From the Tretyakov Gallery to the Bakhrushin Museum: the top five buildings in the Zamoskvorechye District

From the Tretyakov Gallery to the Bakhrushin Museum: the top five buildings in the Zamoskvorechye District
Denis Drozdov, Moscow historian and author of “Bolshaya Ordynka” and “Historical Moscow,” talks about his favorite buildings in the Zamoskvorechye District.

Mos. ru continues to present a series of stories based on a Museum of Moscow project titled, “Outdoor Lecture Hall. Local History”. Throughout the summer, Moscow historians and architecture historians have addressed audiences in various squares across the city revealing mysteries and riddles. The Outdoor Lecture Hall will resume next summer. For the time being, lectures on Khamovniki, Shabolovka, Ramenki and Izmailovo are available as synopses.

Denis Drozdov, local historian, author of “Bolshaya Ordynka” and “Historical Moscow”

Tretyakov Gallery

10 Lavrushinsky Pereulok

The Tretyakov Gallery is not just the district’s main attraction, it is a very important symbol of Moscow, one of the most famous museums in Russia, one that only the Hermitage can match.

The gallery is located in the former estate of the famous art collector Pavel Tretyakov. At the age of 28, Tretyakov wrote a will which said he would leave his house and his complete art collection to the city in order to establish a public museum of fine arts. Inspired by Tretyakov’s noble goal, artists sought to sell him their paintings. As a result, Tretyakov became the owner of the largest collection of his time.

The gallery was opened in 1893 when Tretyakov was still alive. He handed over part of his estate for the gallery’s grounds. The museum was Tretyakov’s lifetime project: the last words he uttered on his deathbed were a message to future generations: “Take care of the gallery and stay healthy”. After the revolution, the gallery became a state gallery, and the collection began to be replenished rapidly with works of art taken from private collections of former members of the gentry and merchants, as well as icons from closed and destroyed churches.

Today, the Tretyakov Gallery collection includes over 100,000 works. Of course, not all of them are exhibited in the building on Lavrushinsky Pereulok. The gallery has several buildings, and part of the collection is kept in the gallery’s vault. The Tretyakov Gallery continues to expand: in 2018, a new state-of-the-art museum complex will open on the Kadashevskaya Embankment.

Sts. Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy

34 Bolshaya Ordynka Street

The magnificent ensemble of the Martha and Mary Convent (Marfo Mariinsky Convent) was formed at the beginning of the 20 th century. The founder and mother superior of the congregation of sisters of mercy was Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova. A hospital, an outpatient clinic, a pharmacy and a shelter, as well as a residential building for the sisters of mercy and a priest were built on the monastery grounds, which opened its doors in 1909. The crown jewel of the convent complex on Bolshaya Ordynka is the Cathedral of the Intercession, a masterpiece in the Neo-Russian style, one of the best works of architect Alexei Shchusev. The frescoes in the church were created by another great master, Mikhail Nesterov.

After the 1917 Revolution, Elizabeth Feodorovna was executed, and the convent was closed. The Cathedral of the Intercession was used for restoration shops. The congregation of the sisters of mercy was revived in 2009, the comvent’s 100 th anniversary. Today, all the institutions created by the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna have been restored. As at the beginning of the 20 th century, the sisters of mercy still work and perform acts of charity. The unique ensemble of the Martha and Mary Convent has been almost completely restored to its original form.

Averky Kirillov’s Chambers and the Church of St Nicholas on the Bersenevskaya Embankment

18 and 20 Bersenevskaya Embankment

The Old Moscow corner on the Bersenevskaya Embankment is one of the few places in the Russian capital where you can see so many historical monuments. For example, one of the main masterpieces of Russian ornamental style in civil architecture is Averky Kirillov’s Palace (Chambers). People used to call this building not just decorated, but adorned. If Kirillov’s Palace was the only one left of all the 17 th century buildings, we would still have a full picture of ​​the Russian ornamental style, the main architectural style in the times of the first Romanovs. Window surrounds, corbel arches, jugs (kubyshkas), drop ornaments, half-columns, tiles, all the basic elements of ornamental detail can be found here.

Those interested in 17 th century church architecture should not miss the buildings on Bersenevskaya Embankment. Not far from Kirillov’s Palace is the beautiful Church of St Nicholas. You do not need to be an architecture connoisseur to understand that the house and the church were built at one time in the same style, and most likely by one architect (the customer was certainly the same person, Averky Kirillov). These two 17 th century buildings form a bright and harmonious ornamental ensemble. Such unique combinations are rare in Moscow.

Bakhrushin Theatre Museum

31/12 Bakhrushina Street

There are many attractions in Zamoskvorechye District that deserve attention, and not every resident living there would call the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum the most important. Still, it is worth mentioning: it is a unique museum for Moscow, holding one of the largest theatre exhibit collections in the world. This unique collection was started by Alexei Bakhrushin who came from a family of famous Moscow entrepreneurs, who were known as professional philanthropists. They did a lot for Moscow, and their deeds are still remembered by Moscow’s citizens. The museum was opened in 1894, when Alexei Bakhrushin exhibited his collection for the first time.

Bakhrushin was an ardent art collector. He could hunt for some theatrical curiosity for years. He had agents in every major European city who regularly studied the items sold at antique shops and city markets. Bakhrushin could offer an unthinkable sum for an object of art. In 1896, the architect Karl Gippius (Karl Gustav Hippius) built a new building for the museum-a beautiful pseudo-Gothic castle. In 1913, Bakhrushin handed the museum over to the Academy of Sciences making it the property of Moscow. In order to preserve and protect his collection during this difficult time for the country, Bakhrushin did not emigrate after the Revolution of 1917, but remained the head of his Theatre Museum.

The Joy of All Who Sorrow Church

20 Bolshaya Ordynka Street

This church on Bolshaya Ordynka Street is an exceptional example of a church created by two ingenious architects from different generations. At the end of the 18 th century, a bell tower and a refectory were built by Vasily Bazhenov, the greatest master of classicism. A few decades later, in the 1830 s, a large rotunda overlooking the street was designed by Osip Bove, the chief architect of the Empire style in Moscow that was rebuilt after the fire of 1812. These elements built at different times, combine with each other perfectly owing to the Ionic columns of the refectory and the rotunda, as well as other similar details.

The Joy of All Who Sorrow Church was called “the most European” or “the most St Petersburg-like” in Moscow. Such nicknames were given not only because of an architecture style that was unusual for Moscow, but also due to the unique interiors that have been preserved to present days. The paintings in the refectory were made in the 19 thcentury to depict subjects of Western European art. A large dome is supported by 12 mighty columns. But the centerpiece is inside the church. It is an empire iconostasis in the form of a triumphal gate decorated with icons. Pilgrims come to the church on Bolshaya Ordynka to see a miraculous icons known since the 17 th century.