Forums

Photo Gallery

Site map
Search
0The virtual community for English-speaking expats and Russians
  Main page   Make it home    Expat list   Our partners     About the site   FAQ
Please log in:
login:
password:
To register  Forgotten your password?   
  Survival Guide   Calendars
  Phone Directory   Dining Out
  Employment   Going Out
  Real Estate   Children
   Saturday
   October 24
 Survival Guide
Tverskaya
Tverskaya
Moscow's main artery and the most luxurious area during the Russian Empire epoch. Tverskaya Street has long been considered a benchmark for luxury and prestige. In the 14th century, it was a trade road from the Kremlin to Tver - one of the most important and influential cities at that time. The first name of the street was Tsarskaya ("Tsar's"), as already by the 17th century it became the main street of the Russian capital. Of course, central and extremely prestigious location attracted the highest class of nobility; Tverskaya of the 18th century was the street of sumptuous palaces and estates built by Catherine the Great's grandees. The 19th century added the firm spirit of commerce to the charming atmosphere of aristocracy: various luxury shops, confectioneries, boutiques, fashionable hotels and restaurants spread along Tverskaya.

Many innovations in Moscow started from Tverskaya street, though not all of them were beneficial to the ancient capital and its culture. It was completely reconstructed in the 1930s. In 1932, the street was named after Maxim Gorky, a proletarian writer. This was a present from the Stalin government made during the writer's lifetime.

Soon, Tverskaya street obtained a tragic fate; it was the first street reconstructed according to the infamous master plan of the socialist reconstruction of Moscow. Subsequently, it lost not only its original name, but its personality. This was the result of Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich's (a powerful "architect of socialism") vision. Some erections were built up a little, smartly moved deeper into the courtyards, and, if necessary, even carefully rotated. But nevertheless, many buildings were simply demolished (not a single church survived on Tverskaya), and the appearance of the street completely changed: it became wide and airy, but too straight and boring, built up with typical grey houses.

It is from Tverskaya street that capitalism began to encroach on Russia. It is here near the site of the National Hotel that the first "fartsovshiki" (illegal street vendors) started their risky business of swapping Russian matryoskha dolls for US-made jeans, and it is here that dollars were traded for rubles under the table.

A certain "face of the city", now it brilliantly reflects the mixed and controversial "soul" of 21st-century Moscow, full of modern western innovations and still firmly basing on the ancient roots.
Tverskaya has a limited number of residential buildings; therefore, the prices for living here are very high.

The modern Tverskaya remains the most important commercial, business and cultural street of the capital, with the most expensive and luxurious hotels being located here: the Ritz-Carlton, the Marriott, the Sheraton, etc. At the corner of Mokhovaya and Tverskaya one can see "National" hotel, one of the best examples of Russian Art Nouveau. Designed and built in 1903 by A. Ivanov, it is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Russia. In 1918 the hotel was for some years turned into "Prime House of Soviets" and permanently hosted the members of the Bolshevik Government, including Lenin who lived in number 107.

State Duma (Parliament) stays right opposite "National", at the corner of Tverskaya and Okhotny Ryad. Former building of the Soviet Ministry of Labour and Defence, it provides a brilliant example of transfer from Constructivism to the Soviet neoclassic style. Its characteristic feature is abandonment of any decoration, because the edifice should be beautiful of its own accord.

Another sumptuous building on Tverskaya, Moscow Central Telegraph (architect I. Rerberg), possesses the status of an architectural monument and historical - Revolution of 1917 in Moscow started by taking the Central telegraph.

The building No 9 on Tverskaya designed by the architect Zhukov is faced with granite captured from the Germans in December 1941. The Fascists had brought the granite to Moscow from Finland to erect a monument to their supposed victory in the centre of Russian capital. Then they, already as prisoners of war, faced the building with that granite themselves.

The Moscow City Administration was built in 1770 by Matvey Kozakov, famous master of Moscow Classicism. Former residence of Moscow governor-generals, after the revolution it housed the Moscow Council (Soviet). During the reconstruction of 1935 the building was moved 13 meters back and two more stores were added.

In front of the City Administration there is Tverskaya square with a monument to Prince Yury Dolgoruky, which has become a symbol of Moscow. The square was formerly called Skobelevskaya due to the monument to General Skobelev, a hero of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. In 1918 before the May Day parade the "White General" was removed and the pedestal was turned into a platform. Soon Skobelev's place was occupied by the monument to Constitution (a woman statue, a kind of Soviet "Statue of Freedom") and Skobelevskaya square became Soviet square. The bronze monument to Yury Dolgoruky appeared here in 1954 in honour of Moscow 800th anniversary; in 1990s the square was renamed back to Tverskaya.

The house No 14 was also created by Matvey Kozakov. The "Palace on Tverskya" belonged to Zinaida Volkonskaya, a beautiful and intelligent woman, who established a very popular literature salon here. In 1898 powerful merchant Grigory Eliseyev bought the house, reconstructed and opened as "Eliseyev's Store and Wine Cellar of Russian and Imported Wines." Very soon the shop was nearly closed down for illegal sale of wine: the distance between the entrance to the wine cellar and the Church of St. Dmitry Solunsky (now non-existent) did not comply with the legal minimum. It needed one night to separate the wine cellar off the shop and make a new entrance from Kozitsky lane. In 1917 Eliseev emigrated from Russia and the shop was expropriated by Sovets ("nationalized") and renamed. But the people still called it Eliseyevsky through habit and came here just to admire the famous interior. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Eliseyevsky store has been officially given its name back.

One of the oldest buildings on Tverskaya is a luxurious classicistic one behind the fence with lions. Built in late 18th century, this mansion of earls Kheraskov and Razumovsky from 1831 to 1917 housed the Moscow English club, and now the State Museum of Contemporary History of Russia is located here.

Triumphal Square
Triumphal square is named after the Triumphal Gate constructed in 1721. Peter the Great entered the capital through it after his victory in North War. Hereafter there were constructed few more wooden Triumphal arches, and all of them had burnt. And the only remained arch was built at the Tverskaya Zastava square; later it was moved to a new place near the museum of Borodino battle. Now the only triumph of this square is the theatres located here. One of them is the Tchaikovsky Concert hall. Formerly Meyerhold's theatre was placed here, but in 1938 Meyerhold was arrested, the theatre was closed and the building was given to the Moscow Philharmonic. The Theatre of Satire is located at the building of the former Circus.

Lanes around Tverskaya
While you may find Tverskaya itself too busy and too noisy, there are a number of pretty lanes with beautiful old apartment buildings and small gardens that are popular with expatriate.

Kamergersky
Kamergersky lane has lately become a pedestrian area, and it has a real chance to be included into the Guinness' Book of Records as a shortest pedestrian area in the world. House No 3 is now occupied by Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). The theatre traces its history since 1882, when the modern building of the theatre, former mansion of Prince P.I. Odoevsky and S.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, housed Russian Drama Theatre. In 1885 Savva Mamontov's Private Russian Opera made its debut here. In 1902 another Savva, now Morozov, paid for reconstruction of the theatre after Fyodor Shekhtel's project, and in 1902 MKhAT opened its doors for theatre-lovers.

Brusov
Brusov lane is remarkable for its red and white Church of the Resurrection of Slovushchy on Uspensky Vrazhek, which was built in the first half of the 17th century. This church is one of the few ones not closed during the Soviet period; it has retained its original interiors.

Stoleshnikov
Stoleshnikov lane leads from Tverskaya to Bolshaya Dmitrovka and then continues as a pedestrian lane to Petrovka. As many other streets in Moscow, it is named after the profession of the people who used to live here. "Stoleshniki", who occupied this area in the 16th-17th centuries, made table-cloths for the Royal Court ("stol" in Russian stands for "table"). House No 9 is famous for its outstanding dweller - "the first Moscow digger", Vladimir Gilarovsky. Gifted historian and talented writer, he was affectionately known and beloved by Muscovites. Here he was visited by Tolstoy, Gorky, Chekhov, Bunin, Mayakovsky.
Copyright © The Moscow Expat Site, 1999-2020Editor  Sales  Webmaster +7 (495) 722-3802