Window into history: Glass case with historical items to be installed at Maly Zlatoustinsky Pereulok

Window into history: Glass case with historical items to be installed at Maly Zlatoustinsky Pereulok
Project design
This open-air museum will present a section of the preserved wall foundation of St Nicholas’s Church in Stolpy (17th–18th centuries) that was destroyed in 1938. There will also be several carved gravestones dated 15th–17th centuries; archeologists managed to decipher the inscription on one of them.

The improvement of the museum window on Maly Zlatoustinsky Perulok opposite building 7/2 will be completed by the end of September. Historical items dating to the 15th–18th centuries will be displayed in a glass case right on the street.


The open-air museum will include a fragment of the white-stone wall foundation of St Nicholas’s Church in Stolpy (17th–18th centuries) that was destroyed in 1938. It was uncovered this May during archeological monitoring in the course of a Maly Zlatoustinsky Pereulok-Armyansky Pereulok crossing project. There will also be nine carved gravestones under the glass and a piece of the 19th century stone pavement restored around the showcase. The pavement will be restored with historical pieces of stone that were partly preserved under today’s road and subsequently found by archeologists.

“The street showcase will be made of strong glass. There will be metal railing around it. The exhibit will be illuminated to highlight the details. In addition, there will be brass plaques bearing information about the items built into the granite tiles near the museum showcase,” said Deputy Moscow Mayor for Housing, Utilities and Amenities Pyotr Biryukov.

The installation of the museum window is being carried out by the Moscow Department for Major Housing Repairs.

“We have chosen the most well-preserved section of the white-stone wall foundation that covers almost six square metres to use in the museum window. While clearing the spot we found three fragments of 17th century gravestones. One of them says “Boyarin’s Widow” inscribed in intricate lettering. Regarding the foundation, experts had to restore the masonry in several places using original materials. The difference between the new and original parts can be seen in the colour, texture and joint sealing. After the restoration, all the stone surfaces were strengthened and covered with protective substances,” said Head of the Moscow Department for Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov.

According to Yemelyanov, archeologists also found six other gravestones on Maly Zlatoustinsky Pereulok and Armyansky Pereulok where an old church graveyard once was. The majority are decorated with carved triangles. The oldest date to the 15th century. Researchers were able to date them by a round seal place at the head of the stone.

In recent years more archeological landmarks in Moscow have become part of modern city architecture and exhibits in historical locations. For example, an open-air archeological museum opened on Khokhlovskaya Square last year. A fragment of the White City wall (16th century) can be seen there.

A piece of the underground part of the Naryshkin Palace’s wall with a double window (17th century) was placed under glass at Vysokopetrovsky Monastery on Petrovka Street. There is a section of the 17th–18th century wooden road shown in an open-air museum near St Sophia’s Church on Pushechnaya Street. A fragment of the Kitai-Gorod wall foundation (17th century) is exhibited at the underground archeological museum in Zaryadye Park. A 16th century secret chamber (called “slukh”) is located opposite the Zaryadye philharmonic hall in an archway of the Kitai-Gorod wall that has survived. The arched wall in the “slukh,” literally “hearing,” created special acoustics so everything going on outside could be heard inside the chamber.

Pieces of the stone wall around Zlatoustovsky Monastery (the early 18th century) in Bolshoi Zlatoustinsky Pereulok have been partly restored and preserved. The stone foundation of the historical Transfiguration Cathedral (18th–19th centuries) has been preserved under glass on the ground floor of the church that was built on the same spot. The foundation of the main cathedral of the historical Conception Convent (16th–18th centuries) was preserved in the basement of today’s convent.

There also are museum windows in the Kremlin. The first shows foundations and parts of the ground floor of the Chudov Monastery’s two churches and frater as well as 14th century gravestones. The second includes a piece of corridor that led from the Nikolayevsky Palace to the Chudov Monastery (1851–1855) as well as a section of the 16th century wooden floor and basement. Today the upper part of the Mytishchi pipeline’s wall found during the improvement of Sretenka Street is being restored. The opening of the museum display is scheduled for 2019.

From a parish church to college

St Nicholas’s Church in Stolpy (on Pillars) is a parish church in White City in Moscow, which stood at the corner of Maly Zlatoustinsky Pereulok and Armyansky Pereulok (back in the 17th and the first half of the 18th centuries they were called Nikolsky and Stolpovsky like the church). The stone church was built in 1669 by apprentice mason Ivan Kosmin who also built St Gregory’s Church on Polyanka Street and the Church of the Intercession at Izmailovo.

The church’s popular name in the 17th and 18th centuries, “the Church in Stolpy,” or on Pillars, shows that once a departmental office stood there, most likely for the stable service that was called a stolp, which meant a long scroll. Another version says there was a high tower used to watch Moscow borders in the times of Mongol raids. According to the third version, there was a department where Muscovites could file petitions. Yet another version says a miraculous icon of Simeon Stylites was brought here from a wooden church of St Simeon and St Anna.

According to historical accounts, St Nicholas’s Church in Stolpy (especially the upper part) was richly decorated with carved white-stone elements, with a frieze (a decorative section that goes around the building) being the most noted architectural element. The frieze was made from colorful textured tiles made by Byelorussian craftsmen. This is the first example of such decorative elements on Moscow churches. When the church was destroyed in 1938, several gravestones were built into the wall of the Donskoi Monastery. Today Teachers College No. 7 is located on the spot where the church once stood (2 Armyansky Pereulok, 4 bldg).