The cultural and aristocratic center of Moscow is situated around Patriarshiye Prudy ("Patriarch's Ponds"). Currently, there is only one pond, surrounded by the garden. In the 17th century, it was a whole district called the Goat Marsh, which was part of the Patriarch's suburb. Here, somewhere in the vicinity, was the Patriarch Zhitnii yard. By order of the Patriarch, the Ponds were dug to "supply" fish for the patriarchal table. The choice of the location was ideal, because the ground was swampy and required drainage, and the settlement was one of the centers of the patriarchal economy. In the 17th century, Patriarchiye Prudy were kept clean, but over the years, they were abandoned and forgotten; only after the war of 1812 were the ponds cleaned. Nowadays, the best locations in this area are with a view over the pond. During the warm summer days, the park is filled with people promenading, children playing games and young people sitting and talking on the benches, while in the winter, the pond turns into an ice rink. The area hosts the best restaurants, main theaters and nightlife. This area is also legendary from the literary point of view: a lot of Russian writers (and their protagonists) lived here.
Moreover this is a very popular residential area. It allows for easy access to many central points of interest, including the Kremlin, Tverskaya street with all its stores and restaurants, the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow Conservatory, as well as various fitness and health clubs. The best apartments are located around the pond and along Spiridonovka street, Granatny lane, Bolshaya and Malaya Bronnaya streets, Trekhprudny and Kozikhinsky lanes.
Spiridonovka street took its name from the no longer existing St. Spiridony Church. The most interesting building here is No 17, one of the first Schechter's works - the Morozov's mansion, built in the late 19th century. Here Gothicism and Neo-Gothicism are mixed; later this specific mixture became the basis for Russian Art Nouveau. The first owner of the house, millionaire and patron of the arts Savva Morozov devoted his whole life (and the huge part of his reaches) to the Moscow Arts Theatre, but the conflict with the theatre management and other nuisances became the cause of his suicide. Currently the Morozov's mansion is the Reception House of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.