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Nikolskaya Street in Moscow
August 24, 2018 10:49

Nikolskaya Street in Moscow  is one of the oldest in the capital. It is located between two squares - Red Square and  Lubyanskaya Square.

Until the times of the Tatar-Mongol yoke, Nikolskaya Street existed as part of the Great Vladimir Road, which connected Moscow with the ancient Russian cities of Suzdal, Vladimir, and also Rostov the Great.

1292 was the time of establishment  of the Epiphany Monastery on this important path. The erected walls of the Kitay-Gorod in 1534-1538 separated Nikolskaya from Bolshaya Lubyanka and Sretenka. 

Nikolskaya Street - the origin of the name

Based on the chronicles, the first name of the street was Sretenskaya (from the Sretensky Monastery located here). In the 16th century, the street was renamed to Nikolskaya. The name is associated with the monastery of St. Nicholas the Old at the beginning of the street, built on the Vladimir tract back in 1390. 

History and sights of Nikolskaya street

The Story of Nikolskaya Street
Before the formation of the Red Square, the Nikolsky Gates of the ancient Kremlin were considered the beginning of the Nikolskaya Street. Then it stretched to the Kitay-Gorod walls, the Nikolsky Gates, later renamed to the Vladimir Gates. The events of 1708 led to the fact that expecting  the siege of Moscow by the troops of Charles XII, the townspeople were forced to lay the Vladimir gates on Nikolskaya street and build defensive bastions in front of them. For the passage from Kitay-Gorod, new  gates of the fortress wall were built in the area of the Small Cherkassky Lane. 

Unlike the business-like Ilinka Street and the trade-like Varvarka, Nikolskaya Street was formed as a corner of spirituality and enlightenment, becoming a prestigious place in Moscow. Prior to the construction of the walls of the Kitay-Gorod, there were already several monasteries, courtyards of the boyar nobility, and shopping arcades in Nikolskaya. Up to the seventeenth century, such noble representatives of the clans as Vorotynskys, Khovanskys, Buinosov-Rostovs, Saltykovs, Khvorostinskys, Sheremetevs and others inhabited the street. In addition to these buildings, there were many parish churches with temples. The most significant of all was the Kazan Cathedral with its shrine – the Kazan icon of the Mother of God. From the fifties of the sixteenth century, monks from the holy mountain Athos began to visit the street. They were allowed to conduct services on the territory of the St. Nicholas Monastery  in their native language. 

Nikolskaya is also known  as the birthplace of printing in Russia. It was here at the Printing Yard, in 1564, when the first book of Ivan Fedorov and Peter Mstislavets "The Apostle" was published.

The school, located at the Zaikonospassky Monastery at the end of the XVII century, was considered the most prestigious educational institution in Russia.

Significant transformations in the design of Nikolskaya street began at the end of the seventeenth century, when the construction of stone buildings started. New shopping arcades became a landmark of the city. Customers were served here at the highest level.  

In 1808, the largest bookshop of Moscow appeared on Nikolskaya Street. The owner of the store was the bookseller Glazunov. It is interesting to know that in the first half of the 19th century, there were 26 bookstores of 31 existing in Moscow on the Novaya Square, adjacent to Nikolskaya Street. 

By the twentieth century, Nikolskaya Street has become one of the business centers of the capital. Here offices of major manufacturers were arranged; hotels and  the restaurant "Slavianski Bazaar" appeared. It is believed that it was in this first Russian restaurant  when Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko were discussing the creation of the Moscow Art Theater   in June of 1898.

The revolution of 1917 caused considerable damage to the architectural constructions of Nikolskaya Street. Many churches were closed, the Resurrection Gates and most of the walls of the Kitay-Gorod were demolished. In the period from 1953 to 1993, Nikolskaya  was named as the Street of October 25.

Houses and places of interest on Nikolskaya street:
5 - The Moscow Mint
11 13 – The St. Nicholas Greek Monastery
15 - The Synodal Printing House
17 - Hotel and restaurant "Slavianski Bazaar"
19 - Tretyakovsky shopping arcade
21 – Ferrein’s Pharmacy 
23 - Former Chambers of Khovansky 
4 - Shevaldyshev Compound
10 - Sheremetev Compound

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Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Moscow Nikolskaya Street    

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