Walk along the Boulevard Ring with Sputnik Radio
Journeys | 20.12.2019
Moscow is a city with a great history. You can walk through its old streets a lot and the Russian capital always has something interesting for travelers.

Sputnik radio guide suggests walking 9 km – this is the length of the Moscow Boulevard Ring from the beginning of Gogolevsky Boulevard to the end of Yauzsky Boulevard. There are ten boulevards altogether. Sputnik radio guide fit the history of the Boulevard Ring in 20 episodes. We publish a few the most interesting spots from the route and the full guide is available via the link in this article and in our guides catalog in the Partners section.
1. Nikitsky Boulevard, 8а/3, Building 1. The main house of the mansion; since 1938 – Central House of Journalists.
The three-story mansion in the classical style is an object of cultural heritage of regional significance.

In the 18th century there was the estate of the princes Gagarins here – a large park, a grand palace, an outbuilding for guests. The fire of 1812 destroyed everything except the outbuilding. It was rebuilt into the main manor house. From Nikitsky Boulevard people passed through the courtyard, which at the end of the 19th century was surrounded by an elegant cast-iron grate (survived).
The mistress of the renovated house was the daughter of Princess Ekaterina Dashkova. The princess was a close friend of Catherine II, had an outstanding mind and talent. Her career is a unique case in world practice when a woman was at the head of two Academies of Sciences (St. Petersburg and Moscow) for almost 11 years.

Today, Anastasia Shcherbinina would be called a social animal. There was action in her house on Nikitsky Boulevard day and night. She was not very much loved for her scandalous character, but she gave excellent balls. One of such balls on February 20, 1831, was attended by Alexander Pushkin and Natalia Goncharova. Two days ago, they got married in the Church of the Great Ascension (at the end of Nikitsky Boulevard) and first appeared as a legal couple. . In 1836 Shcherbinina sold the mansion – she spent money so randomly that in the end she began to experience financial difficulties.
The house passed to the next aristocratic dynasty, until in 1872 it was acquired by the merchant in the First Guild Alexander Pribylov. He made a fortune in the trading in paper yarn and thread, bought several mansions and tenement buildings in Moscow for himself and his relatives.
In it, the heirs of Pribylov lived until the revolution of 1917, and even after the mansion was turned into a communal apartment: the former merchants were left with several rooms in which they ended their lives.

A new life of the house began when it was transferred to the People's Commissariat of Education. In 1920, the Press House opened in it – a meeting place for "the workers of the pen" (as journalists were called in the beginning of the Soviet regime).

In 1938, the mansion was renamed into the House of Journalists (popularly called "Domzhur"). In 1941, dozens of correspondents left its court for the front of the Great Patriotic War. Here in 1993, a monument was opened to front-line journalists (sculptor Lev Kerbel). The inscription on it is a quote from the song of Domzhur's visitors: front-line poet Konstantin Simonov and member of the front-line concert brigades composer Matvey Blanter: "With a watering can and with a notebook, and even with a machine gun through fire and cold, we've gone".
2. Nikitsky Boulevard, 7a. The estate of the Talyzins – Tolstoys; since 2009 – the Gogol House.
It's a cultural heritage site of federal significance. The mansion with a stone arcade under the balconies is an example of Moscow classicism.
The house was laid at the beginning of the 17th century in the country yard of the Saltykov boyars. Instead of the boulevard there was a fortress wall, a large garden rested on it, cows browsed in the garden.

The second owner, Ivan Buturlin, was first a stolnik (he served the sovereign's meal), then a boyar, he was governor in battles with the Turks, carried out diplomatic missions in Europe, participated in the signing of the "Everlasting peace" with Poland (then the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).

The first noticeable reconstruction of the house at the end of the 18th century was made by Dmitry Boltin: officer of the Leib Guard of the Izmailovsky Regiment, leader of the nobility in two provinces. Under him, Nikitsky Boulevard was established on the site of the wall. Boltin built the house up to the red line of the boulevard and overturned the front door of the estate – that is how it looks now.

The next owner was Major General of the Izmailovsky Regiment Alexander Talyzin, a participant in the Battle of Borodino. He restored the estate after the Moscow fire of 1812, decorated the facade of the house with stone arcades. He was married to a French citizen. The couple brought up six extramarital children of Talyzin (the spouses did not have common children), they were not considered heirs, so the major general subsequently transferred the house to a relative – titular counselor Talyzina. In 1847, Count Alexander Tolstoy, a major statesman, settled with her. He was in the military, diplomatic and civil service (member of the State Council for the Department of Economics), had seven orders, a gold sword "For courage".
The Tolstoys returned to Moscow after a long stay in Europe, rented the top floor of the mansion and waited for their new friend, whom they met in Rome, to come to them. It was Nikolay Gogol. In 1848 Gogol settled in the rooms on the ground floor. The house was re-registered for the wife of Count Tolstoy, the writer lived as a guest of a married couple, she also received his own guests. Here were Ivan Turgenev and Ivan Aivazovsky, the famous artists of the Maly Theater Mikhail Schepkin and Prov Sadovsky. Here Gogol held the first public reading of "The Inspector General", here he fell seriously ill, painfully dying, before his death he burned the second volume of "Dead Souls". On February 21, 1852, all of Moscow came here, having known about the death of the writer.

In front of the house there is a monument to Gogol in the Art Nouveau style (sculptor Nikolay Andreev). In 1959, it was brought from the Donskoy Monastery – from the warehouse of "unnecessary monuments" that were removed from Moscow streets. Earlier, from 1909 to 1951, it stood on Prechistensky (Gogolevsky) Boulevard. At the same place in 1917 it received a stray bullet in the bas-relief with images of characters from the works of Gogol. The hole was cemented, but carelessly. It could be seen between the figures of Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky.
3. Strastnoy Boulevard
from Pushkin Square to Petrovsky Gate Square. Length 550 m, width 123 m – the widest on the Boulevard Ring. It's a cultural heritage site of regional significance. The name was given to the boulevard by the female Holy (Strastnoy) Monastery. Since the middle of the 17th century it was on the site of Pushkin Square (until 1931 – Strastnaya Square).

Первой в 1820 г. появилась короткая аллея от Тверской до Большой Дмитровки, далее начинался густой сад усадьбы князей Гагариных. Все остальное место занимала Сенная площадь. Это был стихийный рынок. Он возник в XVIII в. за Страстным монастырем сразу, как только разрушили крепостную стену Белого города.

The first in 1820 appeared a short avenue from Tverskaya to Bolshaya Dmitrovka, then the dense garden of the estate of princes Gagarins began. The rest of the place was occupied by Sennaya Square. It was a pop-up market. It appeared in the 18th century behind the Holy Monastery immediately after the destruction of the fortress wall of the White City.
In 1950, the first monument appeared on the boulevard - the famous monument to Pushkin (sculptor Alexander Opekushin). It was moved from Tverskoy Boulevard, where it was opened in 1880. It was put exactly opposite the former place - where the bell tower of the Holy Monastery used to be. The 11-meter sculpture was moved along the street with the pedestal at night: two 10-ton road rollers dragged it along special rails at a speed of one meter per minute.

In 1999, a four-meter bronze sculpture of Sergey Rachmaninov was installed in the center of the boulevard. The great Russian composer lived on Strastnoy Boulevard for 12 years – together with his family he occupied seven high rooms on the fourth floor in house No. 5: at the beginning of the 20th century two female scientists worked there and rented apartments.

In 1995, at the end of the boulevard, a monument to Vladimir Vysotsky was opened. It stands on the way to Petrovsky Gate Square, not far from Bolshoy Karetny Lane, where Vysotsky spent his childhood. The monument is the answer to the lines from his song: "They will not put a monument to me in the park / Somewhere at the Petrovsky Gate". They did.
In 2013, at the beginning of Strastnoy Boulevard, not far from the editorial office of the literary magazine New World, there was a monument to the long-standing editor-in-chief of the New World, an outstanding Soviet poet Alexander Tvardovsky.
Four monuments on one boulevard is a Boulevard Ring record.
4. Petrovsky Boulevard, 14/29. "Hermitage" restaurant of Olivier – Pegov; since 1989 – the theater "School of contemporary drama".
The building was built during the restoration of Petrovsky Boulevard after the fire of 1812 for public needs: it housed a hotel with a restaurant called "Afonka's tavern". The owners of the land at the end of the boulevard and on Trubnaya Square were the merchants Pegovs. One of them, Jacob, traveled a lot across Europe, had subtle gastronomical predilections and in the middle of the 19th century decided to rebuild the "tavern" into a modern restaurant, and at the same time upgrade the hotel and bathhouses at it.

The new establishment was called the Hermitage (translated from French – "place of seclusion"). It quickly became famous for the European "original cuisine", which was run by Lucien Olivier. One thing is known about this person: Lucien Olivier, born into a Moscow family of a Russified Frenchmen, was buried in the Vvedensky cemetery, his grave has long been a pilgrimage place for cooks and bartenders who ask Lucien's spirit to help them in the profession.
It is believed that the famous Olivier salad was created in this restaurant. It was as if Lucien Olivier cooked it only himself and took the secret to the grave.

According to one version, Olivier boiled the fillet of fresh hazel grouse and partridge, then cut and spread jelly from the remaining broth on a dish with cubes, placed slices of tongue and crayfish tails around, and added mayonnaise dressing. In the center there was a heap of potato with slices of hard-boiled eggs and gherkins as a decoration. The heap was not intended for eating. But after Olivier more than once observed that restaurant visitors simply mix all the ingredients of his dish with a spoon, put it as "porridge" in plates and eat, he began to do the same thing: he mixed the salad it and added much dressing to the mixture.
Olivier's restaurant was a favorite place for people of art. Gala dinners were given here in honor of Ivan Turgenev and on the occasion of the premiere of Gorky's play at the Moscow Art Theater; in 1880, after the opening of the monument to Pushkin, members of the Society of Russian Literature Lovers gathered there, led by Dostoevsky; Pyotr Tchaikovsky celebrated his wedding with Antonina Milyukova at the Hermitage; Anton Chekhov in 1897 ordered dinner with the publisher and friend Alexey Suvorin, which had to be canceled: right at the table Chekhov had pulmonary hemorrhage for the first time. He asked to bring him ice, and Suvorin took the writer to the hotel.

After the revolution of 1917, there were several institutions in the building – the peasant's house with the Trud cinema occupied it for the longest time. For the past 30 years, it has been associated only with the theater "School of Contemporary Drama" under the leadership of Joseph Reichelgauz. The immersive play "On the Pipe" – the premiere of 2019 – is dedicated to the history of the house.
5. Chistoprudny Boulevard, 19: Colosseum Cinema – Sovremennik Theater.
It's a cultural heritage site of regional significance. The neoclassical building with a semicircular entrance colonnade was built in 1912 according to the project of the famous Russian Architect Roman Klein. The customer was a Moscow merchant, a hereditary honorary citizen Alexander Guskov. This was one of the "fur kings" of Russia, a major house owner: he had 9 houses in Moscow.

In 1880 Guskov acquired a large plot of land in the most picturesque place of the boulevard – with access to the pond. At that time, the pond was cleared long before, and its former name was forgotten. But before the beginning of the 18th century it was called Pogany (Flithy in Russian). It arose a hundred years earlier when the river Rachka flowing here was blocked. Butchers from nearby Myasnitskaya Sloboda regularly dumped waste from slaughtered cattle into the river itself, and then into the pond. In 1703, Count Alexander Menshikov, an associate and favorite of Peter the Great, bought land in the settlement. He was enraged by the stench of water, ordered to clean the pond, and, forbade polluting Chisty (Clear in Russian) Pond.
Guskov was not the first to give the cinema to the city: from 1909 (the opening of the "Khudozhestvenny" cinema) until 1914, cinemas in Moscow grew like mushrooms. They were called electrical theaters and were intended for cinematography only. Guskov came up with something like a multidisciplinary cultural center. It is no coincidence that he called it "cinema – theater", as it was written above the entrance. It is no coincidence that it was named "Colosseum": in the ancient Colosseum of Rome, they arranged not only gladiatorial fights, but also chariot races and dramatic performances.
Colosseum opened in 1914 as a "cinema of the first category": it was specialized in Russian and foreign films of "the best film studios". The film exhibitions were in the large auditorium with a circle and side boxes.

After the revolution of 1917 Colosseum remained both a theater and a cinema. Since 1924, the first working theater of the Proletkult was constantly located in it; since 1936 only films were shown there. In 1970, the cinema was closed, and in 1974 it opened as its own site of the Sovremennik Theater: during the four-year reconstruction of the building, it was decided not to restore the historical relief on the facade – Colosseum. It was replaced by the name of the theater created by Oleg Yefremov in 1956. Since 1972, the Sovremennik troupe has been led by Galina Volchek.
6. Sretensky Boulevard, 6: house of the insurance company "Russia".
Built in 1902 in the eclectic style with modern elements. It's a cultural heritage site of federal significance.

The house consists of two six-story buildings and occupies almost the entire length of the boulevard – the shortest in the ring (214 m from Sretensky Gate Square to Turgenevskaya Square). В In the 18th century there was the courtyard of the Novgorod bishop here, then the post office. In 1830, when Sretensky Boulevard finally came into its own, the post office moved to Myasnitskaya Str. In its place, in honor of the victory in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), the panorama "Capture of Pleven" was opened in a specially constructed round building "Tsargrad". In 1886, it was remade into the Skomorokh Theater.

In 1899, this land plot was bought by the "Russia" insurance company for the construction of a tenement building. As they would say now, an elite residential complex was being built: insanely expensive. In the early years of the 20th century, as soon as the house was inhabited, the public of Sretensky Boulevard changed dramatically. The tipsy craftsmen walking with the wives who had arrived from the village and playing accordions disappeared – an exceptionally wealthy audience was now strolling along the boulevard.
After the revolution of 1917, the residents of the house – those who did not emigrate and were not repressed, were maximally compacted: There is no chance to leave an apartment of eight rooms to the family. In addition to communal apartments, state institutions appeared in the house, such as the Russian Telegraph Agency, the Education Commissariat, or the editorial office of the Gudok newspaper, in which Mikhail Bulgakov worked.

There is a memorial plate on the house, it reminds that the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army was located in it and that Lenin and Gorky came here to get acquainted with the new model of artillery equipment. In fact, there was no equipment – the leader of the revolution and the proletarian writer evidenced only an improved hindsight.
7. Pokrovsky Boulevard, 3. Pokrovsky barracks
The building in the style of classicism is the first in Moscow, built specifically to accommodate a military unit. It's a cultural heritage site of federal significance. Until the beginning of the 20th century the barracks were the largest building on the Boulevard: length 203 m, width 132 m. In front of the entrance there was a wide walled-off parade ground. In 1954, the parade ground was liquidated, planted with trees, it became part of the boulevard.

Barracks began to be built in 1798 by decree of Emperor Pavel I: unofficially they were called Pavlovsky. Construction required 2.5 million rubles. Muscovites invested half a million "on their own" in this gigantic amount then. Anyone who handed over money for the construction was forever relieved of the obligation to take military personnel in their billets. In 1801, when the barracks were delivered, signs appeared on many Moscow households: "Free from billets". This meant that the state did not have the right to accommodate troops in them. Only one such inscription has survived in Moscow – on the gates of the estate of Count Pyotr Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky in the former Little Russian courtyard (17 Maroseyka Str.: today it is the embassy of Belarus).
In 1890, an internal church was built on the third floor in honor of the salvation of Emperor Alexander III and his family during a railway accident (1888).

Before the revolution of 1905, battalions of two grenadier regiments (selected infantry units) were accommodated in the barracks. With the outbreak of World War I (1914) they went off at the front. Instead of them, a spare rifle regiment was accommodated, and agitators became frequent visitors in the barracks: from the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Socialists-Revolutionaries. In October 1917, soldiers of the regiment, like most regiments of the Moscow military post, came down on the side of the revolution.

The next "resident" of the Pokrovsky barracks was the regiment of bicyclists. It was formed on the basis of a detachment, which in 1918 was transferred from Petrograd to Moscow to combat banditry. In 1941, the regiment participated in the defense of Moscow, tanks were dug then into the ground throughout Pokrovsky Boulevard.

The last unit in the barracks (until 1960) was the 3rd regiment of the motorized rifle division named after Dzerzhinsky. Then the building was transferred to non-military institutions: The USSR State Logistics Committee (committee on material and technical supply), etc. Only the name of the short street (240 m) that goes to Pokrovsky Boulevard in this place recalls its historical purpose today: Kazarmenny Lane (Barracks Lane).
Full guide "Walk along the Boulevard Ring with Sputnik Radio " is available in MAPS.ME guides catalog in the Partners section.
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