Sights in Moscow Metro

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Kitai-Gorod literally translates into English as China-town but you will be mistaken to think this is where Moscow’s Chinese population lives.  In fact there are several theories as to why the area is called Kitai-Gorod but none of them have any link with China.  Located to the east of the Kremlin and Red Square, originally Kitai-Gorod grew as a ‘posad’ – a settled area next to a kremlin or monastery – and was surrounded by the Kitai-Gorod Walls which no longer exist.  The outer boundary of Kitai-Gorod runs approximately around Lubyansky Proezd and Lubyanskaya Ploschad from where the Tagansky District and Basmanny District start.  The area is served by the Lubyanka (red line) and Kitai-Gorod (orange and purple lines) metro stations.

Around Lubyanskaya Ploschad and Novaya Ploschad

Lubyanka FSB Building

  • Lubyanskaya Ploschad
  • Lubyanka

The large orange and yellow neo-baroque building on Lubyanskaya Ploschad is the infamous Lubyanka building which has been home to the various incarnations of the Soviet and Russian security services. The building dates from the end of the 19th century and was originally used as the headquarters of an insurance company. This all changed after the Revolution when it became the headquarters of the Cheka, the feared secret police, later known as the NKVD and more famously as the KGB… Read more »

Memorial to the Victims of Political Repression

  • Lubyanskaya Ploschad
  • Lubyanka

In 1991 in the small park off Lubyanskaya Ploschad a memorial was unveiled to the victims of political repression. The memorial consists of a boulder which was especially shipped from the Solovetsky Islands. The choice was symbolic as the very first Soviet prison camp was established on the islands in 1919 and from this experience the vast Gulag network of camps was set up. Symbolic as it is, it is nevertheless a rather underwhelming memorial to the millions of victims. ►sights… Read more »

Polytechnical Museum

  • 3/4 Novaya Ploschad
  • Lubyanka, Kitai-Gorod
  • Lubyanka, Kitai-Gorod
  • 10:00 - 18:00. Closed on Mondays and the last Friday of the month.

Moscow's Polytechnic Museum is one of the oldest museums in Russia having been established in 1872. It is located in the grand building which was built between 1875 and 1907 and which takes up most of Novaya Ploschad. The museum is dedicated to technological and scientific progress and its four floors are filled with exhibitions on themes including: chemistry, mining, metallurgy, telecommunications, energy, meteorology, optics, cosmonautics, automations and time recording. In… Read more »

St George's Church in Luchniki

  • 11 Lubyansky Proezd
  • Lubyanka, Kitai-Gorod

St George's Church on Lubyansky Proezd gets its additional name - Luchniki - as historically arrow makers settled in this area (luki meaning bow and luchnik meaning archer). A church dedicated to St George is known to have existed here since at least 1490. The current version was built between 1692 and 1694. In 1932 the church was closed and subsequently used as accommodation for the NKVD (a forerunner of the KGB). It was returned to the Orthodox Church in 1993. ►sights by… Read more »

St John the Apostle's Church under the Elm

  • 12 Novaya Ploschad
  • Lubyanka, Kitai-Gorod

The St John the Apostle's Church gets its additional name of under the Elm ("pod vyazom") due to the fact that a great elm tree stood here up to the time of Catherine the Great. The current church was built between 1825 and 1837 in the empire style, completed with a round tower and a façade decorated with columns. The church was closed in 1925 and subsequently used to house the Moscow History Museum. The building was only returned to the Orthodox Church in 2011. ►sights by… Read more »

Vladimir Mayakovsky Museum

  • 3/6c4 Lubyansky Proezd
  • Lubyanka
  • http://www.mayakovsky.info/
  • Closed for reconstruction until 2015

The Vladimir Mayakovsky Museum was founded in 1974 in the courtyard of the building where the great Soviet poet lived from 1919 until 1930 when he committed suicide there.  The museum has preserved the room where Mayakovsky lived as a memorial and incorporated the fund of another museum which was opened in 1937. The museum has displays on the poet's work and on his personal life. Between 1987 and 1989 the museum underwent a drastic renovation which was widely applauded as breaking… Read more »

Around Staraya Ploschad

All-Saints Church in Kulishki

  • 2 Slavyanskaya Ploschad
  • Kitai-Gorod
  • http://podvorie-alexandria.ru/

The first All-Saints Church was founded in 1380 in memory of soldiers killed at the Battle of Kulikovo Field. The current church was built between 1687 and 1689 in the Naryshkin baroque style, completed with an elaborately decorated bell tower. In 1930 the church was closed and transferred to the Moscow History Museum in 1975, before being returned to the Orthodox Church in 1991. Since 1998 the church has been the podvorye (embassy church) of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria… Read more »

Conception of Anna Church on the Corner

  • 3 Moskvoretskaya Naberezhnaya
  • Kitai-Gorod

The Conception of Anna Church which is known the church 'on the corner' as it is located on the corner of Kitaigorodsky Proezd and Moskvoretskaya Naberezhnaya near the Moskva River in Zaryadye. It was built sometime in the first half of the 16th century, replacing an earlier wooden version which was first mentioned in 1493. The church has been renovated many times since including in the mid-18th century, the 19th century and more recently. In the 1920s the church was closed but… Read more »

Kitai-Gorod Walls

  • Kitaigorodsky Proezd

Running along the southern part of Kitaigorodsky Proezd is a reconstruction of part of the Kitai-Gorod Walls which once encircled the whole of Kitai-Gorod.  The original walls were built on the orders of Yelena Glinskaya, the mother and regent of Ivan the Terrible, between 1535 and 1538 to protect Moscow from Crimea Tatar raids.  The walls were 2,567km in length and although shorter than the walls of the Kremlin they were thicker.  By the 18th century the walls had lost their… Read more »

Plevna Memorial Chapel

  • Ilinsky Gardens
  • Kitai-Gorod

At the top of the Ilinsky Gardens on Ploschad Ilinskie Vorota is the Plevna Memorial Chapel. The small chapel was opened in 1887 in memory of the Russian Grenadiers who died during the Siege of Plevna in 1877 which was part of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.  During the siege the forces of the Ottoman Empire managed to hold Plevna (now Pleven in modern day Bulgaria) for almost five months, but the city finally fell to the much bigger forces of Russia and Romania. ►sights by… Read more »

Ss Cyril and Methodius Monument

  • Ilinsky Gardens
  • Kitai-Gorod

Situated between Slavyanskaya Ploschad (Slavic Square) and Ploschad Ilinskie Vorota (Ilinskie Gates Square) are the Ilinsky Gardens. At the southern end of the gardens on Slavyanskaya Ploschad (Slavic Square) is a statue of Ss Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the Slavs and created the Cyrillic alphabet in the process. The statue was unveiled in 1992 and is the work of the sculptor Vyacheslav Vlykov. ►sights by districts  ►sights in Kitai-Gorod Read more »

Trinity Church in Nikitniki

  • 3 Nikitnikov Pereulok
  • Kitai-Gorod
  • http://www.nikitniki.ru/

Hidden out of view among the government buildings on Staraya Ploschad is the Trinity Church in Nikitniki, which is a stunningly beautiful example of the architectural style known as Moscow Uzorochie - a Russian type of elaborate baroque. The present-day version of the church was built between 1631 and 1634. In 1920 the church was closed and transferred to the State Historical Museum, which used it as a museum of the icon painter Simon Ushakov and then of ancient painting. In 1991… Read more »

Around Ulitsa Varvarka

English Court Museum

  • 4A Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod
  • http://www.mosmuseum.ru/museum-menu-english-dvor.html
  • 10:00 - 18:00 (Thursdays: 13:00 - 21:00). Closed on Mondays and the last Friday of the month.

The late-15th century white stone building on Ulitsa Varvarka was once home to the first English embassy in Russia which was established during the time of Queen Elizabeth I and Tsar Ivan the Terrible. The museum was opened in 1994 by none other than Queen Elizabeth II on her state visit to Russia. Inside it has exhibits on the history of English-Russian diplomatic relations and trade and has been restored to how it would have looked, including a large table for signing agreements… Read more »

Nativity of St John the Baptist Church at St Babara's Gates

  • 15c2 Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod

Located at the end of Ulitsa Varvarka on Staraya Ploschad is the Nativity of St John the Baptist Church at St Babara's (Varvarskie) Gates which has not been preserved as well as its neighbours. The current version of the church dates from 1741 and was built to replace an earlier stone church which stood here. After the Revolution the church was closed in 1920 and turned into accommodation in 1958. In the process most of its exterior church features were removed. In 1991 the… Read more »

Our Lady of the Sign Cathedral

  • 8 Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod
  • http://varvarkahram.blogspot.co.uk/

The beautiful Our Lady of the Sign Cathedral was once the main cathedral of the Znamensky Monastery which was founded in 1629-1631 by Tsar Michael on the location of what was once his family's estate. The two-story five-domed cathedral was built between 1679 and 1684. After the secularisation of 1764 the monastery started to decline in status although this was eventually reversed by the end of the century. In 1812 it was sacked by French Troops but subsequent restored by 1827. In… Read more »

Romanov Chambers at Zaryadye Museum

  • 10 Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod
  • http://www.shm.ru/information_filialy_palzar.html
  • 10:00 - 18:00 (Wednesdays: 11:00 - 19:00). Closed on Tuesdays and the last Monday of the month.

The Romanov Chambers at Zaryadye date from the 16th century and Mikhail Romanov, the first Romanov Tsar, was born here. In 1856 Emperor Alexander II ordered that the ancestral estate of his dynasty be restored and in 1859 it was opened as a museum. It remains open as a museum today, having survived the Soviet period as a museum of ancient Russian life. The chambers are divided into men's and women's sections and its interiors are beautifully decorated in the original style. In… Read more »

St Barbara's Church on Varvarka

  • 2 Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod

Ulitsa Varvarka gets its name from St Barbara's Church located at the beginning of the street (Barbara is Varvara in Russian). The first church dedicated to St Barbara was built here in 1514 by Aloisio the New (Aleviz Fryazin) the Italian architect who was responsible for Archangel Michael's Cathedral in the Kremlin. However the present day version was built between 1796 and 1801 by the architect Rodion Kazakov in the classical style. In the 1920s the church was closed, although… Read more »

St George's Church on Pskovskaya Hill

  • 12 Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod

The version of St George's Church which stands on Pskovskaya Hill today was constructed between 1657 and 1658, although older versions stood here since at least the mid-13th century. The church was damaged during the fire of 1812 and was restored in 1818 when a new refectory and bell tower were added. The new additions were built in the Russian gothic style, which greatly contrasts with the traditional style of the original part of the church. The church was closed in the 1930s and… Read more »

St Maksim the Blessed's Church on Varvarka

  • 4 Ulitsa Varvarka
  • Kitai-Gorod

This church is dedicated to St Maksim the Blessed who was buried on Ulitsa Varvarka in 1434. Maksim was canonised in 1547 and this church was built in his honour between in the mid-16th century. However this church was badly damaged in 1676 and was subsequently restored between 1698 and 1699 and had new additions built on. Between 1827 and 1829 its bell tower was replaced with a new one in the empire style. In the 1930s the church was closed and left to fall into disrepair. It was… Read more »

St Nicholas 'Krasny Zvon' Church

  • 9Ac1 Nikolsky Pereulok
  • Kitai-Gorod

Just a little up Nikolsky Pereulok, is St Nicholas 'Krasny Zvon' Church. The church got its unusual name of 'Krasny Zvon', which can be translated as 'beautiful ringing', due to its bells. The first stone church was originally built in 1561 but substantially rebuilt in 1626 after a fire. In 1858 the surviving version of the church was built on the site of the original. In 1927 the church was closed and only reopened in 1996. ►sights by districts  ►sights in Kitai-Gorod Read more »