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One of the most ancient and interesting districts of Moscow


The area is most loved for its unique architecture: temples, churches, boyar chambers, and cathedrals. There is a concentration of historical heritage and landmarks here, and the spirit of the past coexists with modernity. For centuries, Kitay-Gorod was a focus for city life. There was everything, from monasteries and inns, to convents and academies, palaces and huts, and banks and offices. In the Soviet and post-Soviet years, party and government offices, corporate offices, insurance companies, and banks were added to all this.

It would be true to say that Kitay-Gorod is not multifaceted by choice. The reason is a recent renaming. The real Kitay-Gorod is centered around the Kremlin, beginning at Red Square and bordering Okhotny Ryad, Teatralnaya Square and Teatralny Passage, Lubyanka Square, and Staraya Square. In fact, the district itself is Red Square, Vasilevsky Spusk and three popular streets: Nikolskaya, Ilyinka, and Varvarka. The history of the district and its name goes back to 1538, when the Kitay-Gorod wall was attached to the towers of the Kremlin, within which Velikiy Posad, the modern Kitay-Gorod, was formed. Today, only a few hundred meters of brickwork remain of the wall itself, which served as protection from raids: one fragment is just behind the Metropol Hotel.

There are several versions regarding the origin of the toponym Kitay-Gorod. The most plausible ones are of a linguistic nature. According to one version, “kita” was a method of tying poles to build fortifications; according to another, it all began with the Turkic “katai” (city, fortress); and the third hypothesis is that the name is from the Italian word citta (cittadella—citadel, fortification).

“Popular” Kitay-Gorod only appeared in 1990 after the renaming of a metro station. It is located opposite the real Kitay-Gorod, and many mistakenly refer to the Ivanovskaya Gorka area in the same way. Muscovites and local historians frown at the topographical and historical confusion, and try to explain it all a hundred times. The only thing to add is that you have to catch the spirit of history in historic Kitay-Gorod, and translate the spirit of history to the popular area. The number of historical monuments there is probably equal to the number of cafes, bars, and various entertainment venues.


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