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 Survival Guide
The Kremlin Area
The Kremlin
The Kremlin traces its history since 1156 (first mentioned in chronicle), when prince Yury Dolgoruky built wooden walls of future fortress on Borovitsky hill. Moscow didn't play any important role in the country till 1328, when Ivan Kalita, son of Moscow Prince Dmitry, became the Grand Prince of Russian State. He broadened the fortress and built a new oak wall around it. That time citadel has got its modern name, the Kremlin ("kremnik" means "forest" in old Russian), and became the residence of Metropolitan and Grand Prince. But the wooden walls, although invulnerable, suffered from fire, and in 1367 fortifications of white stone were built around the Kremlin by Prince Dmitry Ivanovich (later named Donskoy). Since then Moscow is called "a white stone city".

In the end of the 15th century Italian craftsmen built the new walls and towers of red brick, and, according to the evidences of foreign travelers, the Kremlin looked like a medieval castle. Even when Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg, the Kremlin kept its significance: Russian emperors were still crowned in the Assumption Cathedral, and the whole Moscow gathered here for the great church festivals. In 1918 Moscow became the capital again. The Kremlin was occupied by the Bolshevik government, and it became impossible to enter it without special pass. Only in 1955 the gates of the citadel were reopened to public, and the government residence became an open-air museum of history and architecture.

Now this symbol of Russian State is the official residence of the President. It is a preserved area, protected and guarded by the State and included in the UNESCO List of Cultural and Natural Heritage of the World.

Manezhnaya Square
Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli was awarded the privilege to embellish Manezhnaya square with heroes of Russian folk-tales and to place bronze horses surrounded by a cloud of water-drops in the fountains. The bronze horseman near the Red Square is one of Soviet greatest commanders - marshal Georgy Zhukov, the hero of the Great Patriotic War. An interesting red building in Pseudo-Russian style serves as a background for the Zhukov monument: it is the State Historical Museum, a quaint creation of architects V. Shervud and A. Semenov. Passing by the Historical Museum don't forget to stand on the 'zero kilometer'; from this point all the distances in Russia are said to be measured.

Teatralnaya Square
Petrovskaya, Tsvetochnaya, Teatralnaya, Sverdlova and again Teatralnaya - the name of the square changed many times as well as its architectural appearance. In the 1820s architect Osip Bove completely reconstructed Teatralnaya square; as a result, Moscow got rid of a stinking cesspit that the square had been turned into and now is proud of having such a marvellous place. Bove planned to create an architectural ensemble which would consist of five buildings in the late classicism style. The dominant of the square would be the Bolshoi Theatre. Unfortunately Maly Theatre is the only Bove's edifice that survived until now.

Petrovsky theatre, the "ancestor" of the Bolshoi Theatre, opened in 1780 and burnt down in 1806. Osip Bove's creation burnt down as well. The third attempt was the successful one. Reconstructed by architect Kavos in 1853, the Bolshoi Theatre is still one of capital's main attractions. It was also in 1853 that the theatre got its symbol: four bronze horses on the roof. Author of this chariot was famous sculptor Peter Klodt. The Bolshoi Theatre is a world-famous cultural centre and its ballet and opera stars get standing ovation all over the world. The reconstruction of the theatre is due to be finished in the late 2011.

Across the street there is another sight of Teatralnaya square - a luxurious hotel "Metropol" (architects I. Valkott and L. Kekushev). Mosaic panels on its walls were designed by Mikhail Vrubel, a fabulous Russian artist of the early 20th century. The original painting is now in the collections of Tretyakov gallery.

Red Square
Voskresenskie vorota ("gates") are the last obstacle on the way to the main square in Russia - "Krasnaya Ploshchad". The name of this symbol of Moscow suits it perfectly: "krasny" in Old Russian meant "beautiful" and it is beautiful indeed, though its modern look was gained with certain difficulties. Once the Red Square was a centre of trade spangled with motley stalls whose boisterous owners offered pan-cakes, kvas, candles, cloth and other goods. But shops and wooden churches in the Red Square were of great fire hazard so they were destroyed and a trading square turned into a place for open-air merrymaking.

Wooden buildings haven't preserved, but some architectural masterpieces are still seen to the delight of Muscovites and tourists. Probably the most famous Russian church stands here - the Cathedral of St. Basil. Monument to Minin and Prince Pozharsky stands in front of the cathedral reminding every Russian about difficult moments in its history. Before 1936 the monument was placed in the centre of the Red Square, but in Soviet times it impeded the military parades. There was an idea to destroy the statue, but it was only moved to the Cathedral of Intercession. It was the first monumental statue in Russia depicting not a nobleman, but "a common citizen".

Not far from this monument there is a stony area surrounded by a low barrier of white stone with a cast-iron fence known as "Lobnoe Mesto". In 1786 this construction replaced the ramshackle brick erection with a hipped roof, which was built in the first half of the 16th century. Situated on the highest place on the Red Square, it symbolizes the Golgotha Mountain, where Jesus Christ was crucified (Golgotha means "forehead" - "lob" in Russian). For ages it functioned as a rostrum from which Russian tsars addressed the nation on special occasions. The legend that it was used as a scaffold is not completely true: no one was ever executed on "Lobnoe Mesto", but the special scaffolds were usually built quite near by.

Across the Square it is the last haven of the first Soviet leader - Lenin Mausoleum. After his death in 1924 it was decided to preserve the body and to construct a special building to keep it. Designed by Shchusev, a pyramid of cubes cut from red granite decorated with marble and black labradorite replaced experimental wooden mausoleum. After the disintegration of the USSR the Mausoleum lost its significance and in 1996 guard of honor near it was cancelled. Although some political leaders repeatedly suggest to bury Lenin as a regular man, the Government still has not made a final decision about it.

In the middle of the Red Square one of the biggest shops of the country attracts millions of visitors every year - Main Universal Store (GUM). This place, known before the Revolution as Upper Trade Rows, has been "a shopping center" of Moscow for ages. An old building of the Upper Trade Rows, designed by O. Bove, was erected in 1815. But as it was owned by several traders, they could never come to a decision to repair the building, and so it gradually went to pieces. At last in 1890 the government forced the owners to erect a new building, and in 1893 the project of A. Pomerantsev came to reality. Built in pseudo-Russian style, it consists of three passages, each three-storied, now called lines. A unique round glass roof 14 meters (43 ft.) in diameter, designed by V. Shukhov, and the front decorated with dummy joint makes GUM one of the symbols of the Red Square, now easy recognizable for every Russian.

Close to GUM the beautiful Kazansky Cathedral makes you want to stand for a moment. It was built after the victory over Polish invaders in 1612 but its heroic background didn't save it from demolishing in 1936. Fortunately it was brought back to life in 1993.

Mokhovaya
Mokhovaya street is a continuation of Okhotny Ryad street, lying between Tverskaya and the Kremlin. Long ago it was a place where dried moss ("mokh") was sold from stalls; this is the reason for such an unusual name. Moss was used in ancient Russia to pack joints between the beams of traditional wooden house ("izba"). Since the first half of the 19th century this street is closely connected with Moscow State University - its first building was situated on the Red Square, right in the place of contemporary State Historical Museum. During the Moscow fire of 1812 that building was completely destroyed, and professors with their students moved to Mokhovaya, to the new building designed by Domenico Gilardi. In 1832 one more building, the Pashkov family mansion, was bought for the University by Nikolay I; since that Mokhovaya street became a University campus.

Right opposite to the old University the building of Manage demonstrates all the amenities of the Empire Style: pompousness, sumptuousness, spirit of patriotism and war glory. In 1825 great architect Osip Bove managed to create a perfect "palace" for parades, practice manoeuvres. Today Manage is used with more peaceful purpose: it is an exhibition hall, constantly displaying modern art.

Vozdvizhenka
It is one of the oldest streets in Moscow: it is known to be here already in the 13th century. In the end of Vozdvizhenka that faces Arbat an unusual building in Mauritanian style provokes curiosity. Its wonderful name is the House of Friendship between Nations of Europe ("Dom Druzhby"). Architect V. Mazyrin built this luxurious mansion for Arseny Morozov after Morozov's trip to Spain and Portugal. It was known among Muscovites as "Spanish castle" and gossip was spread about wild parties thrown by the owner. Another well-known rumour says that Morozov's mother, who lived nearby, once expressed her admiration for this house in a rather unusual way: "Before, only I knew you were a fool; now the whole Moscow will know." In 1959 the House of Friendship opened its doors for visitors, at that time the first woman-astronaut Valentina Tereshkova held the post of the director.
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