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Central Moscow Tour- in four parts with map:
Travel in Russia planes, trains and automobiles
Central Moscow Tour - part four
From Puskinskaya Ploshchad to Upper St. Peter's Monastery and back to the Marriott Royal/Hotel Budapest
From the Pushkinskaya Theater, turn left and walk along Strasnoy Boulevard. This section of the Boulevard Ring appeared somewhat later than Tverskoy (the first section established in 1796 and located to the left of Tverskaya Ulitsa). Initially it was a narrow alley running from the Strasnoy Convent to the Petrovsky Gate. Today it is one of the shortest, but also the widest of the boulevards. Part of the width was originally occupied by Sennaya Square where hay was sold.
Turn right onto Bolshaya Dmitrovka Ulitsa. Walk one short block and turn left onto Petrovsky Pereulok.
Stop number 45
The Bakhrushin family, wealthy Moscow merchants, provided the land for F. Korsh, a famous Russian stage director, to build this theater. A new play was premiered on the stage of the Korsh theater every Friday beginning in 1885. Inevitably, some of them were failures, but good performances continued for many years. From 1933 the stage has been used by a branch of the Moscow Arts Theater. Although it was closed for several years to undergo extensive reconstruction and to enlarge the space for technical equipment, the theater was planned reopened in the fall 2001.
Continue along Petrovsky Pereulok. Turn left at the corner of Petrovka Ulitsa.
Stop number 46
Walk to the Boulevard.
This is Petrovsky Gate Square. Outside the gate was the site of a market called Skorodom, meaning "quick house." It was here that locals bought all the necessities to rebuild after the many fires that swept through Moscow. With their purchases residents were able assemble new wooden houses in just two to three days. Despite the fires, the citizens of Moscow preferred wooden homes over cold, damp stone dwellings. Both the gate and Petrovsky Boulevard are named for the Upper St. Peter Monastery. Many of the old mansions along this boulevard were converted to schools and hospitals after the 1917 Revolution. Moscow's first pet market was located here, and each spring, on the festival of the Annunciation, birds would be set free.
Look across the street into the park.
Stop number 47
Walk back to Petrovka Street and look for the entrance on the monastery opposite the Museum of Modern Art under the Gate Church and Bell Tower or there is another entrance on the Boulevard Ring.
Stop number 48
The monastery was originally named for St. Peter and Paul. The Metropolitan Peter liked to stay here, and after his death and canonization the monastery was renamed in his honor. Sometime in the early 16th century the monastery became known as the Upper St. Peter Monastery, perhaps because of its position on an elevated site, possibly because of its location near a village known as Vysotskoe, or maybe because it was here that Ivan Kalita had a vision of a high mountain.
Enter through the green-domed octagonal bell tower placed above the Gate Church of the Intercession. Once again the small church serves as the abbot's private chapel and now has an unusual ceramic iconostasis, cross and other ceramic decorations made by G. V. Kuprianov.
The original wooden churches have all been replaced. The oldest stone church is named for the Cathedral of Metropolitan Peter and was built in 1514-1517 by Aleviz Novi. Standing alone in the center of the grounds of the original monastery, it is the small red brick cathedral with eight rounded sides. Those four on the compass points are larger than the four diagonals. All are topped with a large octagonal drum and helmet-shaped dome with eight facets. The Baroque-style paintings on the outside date from late 17th century renovations.
To the left on entering the enclave is Church of the Icon of the Virgin of Bogolyubovo with its five black domes, rebuilt by the Naryshkin family in 1684-1685 to commemorate the murders of Peter the Great's two uncles who are buried there. Over the next one hundred years sixteen other relatives of Peter the Great were buried in this church, and a mausoleum was built on the southwest corner of the site.
Just to the right of the Cathedral of Metropolitan Peter stands the Refectory Church of St. Sergius Radonezhsky, built in 1690-1694 and modified again in 1702. Peter the Great commissioned it in commemoration of the refuge he received at the Trinity St. Sergius Monastery after the Streltsi revolt. White scallop shells trim the top band of the central cube that is topped by five cupolas with decorated drums. Note the porch with its tent roof.
Set in the monastery walls, to the right of the entrance gate is the small yellow Church of the Tolgsky Icon of the Virgin built in 1744-1750 in Baroque style. Further to the right of the right and also part of the monastery walls is the three story monks' quarters built in the 19th century.
Walk though the massive low archway to the second section of the monastery, which was added from the Naryshkin estate. To the right is the red brick brothers cells built from a Naryshkin palace. At the far end is the Church of St. Peter and Paul built in 1750-1753 in a restrained Baroque style. To the left of the contemplative courtyard is the one story white washed workers' building that was built in 1690 by order of Peter the Great.
During the Great Patriotic War, the monastery suffered when Napoleon's troops pillaged the area and profaned the religious sites. Some of the buildings were not reconsecrated for almost one hundred years, although the monastery was a center for learning and housed the diocese library. The monastery was closed during the Soviet Revolution. The monks were forced out between 1923 and 1926, although the last church was not closed until 1929. Various factory enterprises occupied the buildings until 1959 when the monastery was turned over to the Ministry of Culture, who did some renovations and then used the buildings for museum storage and dance rehearsel rooms.
Today the monastery is undergoing extensive renovations. It is the location of the first church-run university in Russia, the Russian Orthodox University of St. John the Theologian, which opened in 1993 in the Naryshkin chambers. One of the churches within the compound is a workshop in which new icons, and iconostases are being made for churches that are being restored or newly built. (Open daily 9 a.m. - 7 p.m).
The three story building on the corner of the Boulevard Ring and the monastery property is a "dokhodny dom" a profit-making building constructed by the monastery in 1901 to produce income for the monastery. Small shops occupy the first floor, while the two upper levels are apartments.
Continue along the Boulevard and make a right turn onto Krapivensky Pereulok, named for an 18th century noble who resided here. Walk behind Upper St. Peter Monastery to reach Petrovka Street. Turn left and walk two short blocks to Petrovsky Linii.
End of Part Three. To continue start Part One.
last revised 07 Mar 04 © 2003-2011 Ruth E. Imershein
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