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Masterpieces of Russian architecture

Alexander Nevsky Lavra

Lavra Alexander Nevsky Lavra ensemble is located at the end of Nevsky Prospekt, between Alexander Nevsky Square and the Obvodny Canal, at the confluence of the Monastyrka and Neva rivers; it is considered to be one of the largest architectural ensembles in St. Petersburg.

It was founded by Peter I in 1710 as the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Saint Grand Duke Alexander Nevsky in honor of the victory over the Swedes won in 1240. In 1712-13 the first wooden Annunciation Church was put up on the left bank of the Monastyrka (or Chiornaya) River, and in 1717 construction of the monastery buildings in stone was started. In 1724 the remains of Alexander Nevsky were on Peter's order transferred from the city of Vladimir to the Blagoveshchenskaya (Annunciation) Church, newly built of stone (in 1790 the silver shrine with the relics was transferred to the Holy Trinity Cathedral).

Peter I assigned utmost importance to the monastery. The monastery trained priests of high rank for the Orthodox Church. In 1720 printing-works were established in the monastery, then a Slovenian school for middle class children, followed, in 1726, by the Slavonic, Greek and Latin Seminary and, further, by the Theological Academy. In 1797 the monastery got the lavra status.

After the revolution, in 1918, the monastery was closed down; many of the historical relics and works of art were transferred to the Hermitage, the Russian Museum and other places. In 1923 a Necropolis-Museum was established on part of the territory (since 1939 called the Museum of City Sculpture). Construction works went on all through the 19th century. The ensemble was completed by I.Starov, who was the author of the Holy Trinity Cathedral (1776-90). While directing the construction works he was at the same time renovating the adjacent territory, forming thereby a new square (named after Alexander Nevsky). He enclosed the square within a semicircle of stone walls and erected a gate-church and two houses at the entrance, thus linking the lavra ensemble with Nevsky Prospekt. The Holy Trinity Cathedral completed one of the oldest city ensembles.

Most part of the territory is taken up by the Metropolitant Garden and the cemeteries: the Lazarevskoye (18th-century Necropolis), Tikhvinskoye (Necropolis of the Men of Art) and Nikolskoye (founded in 1861) cemeteries. Many outstanding Russian men of culture, statesmen, military and public leaders were buried here.

Alexandrinsky Theatre

Lavra Date of creation: 1816 - 1834.
The author: Carlo Rossi
Location: Saint Petersburg
Material: brick, white stone, plaster

Alexandrinsky (Pushkin) theatre was founded in 1756. In 1832, the famous building of the present Pushkin Academic Drama Theatre, designed by Carlo Rossi, was erected in honour of Russia's victory over Napoleon.

Lives of many and many generations were bound with the theatre crowned by guadriga of galloping horses. Compared with Saint-Petersburg's architecture the building is distinguished for magnificent and simple style beauty. In 1856 the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna instituted Russian theatre of comedy and tragedy. In keeping with the court-office resolution the name of the theatre become shorter and changed to Russian Court Theatre.

The 19th century renamed the theatre Russian Drama Troupe of the Saint-Petersburg Emperor Theatres. After the revolution the theatre became the Russian Drama Troupe of the State Petrogradsky theatres, then the State Academic Associated Theatre.

In 1937 all Russia commemorated the centenary of the day of Alexander Pushkin's death, and the Theatre received a new name of the Pushkin State Academic Drama. Since 1991 it is called Russian Pushkin Academic Drama Theatre.

The name "Alexandrinsky" is more frequently used. This name dates back to 1832, when the new building in the centre of the city was called after Alexandra, the wife of the Czar, by the resolution of Nicholas I.

Apraksins Manor

Lavra The Apraksins- Manor is one of the most beautiful buildings in Moscow. The name of the architect, who erected the house in the 2nd part of the XVIII century, did not come down to us. The contemporaries called the manor Moscow Hermitage in miniature. Indeed it reminds greatly Bartolomeo Rastrelli-s architectural style. Unfortunately this manor-house is the only example of the houses of such a style, built in Moscow during the 2nd part of the XVIII century. Some of them got burnt down during the great fire of 1812, other buildings were destroyed by the time. At first the descendants of general F. Apraksin (Peter the Great-s associate) owned the mansion. Then Trubetskoys purchased the house. At the same time the manor got its name ?a house v a locker¦. Indeed the house with its intricate and magnificent architecture v colonnaded porticoes, concave and convex walls, window frames, ornamental moulding and sculptural embellishments v reminded a lot a locker, but a baroque one. In that manor dancing-classes took place. It was there where young A. S. Pushkin learned ballroom dances. The mansion is famous for outstanding people who were connected with it in this or that way. In 1830-1850 V. D. Korniliev v D. I. Mendeleev-s uncle v administrated the house. A famous artist P. A. Fedotov and the great chemist himself visited it. Since 1859 the building had been occupied by the 4th boys- gymnasium, where the father of the Russian aircraft N. E. Zhukovsky and the great theater worker K. S. Stanislavsky studied. The turquoise front of the house is particularly striking in appearance with its unusual forms of the windows, surrounded by white décor and sculptures, which are similar to those on the façade of the Hermitage.

District: Downtown
Address: 22, Pokrovka St., Moscow
Underground: Chistye Prudy

Arhangel Michael (Arhangelskiy) Cathedral

The Archangelskiy Cathedral stands on the south - princely - corner of Cathedral Square facing the Blagoveshchenskiy Cathedral. Under the order of Ivan Kalita the white-stoned temple, at that time the biggest one in the Kremlin, was built in 1333 instead of the wooden Church of the Archangel Michael occupying the site since the 13th century. From that moment and till the end of the 18th century the Cathedral served as the burial vault first of Grand Dukes and then of Czars as well. Under Ivan the 3d the dilapidated Cathedral was dismantled and the new Archangelskiy Cathedral was built at its site in 1505 v 1508 by the architect Alevisio Novi.

The Cathedral's architectural structure is traditionally Russian: it is a five-domed, six-pillared temple with crosses and cupolas. The Renaissance influence on its decor still seems obvious.

The interior draws attention by cross-like arrangement of pillars that is traditional for the Russian architecture. The architectural decor's horizontal divisions are matched by murals of the iconostasis and wall paintings.

The Cathedral building was never rebuilt but it was burned and repaired many times. Under the design of V.Bazhenov in 1772 it was reinforced by the white-stoned counterfort on the south side. For the first time the Archangelskiy Cathedral was icon-painted in the second half of the 16th century (today only fragments of those murals remain). In 1652-1666 by the order of Alexey Michailovitch the Cathedral was repainted. Icon-painters worked under the supervision of Simon Ushakov. The main subject of the Cathedral's murals is the depiction of holy warriors and related topic, all devoted to the Archangel Michael accordingly.

District: Downtown
Address: Kremlin, Moscow
Underground: Alexandrovskiy Sad

Central Exhibition Hall

Central Exhibition Hall The Manege or Central Exhibition Hall is located on the Manege square. The Manege building is distinguished by the conceptual breadth and somehow restrained strength.

This is one of the best architectural monuments of the late classicism. It was constructed in 1817 honoring the 5th anniversary of the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812. The building was designed by engineers A.Karbonie, A.Betankur, A.Kashperov and architects O.Bove and A.Monferrane. The clear-cut rhythm of Doric columns makes one forget about the enormous length of the building. The repeated depiction of military regalia on its fronts is a tribute to the victory of Russian arms in the Patriotic War of 1812 that was common for those years. However, it also had a specific memorial meaning: the Manege opening ceremony was marked by the parade of triumphant troops returning from Paris after the war was over. Bove decided to leave the Manege gigantic pediments unoccupied although Moscow's governor-general demanded to fill them up with sculptural compositions. But the town-planner did resist that order - it was Bove who was determining the city's face and, according to his plan, the composition center of the Manege square should be at the site of the nearby university building. The vast hall of about 7500 square meters (166 m long and 45 m wide) was overlapped by the suspended wooden roofing that was brilliantly designed and did not have a single supporting column. In those years such a construction was considered wonder of engineering. Originally the Manege was meant to become the site of holding parades by troops of the Moscow garrison and cavalry units' exercises.

From 1831 on it became used for other purposes as well, particularly for exhibitions, public festivities, concerts. For example, the first all-Russian ethnographic and polytechnic exhibitions were held there and later their items formed the base of collections of the History and Polytechnic museums. The Russian music society conducted musical nights: in 1867 Artur Rubinstein and Hector Berlioz gave their concert there with 12 thousand listeners present. In 1940 the wooden rafters of the suspended roofing were changed for the metallic ones. In 1957, after the regular reconstruction works had been completed, the Central Exhibition Hall with the total show space of 6500 square meters was opened in the Manege building and since then various exhibitions have been taking place there.

District: Downtown
Address: 1, Manezhnaya Sq., Moscow
Underground: Biblioteka named after Lenin

Church of Sergey of Radonezh

Church of Sergey of Radonezh

The gateway church of Sergey of Radonezh, designed by the order of archbishop Iona on the Vladychny Dvor in 1463, expresses the idea of peace, intimacy and spiritual unification with Moscow. For this reason Iona dedicated his home church to a Muscovite saint and chose the hagiography of Sergey of Radonezh as the chief subject of the wall painting. The destiny of the frescos is somewhat unusual. Before World War II they had been removed from the wall and stored in the museum. Today these miniature compositions, obviously created under the influence of iconography, have been returned to their original places

Next to the church rises a tall, almost forty-meter high pillar-like clock tower. The Chasozvonya, surmounted with kokoshniki and a small cupola, seems to tilt slightly, evoking associations with the Tower of Pisa. The main purpose of the Chasozvonya is reflected in its ancient name of the Storozhnya (Guard tower): its top platform was used for guarding the roads (in case of unexpected enemy attacks) and watching for fires (an important task since most of the old town buildings were made of wood). From the West the Chasozvonya is connected with constructions of the 17th century such as the Doukhovny (Spiritual) and the Sudny (Court) offices, and the Likhudov building. All of them have high wooden porches and richly decorated facades.

Novgorod the Great, Russia

Church of St. George the Victorious on Pskov Hill

Church of St. George the Victorious on Pskov Hill

The church of St. George the Victorious on Pskov hill was built in 1658 on the grounds of a 15h century church.

The Church was named afterdescendants from the old Russian city of Pskov who lived there. The gilded central dome of the church is surrounded by smaller blue domes decorated with gilded stars.

A bas vrelief decor of a brick facade, that was popular in Russia architecture in the second half of the 17th century, makes the building very picturesque.

A refectory west of the building is connected to the belfry built in a neo-gothic style in 1818.

Fragments of interesting wall paintings emerged from under plaster after restorers removed numerous layers added later that concealed original wall paintings. In the 1930s the church was closed, After restoration carried out in the 1970s the building was used for exhibition grounds of the all- Russia society for protection of monuments of culture and art.

At present, the Church of St. George on Pskov Hill belongs to the town house of the Patriarchy on the premises of Moscow China town.

District: Downtown
Address: 12, Varvarka St., Moscow
Underground: Kitay-gorod (Kaluzhsko-Rizhskoy linii)

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn The Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn with its militant dome, medium-sized belfry over the entrance, and later additions "in the Russian style" stands near the forti-fied wall and faces ruins of a tower (where the St. Varlaam Gates were once located). The stone church was built in 1485 by the city's stone wall. Before this there was a wooden church by a wooden wall, built in one day "as vowed" during the plague of 1466. The Zapskovye (Beyond Pskova) district where this church is situated is the part of the city located beyond the Pskova River, on its left bank at Sovetsky (Trinity) Bridge. A broad pan-orama of the Zapskovye area opens up from here. Directly opposite the bridge you can see the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian "on Prirnostye" (next to the bridge). The road leading across the bridge breaks into two at the corner of the mighty cube remaining from this church's belfry. The Church of the Epiphany stands to the right on the Pskova's high green bank. Bright and rounded, it seems to move out towards us on its large, multi-spanned belfry, accompanied by small side-chapels. Further to the right is the white cube of the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian "on Gremyachaya Hill". Behind it rises the grey, massive Gremyachaya Tower, the foot of which goes straight into the waters of the Pskova. This is the end of the ancient city. The Pskova River is the city's living soul. There is good reason for the city to be named after its smaller river, for the Pskova not only adds to the town's beauty, but also saved it during many wars: the constant water supply furnished by the Pskova to the fortress helped Pskov withstand many sieges. The Pskova's green banks with its cur-ves and steep hillocks would seem spe-cially designed for small separate build-ings with picturesque tops that seem to melt into the air. At the end of the 16th century the Pskova River banks within the city walls were covered with chur-ches. However, eight of them on the Pskova's left bank were "beheaded" by Peter the Great when he had them turned into bastions in preparation for the Northern War. One of these bastions - "Lapin Hill" - has been pre-served behind the Maltmakers' House. After crossing the bridge over the Pskova River, you find yourselves in Zapskovye. There's a lovely view of the Krom with Trinity Cathedral and the mouth of the Pskova with two restored towers on both banks. The Lower Gates which controlled the river's flow used to be located between these two towers.

Pskov, Russia

Epiphany Cathedral

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn

The cathedral is situated on the Yelokhovskaya square. In the 15-17th centuries there was a settlement of Yelokhovo situated on the site of the modern square that was mentioned in the ancient chronicles as a birthplace of St. Basil v an imbecile person who could perform miracles and was later cannonized. In the 18th century the settlement of Yelokhovo became part of Moscow. A first ever church made of stone was built there with the assistance of Russian tsar Peter the Great in 1722-1732. At the end of the 18th century a dining room and a belfry was connected to the church.

A first tier of the belfry and the dining room as well as bells have survived to the present day. A big bell that cracked in 1900 was replaced by a new bell.

In 1835, on the initiative of rich parishioners a decision was made to build a new Epithany cathedral on the site of the old church.

The new cathedral was built to the design of architect Tyurin in 1935-1845. The magnificent cathedral with entrances shaped as triumphant arches and a dome that resembled that of St. Peter cathedral in Rome. The Epithany cathedral is one of the latest monuments of late classicism in Russia. In 1852, the cathedral was decorated in the Greek style, and later, an attic and a cupola were built to crown the dining room, new frescoes were created and all of the church belongings were renewed.

One of the main attractions is a list representing the power of the icon of the Godmother of Kazan that helped liberate Russia from Polish invaders in 1612. The Epithany cathedral has a number of other precious icons and the relics of Metropolian Alexy, that had earlier been kept at the Chudov monastery and later moved to the Archangel cathedral in the Kremlin. In 1930-1992 ,the Epithany cathedral had been the cathedral of the Russian patriarch.

District: Downtown
Address: 15, Elokhovskaya Sq., Moscow
Underground: Baumanskaya

Gostiny dvor

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn Gostiny Dvor was built on the place of the original Old Gostiny Dvor was located from the beginning of the XVII century. An outstanding Petersburg architect J. Kvarengy (an Italian by birth) designed the complex in 1789.

Moscow architects S. A. Karin and I. A. Selekhov converted that project into a fact. They also adjusted the architecture of the building to the peculiarities of the relief of the plot.

The author of the Bolshoi Theater I. O. Bove took part at the final stages of constructing the building. The huge trade centre formed in the plan an improper quadrangle with rounded corners and a large yard for loading the goods.

The building consists of narrow shops stretched from the yard to the street. The walls of the complex are decorated with Corinthian order with a simplified cornice and a two-storeyed arcade.

The columns in the yard are substituted for pilasters. Kvarengy designed the building in Petersburg and had no exact data about the relief of the plot at his disposal.

That fact adversely affected the overfall in the plinth of the construction and that aroused some of difficulties. Walls and columns are plastered and coated with two colours. After 1917 a number of different casual offices occupied the centre. They caused great damage to the beautiful building. At present an authorized team from Mosproject-2 headed by V. Kuzmin began the restoration of the original appearance of the building

District: Downtown
Address: 4, Ilinka St., Moscow
Underground: Kitay-gorod (Kaluzhsko-Rizhskoy linii)

High-rise buildings

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS As a rule, those buildings that have more than 26 stories are called high-rises. In the history of the Moscow architecture this term has been usually applied to seven high-rise buildings having 26-32 stories. They were built in the late 1940s - early 1950s under the uniform town-planning design approved by the special decree of the USSR Council of Ministers (1947). They are: 1. The M.Lomonosov Moscow State University; 2. The USSR Ministry of foreign affairs and Ministry of Foreign trade on Smolenskaya square; 3. The administrative and apartment edifice on former Lermontovskaya square (now Krasnie Vorota square); 4. The Leningradskaya hotel 5. The Ukraine hotel; 6. The apartment building on Vosstania square 7. The apartment building on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment.

All these buildings have a common composition design. They are of the same single stepped configuration, are tiled with natural or man-made stones and decorated with monumental sculpture groupings.

The high-rise buildings are open to observation from afar and play an extremely important role for orientation. Complex skeleton reinforced concrete and steel structures were used for their construction.

Moscow's eight high-rise buildings (one of them was not completed) should have enriched the previous architectural styles, determined the city's supporting spots and accentuated its vertical marks.

Many churches and bell towers were destroyed during Moscow's reconstruction in the 1930s. Also at that time there appeared various many-storied buildings and the city's profile was dramatically changed. Moscow was risking to lose one of its traditional peculiarities. It was hoped that along with creating high-rises' belt the tradition of the ancient Russian architecture - the dominating position of Moscow's legendary gleaming church cupolas in the city landscape - would be revived. Especially important and prestigious sites were chosen for constructing high-rise buildings so as to establish the system of new starting points in the heart of the city. Though they were to be connected with its historic center.

Stylistically all high-rise buildings demonstrate an apparent return to the architecture of the 1930s.

If the weather is good, at least four of them can be seen from the observation post on Vorobjovy Hills from where the whole city is in full view.

There were quite a few architects who designed the high-rises. But the plan to position them in Moscow was worked out by D.N.Tchechulin who also designed one of them - on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment and who was Moscow's chief architect from 1951 till 1960.

Tchechulin's high-rises like church bell towers never stand in the line of streets and prospects, but they are always somewhere behind houses. They rival American skyscrapers. However, judging from Moscow's plan it is obvious that they in fact turned the city into one huge megaKremlin becoming its towers. The Moscow State University building looks like a bell tower placed down the river as was the case with ancient monasteries. The high-rises represent a synthesis of gigantism in the classicism and Old Russian architectural and planning decisions. Construction works on the eighth high-rise ? Palace of Soviets ? were never completed, later the Moskva Swimming pool was built on its foundation and just recently Temple of Christ, the Savior, was restored. Palace of Soviets should have dominated the city because there were plans to crown this colossus with the gigantic stature of Stalin.

During these same years two more buildings reminiscent of Moscow's high-rises were constructed in Riga (the Latvian Academy of Sciences) and Warsaw (Palace of Culture and Science).

In the 1960s-1980s high-storied buildings kept appearing in the city and many of them are much higher than those old high-rises. But the new ones are totally different (take, for example, modernist and postmodernist boxes of the Intourist and Kosmos hotels, the buildings of the Council for Mutual Economic Aid, Gidroproekt, Izmailovo tourist complex, House of Tourists and others)

However, in the 1990s the city witnessed and is still witnessing construction of new buildings that by their stylistics and symmetry of stepped configurations copy the old high-rises. The similarity is not that striking when the exterior is made of glass and metal (the GAZPROM building) but it becomes evident in the architecture of apartment buildings on Mozhaiskoe highway and New Arbat, in Kuntsevo, on Dolgorukovskaya street, Vernadskiy prospect and of the Scarlet Sails residential complex on the bank of the Moscow River. The Moscow-City complex on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment is still under construction. Its central tower will be 115 meters high.

The attitude towards 'Stalin's hillocks' was never simple. But right now it can already be said with confidence that exactly those high-rises were determining the capital's appearance in the second half of the 20th century.


The M.Lomonosov Moscow State University is the most significant high-rise building in the city. This is a grand symmetrical complex consisting of multi-tiered, 36-storey tower (its height is 240 meters) crowned with the 58 meter high spire. There is a star on the end of the spire with ears of 9 meters in diameter. The star is covered by yellow glass with aluminum amalgam. The tower is adjoined by lower buildings (15-18 stories).


The 29-storied Ukraine hotel is 170 meters high. It is located in the very advantageous place, near the steepest curve of the Moscow River where it is crossed by the New Arbat-Kutuzovskiy prospect highway. That is why the building is perceived as one of the main points of Moscow. The hotel itself is located in the central building and the side ones with 8 and 10 stories are meant for residential apartments.


This high-rise consists of the central 22-storied, 156 meter high building and 18-storied side ones with 452 apartments. The side buildings form a harmonic connection with the surrounding structures. The first floor is occupied by numerous food stores ( the Gastronom store was the largest one in Moscow when the building was completed) and the Plamya movie theater.


A method of construction work organization essentially different from those used when constructing previous high-rises was applied in this instance. First, a metallic skeleton as big as the building's height was constructed and after that the rest was done. The Ministry building is distinguished by the rich interior coating made of natural marble and granite. The coating also has wooden panels of oak and Karelian birch.


The Leningradskaya hotel is a 26-storied building (its height is 136 meters) that structurally contains some features of the Russian architecture of the 18th century. In contrast with primarily classical forms of other high-rises, the stylistics of the hotel reminds of the 'Narishkin style' structures. This is manifested most visibly by its interiors. In the front vestibule the attention is drawn to Moscow's Emblem of St.Georgiy, the Victorious, the gorgeous decorative grate copying the ornament of the Kremlin's 'golden grate' and chandeliers reminiscent of church-chandeliers. This use of images and forms of the national architecture is typical for the postwar years imbued with the pathos of the people's victory.


The 24-storied administrative and residential edifice near Krasnie Vorota (Red Gates) square consists of the central building (the Ministry of transport engineering) crowned with the star-topped spire and two apartment ones with a different number of storeys. Before there was a house on this site. That is where Mikhail Lermontov was born. There is poet's monument beside the building. The vestibule of the Krasnie Vorota subway station is in the left wing that opens on Kalantchevskaya street. The edifice is located in the highest place of the Sadovoe beltway. It has a impressive tiered structure. Its architectural style gravitates towards the Russian and Ukrainian baroque.


The 32-storied building on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment near the junction of the Moscow River and the Yauza River totally dominates the area. The building is a starting point for all streets leading down to the river and it rivals the Kremlin. The building's height is 176 meters and its lower storeys forming the extensive socle are coated with splintered and polished red granite. The building's heavy decor consists of statues and cogged towers.

Like many other high-rise structures in Moscow the building on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment is used for watching weather. The wind's direction and speed are determined here.


Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn Location: Saint Petersburg
Universitetskaya emb., 3
Open: Tue - Sun from 11a.m. to 4:30p.m.

The building of the Kunstkammer (The Chamber of Curiosities) was designed for the library and the oldest Russian museum founded by Peter I in 1714 and based on his private collections brought from his European travels. Originally the museum was housed in Kikin's Chambers. Later the Kunstkammer moved into a building especially designed for it.

The story of the construction was rather complicated. It involved many outstanding architects of the 18th century (M.Zemtsov, G.Mattamovi, N.Herbel, G.Chiaveri; rebuilt in 1754 - 58, architect S.Chevakirisky). The building consists of two three-story wings designed in Baroque style and joined into a single whole by the central volume topped with a multi-tier tower. One of the wings housed a library, the other one held the museum collections. The central part housed an anatomical theatre. The tower accommodated the first Russian observatory.

Owing to its size and the tall tower the Kunstkammer building plays a major part in the ensemble of the city center. It houses the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnograthy, Lomonosov's Memorial Museum, the Institute of Ethnology and Ethnic Anthropology.

Lenin Mausoleum

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn

The Lenin Mausoleum is a classic work of Soviet architecture. Its architect, A.Shchusev, employed a simple and expressive design in the form of a monumental edifice, faced in dark red granite and black labradorite, which embodies, as it were, the grief of the people and the power of Lenin's eternal teaching.

The Mausoleum occupies a key position in the composition of the whole square. The Soviet architects made skilful use of various artistic devices to emphasize the exceptional role of the Mausoleum in the ensemble.

Lenin died on 21 January, 1924, and the whole country went into deep mourning.

In response to numerous requests to the government not to commit the body of the leader of the Revolution to the earth, it was decided to build a Mausoleum-burial vault by the Kremlin wall. The task of designing the Mausoleum was entrusted to the talented architect Alexei Shchusev. In his search for forms Shchusev turned to the ancient tradition of the memorial edifice in the shape of a pyramid. He studied the Pyramid of Caestius in Rome, the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, the famous tombs on the Via Appia between Rome and Capua, the mastabas and pyramids in Egypt and the burial towers of Palmyra and Petra. He only studied these famous monuments, however, but did not copy any of them in the composition of the Mausoleum. The ground plan of the building was marked out in Red Square by the Senate Tower, where a stone platform stood. Then they set about digging the foundation pit. The work was made difficult by the extreme cold which froze the ground. Crow-bars and pickaxes were not strong enough, so a team of sappers carried out a series of controlled explosions. By dawn on 26 January the pit was ready. At the same time the carcase of the Mausoleum had been built in the square. They worked both day and night, with the help of floodlights. Many volunteers helped to erect the Mausoleum. They included not only citizens of the USSR, but also emigre revolutionaries: Hungarians, Poles, Finns and Austrians. On 27 January the temporary wooden Mausoleum was ready. It consisted of a cube about three metres high made of horizontal layers of beams covered with planks and topped by a three-sided pyramid. Under the cube was the Hall of Mourning which was sunk into the ground, and on either side were rectangular sections over the staircases of the entrance and exit. The Mausoleum was painted dark grey with black boards at the corners which created the impression of a black frame. On the facade was a relief inscription of LENIN in black letters. After the funeral the urgent question arose of the further immortalization of Lenin's memory. In spite of the fact that more than 100,000 people had visited the Mausoleum in six weeks, there were still millions more who wished to pay their last respects to the great man. So the Governmental Commission passed a resolution on the building of a permanent tomb and the embalming of Lenin's body. During the discussion on what the tomb should be like, the ideas of erecting a palatial type of building and monumental sculptural monuments were rejected. The designing of the second Mausoleum was also entrusted to Shchusev. The architect presented his design to the Governmental Commission in March 1924. The dimensions of the new Mausoleum (also made of wood) were much larger. The tripartite composition was replaced by a single section, which included a burial vault and tribune. This laconic design required different colouring. The architect chose a combination of light brown and black, close to the colours of the Revolution and mourning, which harmonized with the background of the Kremlin walls. This wooden Mausoleum was opened on 1 August, 1924. In 1929 the government decided to build a stone Mausoleum. Shchusev, who also drew up the third design, travelled round many quarries in the Soviet Union and selected the finest types of stone: marble, porphyry, granite and la-bradorite. The largest block of black labradorite was from the Golovinsky quarry in the Ukraine.

The whole country took part in the building of the Mausoleum. Each republic sent its finest specimens of facing material. The work took less than eighteen months. Construction was completed in October 1930. Red Square was reconstructed at the same time. The tramway lines were removed, the statue of Minin and Pozharsky wa shifted next to the Intercession Cathedral, and the whole square was re-paved. The Kremlin walls and towers were restored, the communal graves on either side of the Mausoleum were re-planned, and visitors' stands with a seating capacity of 10,000 were built along the Kremlin wall. The architecture of the Mausoleum is void of ornament and deliberately plain. On a powerful base rises a tiered pyramid, which is crowned by a massive slab resting on thirty-six columns. Over the main entrance portal is a block of black stone inscribed with one word in red polished granite: LENIN. On either side of the entrance are flights of steps leading up to the governmental tribune. In the granite square round the Mausoleum are four lawns planted with blue spruce. Stands for guests run along the Kremlin walls.

Shchusev worked on the interior in collaboration with the artist I. Nivinsky, who had designed the interior of the temporary Mausoleum as well. On the wall is a granite bas-relief of the emblem of the Soviet Union. Two flights of steps lead to the Hall of Mourning in the shape of a cube, the symbol of eternity. The hall has a tiered ceiling which repeats the form of a pyramid, as it were. Its walls are red and black: at regular intervals are pilasters of red quartzite on a black background of polished la bradorite. In the centre of the hall on a pedestal lies the coffin containing Lenin's body. Over it is a crystal sarcophagus. A guard of honour stands motionless by the entrance to the Mausoleum. It changes every hour to the sounds of the Kremlin Chimes. The guards march from the building by the Saviour Gate, taking exactly 2 minutes 45 seconds each time. Behind the Mausoleum, by the Kremlin wall, is the Revolution Necropolis. Here are the graves with tombstones and busts of Lenin's associates, and figures in the Communist Party and the Soviet state. On either side of these burials are communal graves where the heroes who perished in the fighting for the Revolution and the establishment of Soviet power are buried. Behind the black slabs set in the Kremlin wall are urns with the ashes of eminent members and statesmen, writers, scholars, generals, hero-pilots, stratosphere fliers and cosmonauts.

Menshikov Palace

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn Date of creation: 1710 - 1720.
Architect D.Fontana. Rebuilt by G.Schadel
Material: brick, white stone, plaster

Location: Saint Petersburg
Universitetskaya emb., 15
Open: Tue-Sun from 10a.m. to 4p.m.

The Palace of Peter's associate A.Menshikov is not only the oldest, but also one of the largest stone buildings in Petersburg. Originally the palace comprised the main building facing Neva and two wings bounding a small courtyard. On the large territory attached to the palace a regular park was laid out with fountains, sculptures and a grotto in it; a pier was arranged on the Neva side.

The three-story palace was designed in the style of Peter's period (it has high fractured roof, pilasters arranged story-wise provided with carved stone capitels, blank lintels, two-colored walls, etc.) and stood out for the lavishness of interior decoration.

It was here that famous Peter's "assemblies" took place. Russian military victories were celebrated there, as well as foreign embassadors and overseas guests were received there too. Later, throughout the 18th century, the palace underwent several reconstructions. Recently, following continuous restoration works, the building has assumed its original early 1 Bth-century appearance.

At present an exposition is open there dealing with Russian culture of the 1700 - 1730s. Now the palace is a branch of the Hermitage.

Mirozhsky Monastery

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn Mirozhka Stream ripples across the pebbles, splashes and murmurs along its way. Even the Pskova River is not very large but the Mirozhka is very small indeed. True, it is dammed up in two places. Behind the larger dam there is a pond where fishermen gather in winter. When the Mirozhka grows shal-low in the summer, ducks splash about in it - not domestic ducks, but wild ones. Some even stay on through the winter. No one disturbs them: on the contrary, people feed them. The stream freezes over only briefly and then the ducks fly away to the Velikaya River rapids. In the winter of 1979-1980 nearly one hundred and fifty wild ducks stayed behind on Mirozhka Stream. This natural phe-nomenon has been accepted, just as it is accepted that Our Saviour "on the Mirozhka", a 12th-century church with marvellous murals, stands at the point where the Mirozhka flows into the Velikaya. This church is part of the Pskov museum-preserve. It takes us into a world of heroic and lofty beauty. The traditional view of Mirozhsky Monastery is either from Intercession Tower in the Outer City, from which we can see a squat church with a massive dome and a large sanctuary apse extending out toward the river through a white fence; or from the Krom, from the Velikaya embankment and bridge. From here we can see the elongated parallelepiped of the church above the gates facing the city. This smaller church shields the cathedral like a screen and conceals the road that passes through the arched gates. The cathedral's powerful dome is visible, but it seems to belong to the long building above which the square bell-tower stands to the right of the gates. Mirozhsky Monastery existed as early as the 11th century. Prince Svyatopolk of Kiev is mentioned in its thanksgiving list. In 1015 this prince killed his broth-ers, Boris and Gleb, in order to take power for himself, and as a result he was excommunicated by the Church. The entry about him in the monastery book could only have been made before this date. It was discovered by the founder of the Ancient Manuscripts division of the Pskov State Museum, Leonid Tvorogov.
We can only assume, therefore, that in 1015 Mirozhsky Monastery already existed. The stone Church of the Trans-figuration was built in 1156 at the in-itiation of Bishop Nifont of Novgorod. In its early period Mirozhsky Monas-tery was the focus of Pskov's culture - the centre for its chronicle-writing. At the end of the 13th century "Esif's Message to the Children" was written there. It argued against the pilgrimages which were so frequent at the time. The author of this work urged people to seek salvation in constructive work. The chronicle calls Iosif (or Esif), "a presbyter", which means a priest dis-tinguished for his scholarly work or other merits. Leonid Tvorogov has advanced the hypothesis that the most outstanding work of old Russian literature, The Lay of the Warfare Waged by lgor, which contains vocabulary and expressions typical of Pskov, was brought to Pskov by pilgrims from Kiev and rewritten in Mirozhsky Monastery either by Iosif or for Iosif. (At the turn of the 16th century it was rewritten again in the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Yelizarius in Pskov, after which it was taken to Yaroslavl's Monastery of Our Saviour in the reign of Ivan the Ter-rible. Two centuries later it was brought to Moscow by a noted collec-tor of Russian antiquities, Alexei Musin-Pushkin.) Located on the path to the city, on the city's undefended side and without any fortified walls, Mirozhsky Monastery was an easy prey for enemies on their way to Pskov. The chronicle tells us that in the winter of 1299 the Livonians sud-denly seized the settlement, killing among others Mirozhsky Monastery's Father Superior - the famous "pres-byter" Iosif. In 1323 the monastery was again attacked by the Livonians, who won all of Zavelichye. In 1581, Stephen Bathory set up a powerful battery at the monastery during the siege of Pskov. A cannon was hauled up to the church's belfry to fire red-hot cannonballs at the city. In 1615 Zavelichye was occupied by the Swedes, who sacked neighbouring St. Clement Monastery.

Between in-vasions, Muscovite or Novgorodian troops were garrisoned here. Muscovite troops were stationed in the monastery in 1463 and 1471, Novgorodian troops in 1474, and in 1668 Pskov troops were positioned here. Prince Aved of Pskov and Prince Evstafy of Izborsk, who saved Pskov in 1323, are both buried in the walls of Mirozhsky Monastery. Pskov's defender and beloved prince, Dovmont, made donations to the monastery. In the Icon division of the Pskov State Museum visitors can see the Orante Mother of God from Mirozhsky Monastery painted in the 13th century. It shows Dovmont with his wife, Maria, granddaughter of Alexan-der Nevsky, famous for his defeat of the German knights in the Battle on the Ice. From time immemorial until very re-cently the road from Pskov to Mirozhsky Monastery lay over the Velikaya River between the churches of St. George "on the Vzvoz" and St. Clement. When one approaches it this way the monastery ensemble could be seen as envisaged by the architects who built it, i.e. with all the might of its main build-ing, the Cathedral of the Trans-figuration. The church's north wall, fac-ing the main gates, spreads out to the right and is strengthened by the breadth and mass of the belfry. Once there was a tower-like belfry in its place, but it was apparently destroyed in the time of Ste-phen Bathory. The traveller had to go around it to reach the cathedral. Now that a new bridge spans the Velikaya, we can enter the monastery from its south side, passing through what was previously its "service" gate. A park has been planted between the bridge and the monastery's wall. During the monastery's patronal feast a large and noisy fair was held here with bears and monkeys to entertain the public. The Mirozhsky Transfiguration Cathedral creates such a powerful im-pression of wholeness, strength, and scope, yet at the same time simplicity and clarity, that there is hardly any equal to it in the entire existing heritage of Old Rus. Yet it is very simple: the chapel's triple arch occupies the full breadth of the cathedral and reaches midway to its top.

Above the entranceway there is a half-effaced, softly glowing mural paint-ed on the white wall of the central arch-way. Above the vestibule rises the mighty wall of the central cube with the double outline of the large arch in the middle of the wall. A large cornice arcature circles the top of the broad drum. The enormous dome is copper-covered. The mighty belfry bounding the vesti-bule on the north is broad and heavy. The Mirozhsky Cathedral - magnifi-cent and unique - was the result of a creative effort by many generations. It is constructed of limestone slabs with rows of flat bricks forming arches around the windows and doors. Ground brick was added to the mixture cement-ing the slabs together, giving the church a rosy tint. Inside the church today there is a small-scale model showing the original architectural design of the edifice. The whole interior, excluding the vestibule, is decorated with murals and is entirely subordinated to the enormous upside-down cup of the dome, which seems even larger inside. Everything else was created for the cupola, and that is why the mural adorning its inside surface shows angels bearing a sphere with Christ on their outspread hands.

Pskov, Russia

Moscow Univercity

Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn The Moscow University, the most famous building on Mokhovaya Street and Russia-s best educational institution, is located opposite to the Manege. The University-s construction was initiated by Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov.

On January 12(or January 25 by the Julian calendar) 1755, when the Day of St. Tatiana the Martyr was marked, count I. Shuvalov submitted a petition to Empress Elizaveta Petrovna asking to found the Moscow University. The Order was signed on that same day. So, this was the way that the Tatiana-s Day, the most celebrated holiday of Moscow-s studentry, was inThe classicism-style building was built in 1783 under the project of M. Kazakov, the leading Russian architect of that time. The front hall with its portico was located in the main building and the wing structures contained a library as well as a mineralogical museum.

Following Moscow-s fire of 1812 (which resulted in destructing the library of the rarest books, museum collections and archives) the building was restored and reconstructed by D. Zhilyardi in the empire style. In the 1920s Moscow-s chief architect O. Bove regarded the building on Mokhovaya Street precisely as a composition center of all Manege Square. The University-s printing-house was the birthplace of the Russian book-publishing. For over100 years the library had been the only library accessible to everyone in the city and a local newspaper was the first non-government means of mass media in the country.Russia-s men of the greatest intellect received their education at the Moscow University.

Its first graduates in the 18th century included famous architect Bazhenov and author Fonvizin. Among students in the next century were Hertzen and Belinsky, Lermontov and Turgenev, historians Soloviev and Klyuchevsky, In the late 19th-early 20th centuries the Moscow University was attended by such outstanding thinkers as Vladimir Soloviev, Rozanov, Bulgakov and Florensky as well as prominent scientists Stoletov, Lebedev, Sechenov, Timiryazev, Vernadsky and many others. Since 1922 there have been statues of Hertzen and Ogarev installed in the University-s yard as if to personify the whole generation of the best representatives of the Russian science and culture.

After the Great October Revolution the University received the state status and was titled the Moscow State University. In 1940 it was named after Mikhail Lomonosov. In the 1970s all the departments of the University (except two of them) being located there moved to new buildings of the Moscow State University on the Lenin Hills.

District: Downtown
Address: 11, Mokhovaya St., Moscow
Underground: Borovitskaya

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