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Varvarka Street Will Be Reconstructed
5.05.2014 12:28
Varvarka Street Will Be Reconstructed

 Varvarka Street in downtown Moscow will be reconstructed into pedestrian precinct and will have all the churches restored. As capital's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced, the works should be completed by the creation of Zaryadye Park. The organization of pedestrian zone on Varvarka will let to combine this street with Nicholskaya Street and Zaryadye into one single complex. "This will be a large historical complex in the city center," the mayor underlined.

      Right now Zaikonospassky monastery on Nicholskaya Street is being restored. The mayor noted that the monastery facades are restored according to historic sketches used in the building design. "Once we've done all facades around, it seemed to us that this facade is in undue condition, and began to engage with them actively," Sobyanin said. He stressed that after that they came to the idea of restoration the bottom bell tower as well. 

      Varvarka holds a claim to being the oldest street in Moscow. Although short, it also boasts the most churches of any street in the city, and has some fascinating if lesser known sights that beautifully evoke the more personal side of life in medieval Moscow. In the Soviet era it was named after Stepan Razin, the Cossack rebel hero who was led along it to his execution in 1671, and before that, in 1380, it was the road down which a victorious Dmitry Donskoy paraded after defeating the Mongol Horde at the Battle of Kulikovo Field.

      The street is dominated by the Rossia Hotel (Varvarka, 6), a monumental glass and concrete block with 3,200 rooms that was built in the late sixties and is now (over)due for demolition - although for guests it provides the best views in the city. The erection of what was then the largest hotel in the world necessitated the destruction of most of the Zaryade region, including a number of ancient churches, and the rest of the street survives as a taste of what the whole are stretching down to the banks of the river must once have looked like.

      Ulitsa Varvarka takes its name from the neoclassical Church of St. Barabara, which stands on the right at the start of the street if you are walking from Red Square. St. Barbara, who was purportedly killed by her father for her Christian beliefs somewhere in Asia Minor around the beginning of the fourth century, was traditionally considered in Moscow to be the patron saint of merchants, and it was originally merchants from the south who lived in the area and ordered the building of the church.

      On the other side of the road, at Varvarka, 3, stretches the southern facade of the Stary Gostiny Dvor, an elegant late baroque trading arcade designed by Giacomo Quarenghi to replace the muddle of stalls and warehouses that had stood on the site for hundreds of years. The building was begun in 1791, and completed forty years later. Originally, the building was used for wholesale trade by merchants from out of town, who lived in the building and stored the goods they had brought to sell there (hence the name 'gostiny dvor', which translates roughly as 'guests' court'). The building, which had become shabby and structurally unsound by the end of the Soviet era, underwent major restoration/reconstruction over the last decade, and the Gostiny Dvor has now reopened as a luxury mall and exhibition centre, housing amongst other things the Barkhat Casino. During renovation work, a wealth of archaeological finds was dug up beneath the building's foundations, and is now on permanent display in the exhibition centre inside.



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Zaryadye Park Varvarka Street    

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