Estates, metro stations and monuments: How restoration proceeds

Estates, metro stations and monuments: How restoration proceeds
The restoration of monuments in Moscow is carried out on a massive scale. Over a few years from 2010 to 2016, the number of cultural heritage sites in dissatisfactory or endangered condition has decreased more than five-fold.

How estates are saved

Last year, 724 cultural heritage sites were repaired and renovated, among them the Zimin mansion built in the year 1896. Already restoration work has been completed at 159 heritage sites, including the House-Commune built in 1929, the Vasilchikova-Obolensky Estate on Gogolevsky Boulevard and the building of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics on Zatsepa Street.

Most renovation and repair work is funded by private investors. One of the 426 buildings they set sights on is the Spiridonov-Ryukhardt Estate dating back to the early 19th century. Work has been completed at 85 cultural heritage sites. Comparing this with the year 2015 this is one and a half times increase.

Last year, sixteen sites underwent urgent repair work, a significantly higher number, compared to just four between 2014-2015. Many buildings had been left unattended for more than fifteen years. These are the Orlov-Denisov mansion on Bolshaya Lubyanka Street, a former rental house owned by merchant Bykov on 2nd Brestskaya Street, a house with telamons on Solyanka Street, the buildings of the Mariinsky Women’s School, the former Eynem society’s complex and the house of its director.

The restoration of monuments is funded by the city (42 monuments last year), federal executive bodies (32 sites) and private investors and patrons of the arts (85 sites). In 2016, the share of the monuments restored with private funding exceeded 53 percent for the first time: 1.5 rouble of private investment per every one rouble allocated by the city.

Out of the 773 cultural heritage sites restored between 2011-2016, 384 were funded from the city budget, 142 were financed by federal executive bodies and 236 by private investors and art lovers. As a result, the number of monuments in dissatisfactory condition has decreased by 5.3 times from 1,325 in 2010 to 250 in 2016 (their share has shrunk from 39 percent to six percent).

A total of 768 sites feature on the 2017 restoration and repair list, among them the former Coliseum cinema on Chistoprudny Boulevard, the block of flats of Narkomfin (former Commissariat of Finance) on Novinsky Boulevard and also the Polytechnic Museum.

Six places of worship will be restored this year, including the Church of St Elijah the Prophet, the Church of St John the Evangelist and others religious monuments.

Preserving the cultural heritage of VDNKh remains a top priority. This year, the VDNKh restoration project will embrace 29 sites, compared to only five last year. These are the Agriculture, Healthcare, Physics, Cosmos and Cuniculture pavilions, the Central Pavilion and the Central and Northern entrances.

Metro and MCC stations as heritage sites

In 2016, 103 surface transportation and metro facilities were repaired, namely those of historical or cultural importance as, for example, the buildings of the Kievsky and Kazansky railway stations. At present, 46 metro stations enjoy a special protection status from the government: twelve of them are officially recognised as cultural monuments and 34 are potential heritage sites. All of them feature on the city’s heritage site preservation programme. Last year, the restoration of Kievskaya station on Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya and Filyovskaya lines was fully completed. Aeroport, Baumanskaya, Prospekt Mira and some other stations are currently being renovated. Next year, similar work will be carried out at 14 more stations.

The Moscow Central Circle (MCC) has by no means been disregarded. All 92 buildings making up the façades of 16 MCC stations (Belokamennaya, Ugreshskaya, Lefortovo, Likhobory and others) now appear as they once did according to how they were originally designed.    

City programmes to help restorers

Between 2012-2016, the restoration of religious monuments proceeded at a good pace under the Moscow Culture 2012-2018 programme by the city and a programme of subsidies to religious organisations. Of the 69 religious structures chosen for the project, 38 have already been completed.

The facades of 117 historical and cultural monuments have been renovated as part of the ongoing My Street programme. These are the National Hotel, the Lobanov-Rostovsky mansion and the house in which Alexander Griboyedov lived.

Finally, there is the One Rouble per One Square Metre programme comprising 19 heritage sites. It is almost half way through. Eight buildings have already been completed and the remaining eleven, among them the Baulin house and the Eminsky mansion, are currently under restoration.

Monumental art: Creating and preserving

In 2016, 24 monuments, 97 tombstones and 64 sculptures were restored, among them the statues of Alexander Pushkin and Miguel de Cervantes and the monument to the Heroes of the Panfilov Division.

Between 2011-2015, 102 memorial plaques and 34 monuments were unveiled in the city, to which twenty more memorial plaques and seven more monuments were added last year. These latter ones include memorial plaques commemorating film director Tatyana Lioznova and Hero of Socialist Labour Pavel Kabanov, a monument to St Grand Prince Vladimir and others.

Archaeological finds

Over 7,000 archaeological artefacts were unearthed in the capital in 2016, compared to 6,800 the year before.

The Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage has created a map of artefacts found during street reconstruction. The map is available at the open data portal.  It shows where and when an artefact was found and carries its photo and description. One can explore such artefacts as a money counterfeiter’s tool (17th century) or an 1889 latten plate bearing an inscription left by builders.

Archaeological excavations were carried out at the future Zaryadye Park. Last year, it was decided to open a museum in an underpass near Moskvoretskaya Embankment to showcase the 16th-century brickwork, the medieval walls of Kitay-Gorod and the pavements of Zaryadye which originally dated back to the 17th century.

Between 2007-2008, a 64-metre fragment of the white-stone foundation of an ancient wall around Bely Gorod (White Town) was discovered on Khokhlovskaya Square. In 2016, its museumification began along with a parallel revamp of Khokhlovskaya Square, all set for completion this year. In addition to this, an archaeological route will appear at Mitino Landscape Park in 2018.

Excursions, contests and awards

To popularise the restorer’s profession, the Moscow Restoration annual contest is held. The best professionals are awarded the Merited Restorer of Moscow title.

At the Denkmal-2016 exhibition in Leipzig, Russia won a special award, For Outstanding Achievements in the Protection of Monuments. Moscow’s exposition totalled around 270 square metres.

Free excursions to historic and cultural heritage sites have been organised for Muscovites and guests of the city. More than 11,600 people took part in them last year alone.