Moscow introduces a wonderful combination of the modern technologies and spirit of old times, new buildings and places impressing and keeping the memories of centuries. The winding small streets with an ancient architecture, monuments with a convoluted history, estates combining styles of different times …
Special attention in the capital is paid to the preservation of cultural heritage sights. Today in our city more than one thousand monuments have already been restored. The main task of the restoration works is to update without destroying: to touch upon the history and, recreating its lost fragments, to make them look the way they used to look in the original. The history of each monument is unique, but it also has to fit into the development of the city. Magazine “School. Moscow” will tell you how the objects of the cultural heritage after careful work of restorers have become a part of the capital’s life again.
Flora and Lavr’s Temple on Zatsepa
The history of the temple originates in the distant XVII century. In 1685-1722 there used to be a customs border of Moscow. The name “zatsepsky” was not accidentally chosen for squares, a shaft, and driveways. Carts used to move ahead to the customs for examination literally behind a chain. The ancient name of modern Dubininskaya Street — Kolomenskaya-Yamskaya — was given after Yamskaya settlement. The temple was called in honor of Saint Martyrs Flor and Lavr who have been considered patrons of the Russian land since the Battle of Kulikovo.
Unfortunately, in the Soviet period it was decided to close the temple, and to open a factory workshop of metal graphic and engraving works. Wall paintings were painted over and partially destroyed, and the top tier of the bell tower was demolished in 1957. Thanks to the support of the Moscow Government Flora and Lavr’s Temple on Zatsepa has turned from the electrolytic shop into the church, an revived church with a fine mural, new floors strengthened by columns, the base and the revived bell tower.
Zamyatin-Tretyakov’s estate in Gogolevsky Boulevard
The unusual mansion is located in Gogolevsky Boulevard. Zamyatin-Tretyakov’s estate is an example of the neorussian style. Its history began in the second half of the 18th century. The main house of the estate was built there in the reign of Prince Pyotr Aleksandrovich Menshikov. Then the estate had a new owner, the colonel Andrey Egorovich Zamyatin who reconstructed it after the fire of 1812. He decided to extend the building by 180 degrees, having turned a front door onto new Prechistensky Boulevard. Time passed, hosts replaced each other until at some point the mansion fell into hands of merchant Sergey Mikhaylovich Tretyakov. He bought it for the second wife — the socialite Elena Andreevna Matveeva who ordered to make the halls in different styles. It was a new trend in 1871: a combination of styles was not popular yet. However, the fashion was quickly spread, and, actually, each nobleman got a house with Gothic, Romance, baroque rooms.
Alas, for more than two centuries the estate endured two large-scale fires and was strongly decayed. When a team of restorers got down to business, it was decided to restore all the halls and a facade at first. In the Soviet years the building was occupied by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR which broke the gallery into floors. The restoration architects have recreated the original look of the rooms. Today the estate is completely restored: the historical appearance has been returned to the interiors, the repairs of facades are made, stained-glass windows in a wing, fireplaces, ladders, a parquet and a cast iron balcony have been restored. Now the headquarters of the Russian fund of culture is located here.
One of the favourite places of Muscovites and guests of the capital is, of course, VDNKh. Unfortunately, the majority of pavilions and other historical objects of the country’s main exhibition have not been in a perfect condition until recently. Now the works on return of their historical appearance are being carried out. The territory is being actively landscaped and improved: pedestrian zones, recreation areas for rest and activities are being created. Magazine “School. Moscow” has chosen for you the most significant and interesting examples of already performed works.
Central pavilion of VDNKh and gold star
The central pavilion is the first sight that meets visitors of VDNHk. It was designed by the architect Yury Shchuko in 1950-1954.
The restoration of the pavilion décor was carried out for the first time in 60 years, and repair work has been quite recently completed.
The gold star — revived and shining — again crowns the spire of the Central pavilion. The experts have strengthened a working framework of a monument, restored the lost copper elements, covered a surface with the thinnest gold plates.
Moreover, during the restoration works of the pavilion a unique finding was waiting for the architects in the in the Machine and Tractor Station hall: Vuchetich’s bas-relief.
The pavilion “Recreation center” designed by hte architects Lev Avdotyin, Yury Korneev and Leonti Kopyrin in 1954 served as a real creative and educational platform for residents of the capital. Lectures were delivered there, creative teams were performed on the stage and educational films were shown in its auditorium. The most interesting fact is that for its lifetime the pavilion has not changed its purpose.
For nearly 70 years the utilities, electrical networks, stage mechanisms of the building got out of order. Now thanks to the performed restoration works the elements of an external and internal modelled decor have been recreated, doors and wooden elements of an interior have been repaired, engineering systems have been updated. Besides, the stage and the dance floor have also been restored, and the adjacent territory has also been arranged, therefore, various events can be held there in the summer.
“Rabbits” of the Rabbit breeding pavilion
Two pair sculptures of rabbits were one of the symbols of pavilion No. 44 in 1954-1959. By coincidence, the surname of the architect of “Rabbits” who wanted to create the work of art in the spirit of Stalin classicism with decorative details of Renaissance was Zaytsev. However, its long-eared creatures had disappeared from the roof when the pavilion was united with “Fur farming” in 1966. However, after having returned the historical name to the pavilion, the rabbits were not placed back. “Rabbits” were dismantled and sent to junk, but the question of how and where it was done remains unknown.
Fortunately, in 2017 it was decided to return the original look to the Rabbit farming pavilion. But is it possible without the main symbol — those “Rabbits”? As the sculptures did not remain their appearance, the experts were guided by archival photos. However, there were few pictures, and their quality did not allow figuring out any details. Hard work was done: at first, the architects investigated the pavilion roof, then they examined a surface on which there had been pedestals. Later, having made measurements and being guided by estimated drawings and those photos, they created the project. At first, there were the reduced models of the “Rabbits”, then there were full copies of sculptural groups of one and a half meter each. The sculptor Anton Vyatkin has paid special attention to the details: the rabbits’ muzzles are carefully molded, the hair is boldly defined. It was necessary to do for the “Rabbits” to look great at height. A complete revival of the whole Rabbit farming pavilion No. 44 is planned to be completed by the end of this year.
Pyatnitskaya is one of the oldest streets of the capital. Its name goes back to Paraskeva Friday Church which till 1930 had occupied an outdoor lobby of the Novokuznetsk metro station and the Adam and Eve fountain. It is not just one of the historic city center streets, but the real symbol of a patriarchal part of Zamoskvorechye. The trade character of Pyatnitskaya street has remained since the 18-19th centuries. Even now on the first floors of the houses in the northern part of the street shops or cafes are open, and earlier there were inns and hotels. But the southern side of Pyatnitskaya does not look like a place for brisk walks: there is almost no trade from Klimentovsky Lane to Serpukhovskaya Square. In the past it used to be just an inhabited tiny street with small workshops and small factories in the depth of the merchant yards.
In the 2000s Pyatnitskaya was a street with an inconvenient traffic intersection and a small pedestrian zone suffering from the domination of advertising. Prior to the improvement the traffic to the downtown area was carried out only on 3-4 lanes. Besides pedestrians, the street also attracted cyclists. In fact, there was no infrastructure for them, and it was necessary to move on the narrow sidewalk or the carriageway.
Now the sidewalks are expanded to 6 meters and are paved with granite, and on the southern side of the street a 1.2 km-long-bicycle track is created. At the opening ceremony of the revived Pyatnitskaya in 2014 there was the mayor Sergey Sobyanin who congratulated inhabitants on a new birthday of the street which was “good for Moscow and for Muscovites”.
The Aragvi restaurant is a legendary place with a live history closely connected with the culture of Moscow. In a century before the last one this house at Tverskaya Square was not a restaurant, but the Dresden hotel popular with eminent artists. A.S. Pushkin, I.S. Turgenev, L.N. Tolstoy were its lodgers. The Aragvi restaurant appeared only in 1938-1939 on the 1st floor and in the hotel basement. Unfortunately, the last global reconstruction of the building was carried out only in the sixties of the last century; therefore, it has been recently decided to restore completely its historical appearance.
The drawings of the 17th century of Tsar Alexey Mikhaylovich Romanov’s reign are a real discovery. Fortunately, the painting is not in a bad condition: the architects have managed to make it an element of a historical decor, and now the chambers welcome visitors. Restoration works have differed in terms of the scale; the plaster of the 17th century has been recreated in the rooms, the white stone laying of the walls and the arches from late stratifications of paint and plaster have been cleared away, a front staircase has been created for the visitors’ convenience, and transparent partitions of a new interior has given originality to “Aragvi”. Surprising findings have become an interesting fact during the restoration.
“Once the history began just with the repairing of the restaurant known all over the country, but it turned into something much bigger, unique historical objects — the elements of chambers of the 17th century were found. After such a discovery, it was decided not to repair the building, but to restore it in order to keep a unique architectural monument. Now revived “Aragvi” has to become a popular vacation spot for citizens and revive the pedestrian zone”.
Sergey Sobyanin, Mayor
The area of the Belarusian railway station and monument to Maxim Gorky
The reconstruction of the area at the Belarusian railway station was initially planned in 2008 — then it was a project meaning a huge multi-storey car parking with a shopping center. It would help to solve a problem of traffic jams, but only on the one hand: the traffic lights at Pushkin Square would eventually block the movement of cars. The road interchange “would not be untied” — cars would get stuck as well as before the planned reconstruction. Fortunately, that project was cancelled, and in 2017 the decision on restoration of historical heritage — the square and the monument to Maxim Gorky established on it – was made. The monument was designed in 1939 by the Soviet monumentalist Ivan Shadr and finished in 1951 by Vera Mukhina. In 2005 Gorky was unfairly sent to Muzeon. The sculpture has been severely damaged because of inaccurate dismantling — the crack has appeared on it.
12 years later the restored monument took its place on the square near the Belarusian railway station where it had stood for more than 50 years. Now it is a sculpture with the strengthened framework and the repaired cracks. The shape of the writer’s figure has changed — he is the same freedom-loving thinker in an open raincoat with a cane and a hat. Its return has changed a little a traffic movement on the square; however, it benefits motorists, pedestrians, and public transport.
Now there is a square with shops, lawns, walking paths around the monument. A historical tram circle has also returned.
Last year the reconstruction of the area of Tverskaya Zastava was personally checked by the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin.
“We step by step return city squares to Muscovites, we make them a qualitative public space. The area of Tverskaya Zastava is, in fact,a final point of reconstruction of Tverskaya Street”.
Sergey Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow
Monument to Alexander Pushkin at Pushkin Square
Monument to Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin is practically the same for Moscow, as the Bronze Horseman for St. Petersburg. It is one of the city landmarks which city residents use as meeting points, and the reductions “Tverbul, Pampush” have remained since the 1920 years.
The monument was built in 1880 at the initiative of Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum graduates. In 1875 according to the results of an open competition the first award for the project on a monument to Pushkin was awarded to A.M. Opekushin.
The monument was established at the beginning of Tverskoy Boulevard facing the Passionate monastery. A relaxed posture and a thoughtful, a little released Alexander Sergeyevich’s look were pleasant to Muscovites: the bronze sculpture of the poet on a high pedestal literally attracted people.
In 1950 the monument was moved on the opposite side of the area. It has been restored only twice in a lifetime: in 1993 and in 2003. However, the works had a planned, but not a global character. In 2016 the area was included into the city improvement program “My street”, and the following year the figure of the great poet was restored completely. “Its restoration became an important event in the life of Moscow. The experts were restoring its historical appearance for more than a year, strengthing the monument basis, working with the sculpture itself” — Alexey Yemelyanov, the head of the capital department of cultural heritage said.
The historical color of the bronze monument was green and blue. During the restoration, the experts discussed for a long time whether to restore the initial painting of the sculpture or to keep the natural layer called patina. In the end, it was decided to clean the monument from the dust and soot pollution, and to remove late traces of superficial restoration from the bronze that hid only some roughness and defects of the metal. Besides, the procedure of a chemical patination was carried out; to level color and to eliminate patches of light, Pushkin’s figure was covered with special substance. There are the reduced lines from the Pushkin poem “Monument” on the monument. Now it is evident to say that the national path to the monument will never disappear.
“Rumour of me shall then my whole vast country fill,
In every tongue she owns my name she’ll speak,
Proud Slave’s posterity, Finn, and-unlettered still
The Tungus, and the steppe-loving Kalmyk”.
A.S. Pushkin “Monument”
The Stone Flower fountain is one of the most known sights of historical Luzhniki which needed restoration until May of this year. During the restoration of the sculpture its technical component was modernized: now lovely water and musical compositions of the fountain audio system can bring pleasure to passers-by. The mayor Sergey Sobyanin was present at the examination of the objects of Luzhniki, and he was satisfied: now in the center of the fountain there is a sculptural composition in the form of a flower from the bud of which beat 17 streams up to three meters high.
Ostozhenka 21 is the location of a fantastic castle constructed by the founder of the capital modernist style Lev Kekushev for his spouse Anna . They say that this mysterious place is one of Margarita’s houses of the immortal work “Master and Margarita”by Mikhail Bulgakov. In the architecture of the mansion there is a unique combination of mystery and a tribute to historical fashion. Lev Kekushev designed the house with special love: it had to become a cozy nest for the family. Unfortunately, he parted with Anna, and he left the mansion forever, having left only some kind of signature on the roof — a copper lion. But several decades later the lion was gone from the façade for the unknown reasons. What happened to it, remains a puzzle: the symbol of the house was hopelessly lost for the inhabitants and guests of the capital.
Today the mansion is an object of cultural heritage of federal importance. Thanks to such historical monuments the center of Moscow turns into the special world without any vanity — the world of a coziness and tranquility. The restorers supported by the Head department diplomatic service corps at the Ministry of international affairs of Russia started to work inspirationally over the mansion: first of all, it was decided to return the king of beasts on its traditional place.
It turned out not easy: there were hardly any remained documents, but a historical photo in a surprisingly high quality was accidentally found. It helped the experts to determine the length of the sculpture and to identify the material it had been made of. Now the restorers are working hard on the initial image of the mansion: it is necessary to fill the cracks in the walls, to remove stratifications of paint and many other things. The restoration is planned to be completed in several months, but the main thing has already come true — the copper lion has been set up on the roof, and now it protects the rest of the house, as it used to be in the past.
In 1930 an experimental housing for workers of the National commissariat of finance was built. This surprising design combined small two-level apartments of different configurations for single and family inhabitants and the rooms where their residents led their private and public lives. There was a flat roof for rest, a public block with a canteen and kindergarten, and a laundry. A public balcony was stretching along the building to unite the residents. As a result, the house really turned out unique. Unfortunately, the condition of the building was not the best one, it required repairing. The Soviet construction received a “second wind” in 2017. The restorers’ task was to revive an ensemble in the way it had originally been planned. Now the structures of the house in the shape of a ship are being manually cleaned from later paint coats, recreating an original coloring. In all the buildings modern communications and engineering systems are being installed. Late extensions and partitions have been removed, the first floor of the house has been emptied, its original look has been returned to the house. Restoration is well under way, by 2019 the work is planned to have been completed, and the first residents will be able to move in.
Each monument of the cultural heritage is a real architectural “personality” with the character, appearance and soul. They have endured revolutions, wars, happy years of peaceful time, romantic stories and many other things. Fortunately, our capital does not only erect the most up-to-date skyscrapers, but also carefully stores and grants “revival ” to ancient mansions, sculptures and other cultural monuments.
“For the last seven years more than one thousand monuments have been restored. It is, perhaps, the most large-scale program for all the history of Moscow, and there are hardly analogues in other countries. Besides the restoration of monuments, the arrangement of public space around these monuments is being carried out. Together with the implementation of the “My Street” program huge work on the improvement of historical building facades is being carried out”.
Sergey Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow
text: V. Razvodovskaya photo:N. Arefyeva, www.mos.ru