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Moscow in 19th century photographs: even the Bolsheviks never saw such a capital
Moscow in 19th century photographs: even the Bolsheviks never saw such a capital
Moscow in photographs of the 19th century

The photos taken in Moscow at the turn of the 1850s-1880s are very interesting to compare with the modern metropolitan architecture and even with the architecture of the last century, when radical changes were taking place in the city. These pictures are a unique opportunity to see what the famous Moscow places were like about 150 years ago.

1. View from Ivan the Great to the southeast, on Sadovniki and Kotelniki, 1850s - 60s

View from Ivan the Great to the southeast, towards Sadovniki and Kotelniki

The photo shows the Moscow bridge. It also has wooden spans, which will disappear during a fire in 1870.

And the development of the Raushskaya embankment is completely different even from what was already at the beginning of the twentieth century. Rakhmanov's apartment building, the predecessor of the Soviet Bucharest Hotel and the already non-Soviet Baltschug Kempinski Hotel, is not visible behind the bridge. There is not even a hint of either the tenement houses of Sadovnicheskaya Street or the building of the Central Power Plant. The only landmark for a modern person is the Church of Nikola Zayitsky.

We look at the photo further: - the Bolshoi Ustyinsky Bridge has not yet been erected;

- the coast of the Moskva River and Yauza is still pure pastoral water;

- Tutolmin's palace (a large light object above the river in the center of the frame) has not yet been spoiled by the alterations that began in the 1990s;

- Kotelniki and Taganka are completely built up with tiny houses. On the left side of the photo you can clearly see the Batashovs' house, where the Yauzskaya hospital will be located a little later, and the church of Martin the Confessor.

2. View of Zamoskvorechye from the windows of the new (then) building of the Armory, 1850s

View of Zamoskvorechye from the windows of the new (then) Armory building

It was in the 1850s that a lattice fence appeared between the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Armory. It was he who got into the frame. On Bolotnaya Square, rows of storage sheds erected by the architect Bykovsky in 1842 are visible.

The unshakable "single façade" on the Cemetery Embankment will stand until the 1970s. And Sofia embankment (in the photo it is in the foreground) with buildings of the Empire type can be seen today only in rare photographs

Now about the capital's mansions:

3. Panorama of Zamoskvorechye, opening from the balcony of the Grand Kremlin Palace, (1856)

Panorama of Zamoskvorechye, opening from the balcony of the Grand Kremlin Palace

As you can see in the photo, the mansions of 1850 are still "Empire" in style, but they are already beginning to deviate somewhat from the classics. So…

Faleev's house (Faleevsky lane even today, as many years ago it runs along the western border of this property) was left without a 6-column portico.

Moscow Kremlin Towers decorated for the coronation of Alexander II

Above the facade of Obolenskaya's house, which is located approximately in the center of the panorama, there is no longer a triangular pediment. Today this house has fallen into ruins.

Tverskoy district, Moscow Kremlin

Another famous mansion in the capital is the Durasov Palace, which will be bought by the sugar refinery Kharitonenko in 2 decades. Almost half a century later, his son will build himself a new mansion, in which the British Embassy will be located already under the Bolsheviks.

Tverskoy district, Moscow Kremlin

The last photo shows the drum of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which is still surrounded by scaffolding.

4. Big Stone Bridge. Photo of 1857

Big Stone Bridge. Photo of 1857

Big Stone Bridge. The way it was originally. It’s about to be torn down. It was almost impossible to swim between the abutments of the bridge, according to recollections. There was a ford here since ancient times, but by the 1850s the shallowing of the river worsened.

At that time there were baths on the left bank. The photo shows the walkways and baths. Shacks between the river slope and the Prechistenskaya embankment existed until 1870, when they were demolished as a low-value building during the improvement of the embankment near the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

5. The area at the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, 1855-57

The area near the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge

This photo was taken from the newly built new bell tower of the Church of St. Nicholas on Bersenevka.The old bell tower is no longer visible, which, having survived, would have fallen into the left edge of the frame. The old bell tower towered over the 17th century embankments with kokoshniks. They have survived to this day.

In the northern part, you can see the classic buildings of the pre-reform capital. Due to the many buildings and bridges, Prechistenskaya Embankment is practically invisible. You can see the former chambers of Zotov, still in the Empire style with a mezzanine. The mezzanine was rebuilt only in 1911. It is worth noting that the word "chambers" has survived to this day - the Book Chamber of the Russian Federation is located in the building today.

6. View from the Kremlin to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, 1857-58

View from the Kremlin to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

View of the same metropolitan area as in the previous two photos, but from a different angle. The temple is still under construction, on the left side you can see the barracks in which the builders live. The Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge will only be built in 1859, and in this picture the old bridge is being dismantled and a temporary structure is being erected.

This photo refutes the widespread opinion that the forests were removed from the temple only in 1860. Patriarchal buildings are still visible at the very beginning of Lenivka. On the left side of the photo there is the Church of Ilya the Obydenny without a bell tower. The bell tower will be erected only in 1867.

7. "New" building of Moscow University on Mokhovaya, 1884

The building of the Moscow University on Mokhovaya

This is how Moscow University looked after the restructuring by architect Tyurin in 1832. The "lamppost dome" has not yet been built over the very center of the building, the side volumes in the lower part of the building have not yet been brought out, so there are side porticos in their place. Today, such a reconstruction would be considered simply unacceptable.

8. Iberian Gate, 1874

Iberian Gates

The Iberian Gate after restoration in 1820. It is worth paying attention to the Empire style processing of the lower part. During the next restoration, which will take place in 100 years, the "Naryshkin" decor will return, albeit for a short time.

No less interesting objects are located to the left and right of the gate. The building of the Public Places of the times of Catherine (lateral facade on the left) and the Zemsky Prikaz of the Petrine era are still intact.

Then we go to Red Square.

9. Zemsky Prikaz, view from the Public Places and the Kazan Cathedral, 1860

Zemsky Prikaz, view from the Public Places and the Kazan Cathedral

The European-style town hall appeared in Moscow in 1699. Initially, it was decorated with a spire similar to the spire of the Kremlin towers. It is worth noting that the very name of the Zemsky Order is very conditional, since almost immediately after the appearance of the building, it was eliminated. The building houses a variety of institutions. The Historical Museum was built on this site in 1881

10. The building of the Zemsky Prikaz before demolition, first half of the 1870s

The building of the Zemsky Prikaz before demolition

11. View of the Zemsky Prikaz building from the Kremlin wall

View of the Zemsky Prikaz building from the Kremlin wall

12. Spasskaya Tower, 1860s. (! NB The tower is not the main thing here)

Spassky Tower

On the most famous square in Russia, it is worth seeing the chapels near the Spasskaya Tower, built in 1802. These chapels will be dismantled in 1868, and new "Byzantine" ones will be erected in their place. At the same time, according to the project proposed by the architect Gerasimov, the strelnitsa will be restored, abandoning the classic portal. It was at this time that the rejection of the decoration of ancient monuments in favor of historicism began.

13. Prayer service on Varvarka in honor of the restoration of the Romanov chambers, 1858

Prayer service on Varvarka in honor of the restoration of the Romanov chambers

The chambers themselves are practically invisible in the photo - a small fragment on the right. Probably, at the time when the photo was taken, the chambers themselves were not of particular value. After restoration construction work on the chambers of the 17th century, a wooden teremok appeared according to the idea of ​​the architect Richter. In the photo you can see the ancient cells of the Znamensky Monastery. They have not yet had time to build on them for profitable purposes.

14. Exchange Square, Ilyinka. 1864 year

Exchange area

Exchange Square on Ilyinka. Business classicism reigns here. In 1830, architects Bykovsky and Kazakov built the Stock Exchange and Pavlov's house, they were not rebuilt. The building of the Church of Paraskeva Pyatnitsa is visible behind the stock exchange. In 1865 the church was demolished, and already in 1870 a new stock exchange was built on this site according to the project of the architect Kaminsky.

In 1876, the first five-story building in Moscow, the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, will appear on the right at the very corner. In the left corner of the photo is the courtyard of the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery (1884).

15. View of the Nikolsky Greek Monastery from the bell tower of the Epiphany Monastery, 1883

View of the Nikolsky Greek Monastery from the bell tower of the Epiphany Monastery

In the foreground of the photo is the Church of the Epiphany Monastery, erected in honor of John the Baptist. It will be demolished in 1905, and a profitable monastery house was erected on this place. Yes, even then in Moscow buildings were demolished to obtain financial benefits, but in those years this was not massive. In the upper left corner is the bell tower of the Nikolsky Monastery. Judging by the architectural style, the bell tower was erected in the years 1760-1770. The bell tower that can be seen at this place in Moscow today was built in 1902.

16. Zaikonospassky monastery, 1898

Zaikonospassky monastery

Next to Nikolsky Greek is the Zaikonospassky monastery. The photo was taken before a new bell tower and a new building were built along Nikolskaya Street in 1900. At the right edge of the photo is the bell tower of the Greek Monastery, which was shown in the previous photo.

17. Voskresenskaya Square, first half of the 1870s

Voskresenskaya square

There is still neither the City Duma on the left side, nor the Grand Hotel on the right. Their time has not come yet. But you can see the building of the Public Places, where the "debt prison" was located, which Muscovites called the "Pit". The Baroque style was presented to the building by the architect Heiden, back in the time of Anna Ioannovna, but in this picture the building looks like a classic building.

Another interesting detail in the photo is the water-folding fountain, which, as you can see, is very popular. The water supply was brought out to the square, but there is still no water in the apartments.

18. "Chelyshi" on the site of the future "Metropol", 1880s

Foreheads at the site of the future Metropolis

Theater square in a classic look. You can read about what this knowledge was at that time in Gilyarovsky.

19. Polytechnic Museum, view from behind the Kitaygorodskaya wall

Polytechnical Museum

In the photo, which experts date from 1877, only the main building has been built so far. However, if the opinion is that the photo is earlier, since the work on the pediment has not yet been completed. On both sides of the building there are vacant lots, on which museum buildings will later appear. The building shown in the photo has been well preserved until Soviet times.

The low building of Lubyansky passage is visible behind the building.

20. Barbarian Square, 1872

Varvarskaya Square

The picture shows the building of the People's Theater. They say that this theater was very popular among Muscovites, but the building itself did not last long. On the right - Lubyansky passage, going straight to Maroseyka, and on the left - the towers of Kitay Gorod (Multifaceted and Ilyinskaya).

21. Varvarskaya Square, photo 1860s - 70s

Varvarskaya Square

Everything that got into this shot will disappear after some 30-40 years. On the left side, at the very corner of Salt Proezd, an apartment building will rise. The Delovoy Dvor will rise to the right, building by building. The wasteland will turn into the lower part of the Lubyanka Square.

View from the bell tower of the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist near Bor

22. View from the bell tower of the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist near Bor, 1860s - 70s

View from the bell tower of the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist near Bor

The low-rise buildings of Sadovnikov make it possible to see the Kremlin and part of Red Square (we do not take into account only the erected building of the Kokorevsky courtyard). On the right side is the Pig-Iron Bridge. It was erected by the engineer Witte in 1835, and already in 1889 it was demolished.

Vladimir Gilyarovsky spoke about Moscow of that time in an interesting and vivid way in his book "Moscow and Muscovites". We have collected 20 interesting facts about Moscow and Muscovites, which were noticed by Gilyarovsky… They allow you to plunge into the life of the capital of the beginning of the century.

Be sure to check out our previous posts: color photographs of pre-revolutionary Russia taken by Proskudin-Gorsky, and photographs of pre-revolutionary Russia in 1896, taken by Frantisek Kratki… No less impressive than old photographs, it looks fabulous video of Moscow 1908.

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