Moscow Cityscape Part 1

Moscow, capital of Russia, with (2018) 12.3 million residents the largest city in Russia and Europe, located on the Moskva River. As a cultural metropolis, Moscow has numerous universities and colleges (including Lomonosov University, founded in 1755), libraries, museums and theaters (including the famous Bolshoi Theater).

As a commercial and financial center, Moscow is the economically dominant city in all of Russia, as well as the most important industrial location and transport hub in the country (nine terminal stations, three inland ports and four airports). The splendidly designed metro stations are famous.

The city is laid out in a ring; Arterial roads radiate out from the center where the Kremlin is located. Next to it is the Red Square with the St. Basil’s Cathedral (1555–61) and the Lenin mausoleum (1924–30). The buildings in the neoclassical monumental style (“Zuckerbäckerstil”) of the 1930s and 1940s are striking.

On the western outskirts of the city center, the new business district Moscow City was built with huge skyscrapers, which are supposed to symbolize modern Moscow.

History: According to franciscogardening, Moscow was first mentioned in 1147. Since the 14th century it has been the seat of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, from around 1480 it was the Russian capital and seat of government of the tsars (replaced by Saint Petersburgin 1712). 1922–91 Moscow was the capital of the Soviet Union.

Moscow Cityscape

The center of Moscow is the Kremlin and the Red Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the old residence of the grand dukes, tsars and metropolitans. Suburbs surrounded by walls grew around him in concentric circles: the trading town of Kitaigorod (1534), the white-walled Bely Gorod (White City; 16th century), the Semljanoi Gorod (Earth City; 1591) surrounded by an earthen wall. The walls of the Kitaigorod disappeared when the metro was built, the course of the other walls is shown by today’s boulevard and garden ring. The secular buildings of old Moscow were mainly wooden houses; after the great fire of 1812, the city was rebuilt according to classicist models.

Kremlin: The Kremlin was walled in 1485–95 by the Italian architects M. Ruffo, D. Gilardi, P. A. Solari and Aloisio da Carcano with the 2.24 km long red brick wall with numerous towers that is still preserved today. In the center of the cathedral square, built as part of the largely disappeared complex of the old tsar’s palace, is the bell tower Ivan Veliki (Ivan the Great; 1505 ff., By Bon Frjasin, top floor and dome 1600, 81 m high), next to it a bell wall (probably 1532–42, by Petrok Maly) and the Filaretturm (1624 and 1814–15), rebuilt after 1812, in front of it the 205 t heavy bell »Tsar Kolokol« (1733–35). The largest Kremlin church is the Uspensky Cathedral (Assumption Cathedral; 1475–79 by A. Fieravanti), from 1547–1894 the coronation church of the Russian tsars.

In the Blagoveschensky Cathedral (Annunciation Cathedral; 1484–89), the home church of the Tsar, there is an important icon wall by Theophanes the Greek and A. Rublev and frescoes (1508). The Archangelsky Cathedral (Archangel Michael Cathedral; 1333, today’s building 1505-08, by A. Nowy; with an icon of the Archangel Michael), from 1341-1682 the burial church of the Moscow princes and tsars, has facades in the style of the Northern Italian Renaissance. Of the palace buildings from around 1500, only the Granowitaja Palata (faceted palace; 1487–91, by Ruffo and Solari, original throne and audience hall, today in the Great Kremlin Palace, 1838–49 by K. Thon, included) and the Terem Palace (private apartments of the tsar, begun in 1508 by A. Nowy, today’s building mainly 1635–36). Further palaces and public buildings were added in the 18th and 19th centuries: the arsenal (1702–36 and 1815–28), the neo-classical Senate building (1776–87, by M. F. Kasakow); the Oruscheinaja Palata (armory, 1844–51, von Thon et al.).

Red Square: On the east side of the Kremlin is the Red (»Beautiful«) Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with the nine-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral (actually Cathedral of the Protection of the Virgin Mary on the Graben; 1555–60), built by Ivan IVin memory of the Conquest of Kazan erected (painted in the 16th / 17th centuries), and the Lenin mausoleum on the Kremlin wall (1924–30, by A. W. Shtusev). On the opposite side are the passages of the Upper Trading Ranks (“GUM”; 1889–93, by Alexander Pomeranzew), on the north side the Historical Museum (1878–83, by O. Sherwood and Anatoly Alexandrovich Semjonow).

In the east adjoining Kitaigorod, especially along the Warwarkastraße, there are remarkable buildings, among others. the Trinity Church in Nikitniki (1628–51) and the Old English Commercial Court. Other important buildings to the west and north-west beyond the Alexander Gardens (1820, by Osip Beauvais) and Manegeplatz are: the former Pashkov House (1784–86, by W. I. Baschenow; today Russian State Library), the Bolshoi Theater (1822–24, by Beauvais, rebuilt in 1856), the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (1898–1912), the old university (1786–93, rebuilt by M. F. Kasakow, 1817–19 by D. Gilardi); Art Nouveau buildings (Hotel Metropol, 1899–1903, from William Walkott, with majolica pictures after M. A. Wrubel; Villa Rjabuschinski, 1900-02, by F. Schechtel).

Moscow Cityscape 1