka Street (ул. Большая Якиманка, 43) OPPOSITE the Church of St. John the Warrior. Igumnov House was built in 1883–1893 to the design by Nikolay Pozdeyev (1855-1893), and cost the architect his life. It was planned as the new home for the Nikolai Igumnov family, who had recently arrived in late 19th century to Moscow from Yarolsavl via St. Petersburg. Igumnov family acquired the lot in 1851; in 1880 Nikolay Igumnov hired Nikolay Pozdeyev to rebuild the old two-story empire style mansion into a larger residence. Pozdeyev, a graduate of Imperial Academy of Arts, already had five years of practice as the town architect of Yaroslavl, where Igumnov had substantial investments in textile mills. Halfway through the project, in 1888, the architect and the client agreed to discard the existing structure altogether and redesign the building from scratch; its dimensions, as built, increased to 45×33 meters. Nothing was spared by architect Nikolay Pozdeyev to satisfy the tastes of the rich merchant who commissioned the building for this ultra-Slavic medieval style. After 13 years of slow progress the building attracted public attention and became a target of numerous art critics, detesting its pseudo-Russian luxury; whether for this reason or due to sheer greed, Igumnov refused to compensate cost overruns to Pozdeyev. Ruined architect committed suicide in October 1893. After the October Revolution the nationalised building was taken over by a communal club, then by medical institutions; the Embassy of France has occupied it continuously since 1938. In 1944, De Gaulle handed the rewards for pilots “Normandy-Neman” here.
Plaque on Igumnov House to celebrate the Normandie-Niemen squadron pilots distinction by General De Gaulle in this place in sept. 1944:
A larger, modernist Embassy structure (No. 45) was built on an adjacent block in 1979; since that year, Igumnov House became an official residence of the French ambassador. In August 2007 the management of GlavUpDK, the state organization in charge of embassy buildings, announced a forthcoming restoration of the building, estimated to cost 10 million US dollars. Igumnov House is open to visitors ONLY once a year - on the International Museum Day: