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Regions of Russia: Moscow city

Moscow city

St. Basil's CathedralMoscow city
The first mentioning of Moscow as a settlement in the annals of history dates back to 1147. This very year is, thus, considered to be the year of its foundation. Moscow’s founder is Yuri Vladimirovitch Dolgorukiy, Prince of Suzdal. His followers in forming Muscovy were the famed Princes and Czars Andrey Bogolubskiy, Ivan Kalita, Dmitry Donskoy, Ivan the 3d, Boris Godunov, Mikhail Romanov and many others. After Peter the Great came to the throne cities and towns of the Russian state were assigned to provinces headed by governors. Till 1917 governors of Moscow faithfully served the city and the Russian state. Muscovites still remember names of many: Boyar Streshnev, Count Tchernishov, Prince Volkonskiy, Count Rostopchin, Prince Golitsin. All in all, there were more than 50 of them.

Since 1917 the functions of the local administration’s head were carried out by chairmen of executive committees of the Moscow Soviet of People’s Deputies. Lately these functions have been performed by mayors of Moscow. Almost nine centuries have already passed. Moscow city was repeatedly conquered and destroyed but again and again it was successfully rebuilt. At present Moscow is one of the largest cities of the world. The exceptionally favorable location of Moscow gave it advantages over other cities of the emerging Russia. From the very beginning the territorial development of Moscow was determined by the need to have a reliable defense. There were constant threats of invasion by nomadic hordes from the South and East and by Lithuanian and Polish conquerors from the West. During that time such famous convent-fortresses as the Simonov, Spaso-Andronikov and Novo-Devichiy ones were built on approaches to Moscow. After the victory in the Kulikovskaya battle (1380) and the ’Ugra standing’ (1480) that put an end to the Tartar-Mongolian yoke the might of Muscovy started to quickly grow. In the 15th century by the size of its territory and population Moscow surpassed London, Prague and other largest cities of Europe. After the abolition of serfdom (1861) and in the course of developing capitalism in Russia rates of Moscow’ s growth increased and the city became the largest commercial and industrial center. By the end of the 19th century there were over 20 thousand commercial and industrial enterprises. Moscow’s industrial structure was dominated by textile, building, woodworking and food sectors. The period of the industrial upsurge was Yuriy Dolgorukiymarked by vigorous advances of the foreign capital penetrating the Russian industry. All chemical and electrotechnical enterprises in Moscow were in the hands of foreign companies. Moscow’s machine-building industry gathered momentum in its deelopment after the October coup. The Moscow of calico gave way to the Moscow of machine-building and electrical engineering. Retaining its very important role in producing consumer goods for the country as a whole Moscow became the powerful industrial center. No new industrial enterprises have been opened in the city during the period of democratic changes and this has had positive effect on the local ecology. What is more, many old enterprises now either curtail their production or move beyond city limits. At the same time new buildings (mainly, administrative, office and trade ones) keep cropping up. They are constructed by special design and architecturally are in harmony with the existing city structure.

For hundreds of years Moscow has been the center of the Russian national culture. The city possesses the most valuable historical and architectural monuments of world importance: the Kremlin, Novo-Devichiy Convent, Church of Pokrov in Fili, Moscow State University, Triumphal Arch, Memorial complex of Victory on the Poklonnaya GoraChrist, the Savior Cathedral on Kropotkinskaya embankment, the Kremlin’s Voskresenskiye Gates together with the Iverskaya Chapel and Temple of Icon of Kazan Mother of God on Red square were built anew. A great number of historic monuments are being reconstructed and restored. The process to preserve the historic heritage goes on and the Moscow government bodies act as its sponsors and active participants. A lot is done to make Muscovites and visitors feel nice and comfortable in the streets of the capital city. Pedestrian zones are set up, new hotels, cafes and restaurants are opened. Moscow regularly hosts major festivals, Olympiads, sports competitions and various international contests. Moscow is famous for its museums and such exhibition halls as the Tretyakov Art Gallery, Pushkin Museum, Manege. Those, who already visited Moscow, are sure to wish to come back to our hometown again. Moscow is considered one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

Kremlin Cathedrals

Assumption cathedral, KremlinThe Cathedral Square is the Kremlin's main square. Basically its architectural ensemble emerged in the second half of the 15th century. All major events were marked there even in ancient times. Solemn services on the occasion of big religious feasts were held on the Square. All nobles of the Russian state gathered there for Russian Czars' weddings, crowning and funeral ceremonies. Foreign ambassadors were received on the Square in front of the Red Porch of the Granovitaya Palata (the Palace of Facets). There are outstanding monuments of the Old Russian architecture in Cathedral Square: the Uspenskiy Cathedral (the Cathedral of the Assumption), the Archangelskiy Cathedral (the Cathedral of the Archangel) and the Blagoveshchenskiy Cathedral (the Cathedral of the Annunciation), the Church of Rizopolozheniya (the Church of Priestly Ordination), Granovitaya Palata (the Palace of Facets), Ivan the Great Bell Tower with a belfry, Patriarch's Palace and Residence.
Novodevichy Convent

Novodevichy ConventNovodevichy Convent was founded in 1525 by the Great Prince Basil III. That was the promise he had given: to establish a monastery in honor of Smolenskaya icon of the Virgin on condition that Smolensk was freed from the Lithuanians. A special place was chosen for the erection of the building. That was Devichy meadow, called like that after a tatar tradition to choose girls to be taken to servitude. Aleviz Novy was the one who designed the main cathedral of the Monastery. In different epochs different parts of the Monastery were erected: majestic walls and towers in the times of Boris Godunov, the Pokrova of the Virgin Church and Uspensky Cathedral - at the end of the XVII century. Monastery walls and towers got their modern appearance in tsarevna Sophia''s reign. At the same period the five-headed Preobrzhenskaya Church with a bell-tower was built. Originally the bell-tower was planned to be built eight-tiered. But the erection of the tower was stopped when it contained only six tiers and was 73 meters high. Unfortunately the name of its creator didn''t remain till our times, but Bazhenov and Bove, outstanding Russian architects, considered it the most beautiful and imposing bell-tower in Moscow. The Convent is widely known since some members (sisters and wives) of the tsar''s family have become nuns there. One of them was Irina Godunova, tsar Feodor''s widow, who managed to elevate her brother Boris Godunov to the throne. Peter I''s wife Evdokiya was among them. Also Peter I''s sister Sophia, who was overthrown and made to take the veil after strelets'' riots had been suppressed. The Monastery was abolished in the twenties. And in the thirties a branch of the State History Museum occupied the building. In 1944 Uspensky Cathedral was given to the orthodox community. At the same time Moscow Theological academy and seminary moved to the monastery. In 1994 the restoration of the monkhood of Novodevichy Monastery began. Since then divine services has been taking place at Uspensky cathedral.

The Nobleman’s Assembly

The Nobleman's AssemblyThe Nobleman’s Assembly Okhotny Ryad, 2 The building of the Nobleman’s Assembly is one of the few works of M. F. Kazakov in which the style of the great master was preserved despite the numerous late reconstructions the building underwent. The house was erected in 1784-1787 by Kazakov’s project for the Moscow Nobleman’s Assembly (which was created on the initiative of the prince A. B. Golitsin and M. F. Soymonov). The building became widely known thanks to its solemn and imposing Hall of Pillars. In 1784 the Nobleman’s Assembly purchased the building of the former governor-general of Moscow V. M. Dolgoruky.

On the base of it Kazakov erected his monumental mansion with the homestead buildings attached to it. The large Hall of Pillars was situated in the centre with numerous adjoined drawing-rooms and halls located around. The main entrance faces Bolshaya Dmitrovka. It is decorated with a six-columned Ionic portico. The corners were adorned with lower pilastered porticos. The main entrance was located in the part of the building that faced Okhotny Ryad. It was adorned with an arch put on doubled columns. A three staired staircase led to the main suite of rooms. But the most remarkable sight of the building was the famous Hall of Pillars. The corinfic colonnade made of yellowish artificial marble and illuminated with the upper light made the building look solemn and exquisite at the same time. In 1800 a three storied building was attached to the Assembly on the side facing the Georgievsky lane. In 1811 the house was enlarged. At the same time a decorated ceiling representing an eagle with outspread wings and surrounded by a thundercloud made its appearance in the Hall of Pillars. In 1812 the building was greatly damaged by the fire. In 1814 it was restored by a M. F. Kazakov’s disciple A. N. Bakarev. Unfortunately he didn’t manage to restore the decorated ceiling, so it was lost for us.

In 1903 an architect A. F. Meisner bricked up the upper light and added the 3rd storey to the house. He lifted porticos up to the first floor and brought them into line. On March, 30 1856 the Hall of Pillars witnessed Alexander II’s speech where he accented the necessity of setting the serfs free. P. I. Tchaikovsky, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, F. List, S. V. Rakhmaninov performed their musical works there. In 1880 F. M. Dostoevsky delivered his famous speech in connection with the unveiling of the Pushkin’s monument. After the Revolution the building was passed on to the trade unions and was called the House of Unions. Different congresses of the Comintern and Profintern took place there. Beginning with V. I. Lenin’s funeral the Hall of Pillars started to be used as a mourning hall to bid famous people and statesmen farewell. The building was under reconstruction in 1977-1979 and in 1995-1996. Today public activity and concerts take place in the Hall of Pillars.

Bolshoi Theater

Bolshoi TheaterFrom the very outset of its existence the Bolshoi Theater was in the center of Moscow cultural life. The State  Academic Bolshoi Theater is one of the oldest in the capital of Russia. It was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century and officially opened in 1825. According to the opinions of the contemporaries, the theater was the best in Europe. The troupe of actors that was invited to perform on the stage of the theater formed earlier, in 1776, and that year is recognized as the year of the theater s foundation. 

The stage of the Bolshoi Theater witnessed such premiers as Life for the Tsar by Glinka and ballet performances Sylphide, Giselle, Esmeralda and some others. In 1856 the grandeur building burnt down, but it took only 16 months to put up the new impressive theater. The five-circled hall of the Bolshoi Theater is famous for its perfect acoustics and can seat up to 2,150 spectators. The hall is decorated with gilded moldings and red velvet, which imparts to it special splendor and solemnity.

Bolshoi is one of the leading ballet and opera companies in the world.The imposing home of the internationally-famed Bolshoi ballet and opera was constructed in 1824 by Osip Bove, though the company itself was begun in 1773 as a dancing school for the Moscow Orphanage. For much of its history the Bolshoi was overshadowed by the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, but with Moscow‘s restoration as the capital in 1918 it gained preeminence. For most of the last three decades the Bolshoi was led by Yuri Grigorovich, an artistic director known as much for his accomplished, classical choreography. Under Grigorovich‘s tenure, and graced by the presence of a series of remarkably gifted dancers, the Bolshoi‘s became known as one of the world‘s great ballet companies. Its performances elicit international acclaim, and an evening at the Bolshoi remains one of Moscow‘s sublime pleasures. The lovely, acoustically-excellent theater is a very captivating venue.

All performances are played on the Small Stage of the Bolshoi theatre, as the Big Stage is under reconstruction now.

Small Stage of the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera

Bolshoi theatre closed the Big Stage for the reconstruction from July 2005 to March 2008. The main purpose of this reconstruction is to repair stage and hall and make it more comfortable. All the performances of Bolshoi theatre company are played on the Small Stage. Small stage also belongs to Bolshoi theatre. Seats are hand-made and very comfortable. Small Stage have fine acoustics, same as the Big Stage. Small Stage is equipped with elevators and conveniences for people with limited abilities. It was built strictly in the style and traditions of of the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera.

The Architect`s House 
The Architect's HouseThe house was designed as a private mansion belonging to A.l.Leman. An asymmetrical design of its facades blends with romanticized gothic motives and pseudo- Russia architecture of the exterior and interior of the building. A wooden staircase with an arched gallery on the second floor occupies a prominent place in the mansion, The most remarkable elements in the interior are a white hall with a fire place and rich moulding and a library with ceilings decorated as carved wood. After the building was turned over to the Union of Soviet Architects in 1930 a new hall, a café and a restaurant were added to the building. At the end of the 1970s the building was enlarged after a new block housing a spacious parlor, an exhibition hall, a conference hall and office rooms were added to the building.

English Club

English clubThere’s a magnificent mansion behind a fence with lions built at the end of the XVIII century. The Museum of Revolution is located in the building now. And in the XVIII century the poet M. M. Kheraskov’s brother lived in that house. Members of the first Moscow masonic circle used to secretly meet there. Those were: Kheraskov himself, Tcherkassky, Turgenev and “brother Kinovion”. An outstanding enlightener Nikolay Novikov hid under that Rosenkreuz pseudonym. In 1792 Novikov was put under arrest for having published Radishev’s disgraced book “A Journey From Petersburg To Moscow”. The meeting in the house ceased. After Kheraskov’s death in 1807, count A. K. Razumovsky assumed possession of the mansion. Under the count the manor was reconstructed by an architect D. Gilardi and fashioned into its modern appearance. At the same time imposing stone lions made their appearance by the gates. “As if petrified dignitaries, digesting Lucullus dinner”, - wrote Gilyarovsky about them.

Moscow Metro

Moscow metroMoscow subway is one of the sights really worth seeing. The subway stations are also known as “Moscow underground palaces”. Indeed palace splendour of vestibules and halls confirms that saying. More than twenty types of marble and many other rocks (labradorite, granite, porphyry, onyx) were used during the building of the metro. Statues, relieves and imposing ornamental compositions (paintings, mosaic, stained-glass windows and murals), created by outstanding artists of our country, decorate the solemn underground complex. The first subway line was put into operation on May, 15 1935.

Architects and builders of Moscow subway wished to create not only comfortable, but also individually attractive stations. “Mayakovskaya” station, put into operation in 1938, is considered to be one of the most beautiful stations. It was the first columnar station sunk to a great depth. Its supports are made of metal and tiled with granite and stainless steel. The domes are decorated with mosaic panels, designed by a famous artist A. A. Deineka. In 1937 at the International exhibition in Paris the first line stations of Moscow subway were rewarded with the prize for the underground urbanism. And “Mayakovskaya” station was awarded the Grand-prix.

Metro stations “Mayakovskaya”, “Kropotkinskaya”, “Teatralnaya”, “Prospekt Mira”, “Kurskaya - radial” and other are among the most interesting architectural monuments of 1930-1950. Some of them are under official state protection. The new-built stations are characterized by the utmost simplicity and strictness. Schemes, automatic information machines and light indicators help us to orientate ourselves in Moscow underground.

Moscow State Conservatory (Grand/Small Hall)

The Moscow State Conservatory, named after the famous composer Piotr Tchaikovsky, and frequently referred to as the "Tchaikovsky Conservatory", was founded on September 1, 1866, by Nikolay Rubinstein (1835-1881), a brilliant pianist, conductor and musical "propagator".

At present, the Moscow Conservatory is one of the finest and most famous schools of music in the world. This said, as opposed to being one school of music, the Conservatory is, in reality, an entire complex of institutions, consisting not only of the Conservatory itself, but also of different Conservatory-affiliated schools. These are: the Conservatory Musical College, a specialized musical high-school, with circa 700 students, to which is attached a Childrens‘ Musical School, with circa 300 pupils; the Central Specialized Music School, with circa 270 children, and the Military Band Conducting Academy (with circa 230 students).

A Conservatory Academic Council oversees the work of these specialized schools, often sharing its professors and academic staff with them. On the other hand, graduates from these specialized schools frequently enter the Conservatory upon completing their secondary education, though admission is competition- based and subject to entrance exams.What does the student studying at the Moscow Conservatory receive? Above all, naturally, highly professional and artistic training by world-famous professors, composers, artists and scholars. But there is more. In fact, those who cross the threshold of the Conservatory, immediately come into contact with an atmosphere of rich culture and with a very wide range of artistic events. The "Great Hall", as previously mentioned, plays an intrinsic role in this. But so do the "Small Hall" and the "Rachmaninov Hall". They are the "Conservatory Halls", accessible to the entire student body and in them, many a student is given the opportunity of demonstrating his or her performing skills. The Moscow Conservatory, in fact, organizes several hundred concerts per year in its own halls, as well as in those of other Russian cities, providing its students, once again, with many an opportunity to actively participate in musical and cultural events.

This has broad implications; it not only means that students specializing in musicology, itself, receive a most thorough training in their field(s), but that all Moscow Conservatory students, irrespective of what they are majoring in, receive a very firm grounding in musicology, dispensed by the same teachers, scholars and researchers. If one adds to this that the Russian school of musicology is, in principle, devoid of "scholastic squabbling" and much more oriented towards the semantics of art, the type of theory education that Moscow Conservatory students receive is closely related to a wide range of problems that many of them are confronted with, most notably in the fields of the performing arts and composition.Finally, the Conservatory provides each and every student with the possibility of freely defining his or her artistic interests. Its goal is to educate its students so that their true artistic personalites may emerge and so that they may become both real professionals and genuine "agents of culture".

Everything is subordinated to this goal. Creative initiatives on the part of students are supported and encouraged. Flexibility reigns, and students are allowed to simultaneously study subjects that are outside the bounds of their "specialities". To cite but one example: if students of the performing arts wish to study composition, and demonstrate abilities in this field, they are free to enroll in composition classes, as well as in any other related theory class or classes. Much the same applies to conducting and to research in musicology. In general, all sorts of rich and diversifed inter-department opportunities are readily available to Moscow Conservatory students, enabling them to pursue high-level performance, scholarly and teaching careers.

The Great Moscow State Circus

The Great Moscow State CircusThe Great Moscow State Circus was opened on 30th of April 1971. It has been designed and built by a group of the architects and engineers under the leadership of Mr. I.Belopolsky and still today it strikes everyone with its technical possibilities. There wasn‘t and still there isn‘t a similar circus anywhere in the world. Its auditorium represents a 36 meters high amphitheatre consisting of 23 rows totaling to 3400 seats.

Five interchangeable rings are located in a huge machine hall at the depth of 18 meters. With perfectly adjusted mechanical and electronic equipment the replacement of one ring with another takes 5-6 minutes. One huge thirteen-meter ring goes down, slides aside while another one takes its place and is lifted upwards by a "giant hand". All five rings were used in many shows of the Circus: horse ring, water ring, ice ring, illusion ring and light ring.

The Circus has also a sixth ring - the rehearsing one. It is occupied since the morning till the late night. Here the new acts are being created, here the artistes warm up before the performance.
The Circus has all and everything necessary for the creative activities. Its directors, choreographers, musicians, designers help the artists to create new acts. The Circus workshops manufacture costumes and props.

At present time the Circus employs several hundreds of the artistes who perform the acts of practically all known circus genres. Many of the artistes hold the honorary titles of People‘s Artistes and Honored Artistes of Russian Federation Their high artistic and professional level is proved by the fact that every year the artistes of the Great Moscow Circus take part in the most prestigious international festivals and contests winning highest awards. The whole programs and separate acts tour every year in more than 20 countries of the world performing not only in the circuses, but on the theatre stages, in the cabarets and in the theme parks.

Performance at Great Moscow State CircusIn 1996 the Circus celebrated its 25th anniversary with the "Silver Show on the Vorobievy Hills" staged by the People‘s Artist of Russia Mr.Leonid Kostyuk. The performance was a great success, more than 500 000 spectators including foreign guests visited this show.
From the moment of its birth the Circus presented to the spectators over one hundred different programs including theme shows and divertissements performances where best Russian and foreign circus artistes took part.

In 2001 the Great Moscow State Circus will celebrate with a grandiose show its 30th anniversary.
For many years already the Great Moscow State Circus is headed by a person, who himself in the past was performing in the ring and won the "Golden Clown" prize of the International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo, now its General Producer, People‘s Artiste of Russian Federation, world renowned circus director, professor of the Russian Academy of Performing Arts, academician Mr.Leonid L. Kostyuk.

The Moscow palace of young people

The Moscow palace of young peopleThe Moscow palace of young people - one of the largest entertaining complexes of Moscow, is located on one of the most lively mains of the capital - by Komsomol‘sk prospectus - directly above the station of the metro "Frunze".

MDM has available large concert hall in 1900 places, equipped contemporary sonic, light and stage equipment, and multipurpose parquet hall by capacity to 2000 people, who can be used not only for the concerts and the dancing evenings, but also for the corporate measures, the embankments and the buffets, the presentations, etc.

Important merit MDM is entire complex for leisure and entertainments, so that any visitor would find leisure from the soul and would bring his friends, family, children. They enter into the infrastructure MDM of entertainments: MDM of cinema, billiards, bouling, several restaurants and cafe to any taste, stores, Internet- cafe, hall of play automata, salon of beauty and so forth in the adjacent territory is parking.

Moscow Operetta Theatre

Moscow Operetta TheatreIn the very heart of Moscow, not far from the Kremlin, there stands an old building well-known to those who love music. In the 19th century it housed Savva Mamontov‘s Russian Opera. Later it served as an affiliation of the Bolshoi Theater. Now it belongs to Moscow‘s Operetta Theater. The theater has an extensive repertoire: Johann Strauss‘ "The Bat" and "Vienna Blood", Imre Kalman‘s "The Queen of Czardas", "Circus Princess" and "Bajadere", Ferenz Legar‘s "Merry Widow". The modern performances include "Fiances", a musical by the Soviet classic Isaak Dunayevsky. In fact, the theater began its work in 1929 with staging precisely this musical. Today the musical presents the brilliant young singer Oksana Kotsyurskaya and her partner Vladimir Golyshev.

The Operetta Theater has excellent traditions. It has a group of stars, in which the fashion is set by such talented performers, as Tatiana Shmyga. Both the management and other artists heed what she has to say. As for the public, it has viewed Tatiana as a real operetta diva for many years. Another gifted actress, Svetlana Varguzova, has been a member of the cast for 30 years now. The performances with her participation, such as "The Beautiful Galatea" by Franz Zuppe, and the benefit performance "Prima Donna" about artists‘ life, always enjoy great success. The atmosphere at the Operetta Theater is such that even the most popular artists never display the signs of stardom. This is due to the discipline reigning there, and the habit of hard work, which renders enviable lightness to any performance.

The theater‘s leading actresses are extremely pretty, particularly in their elaborate stage costumes. Men artists are impeccably courteous. Irresistible gentlemen, they seem to have been born in evening dress. This relates to those who enact romantic personages, of course.
The leading men are handsome Yuri Vedeneyev with his powerful baritone, young Sergey Alimpiev, and the best Russian "Mister X" Gerard Vasiliev, who is greatly popular not only in this country, but also abroad. He has performed in many countries. In Japan he reads lectures on Russian music. The anniversary festivities at Moscow‘s Operetta Theater have been postponed till next spring. They promise to be grandiose. 


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