Balchug Island Landscaping Details

March 23
Parks and pedestrian areas

Based on a long-term programme, all embankments of the Moskva River left bank – from Moscow-City to Tagansky District, and also the right bank – from Gorky Park to the Kremlin – were put in order in the capital city. Last year, it was planned to start work on the Balchug Island embankments. However, for obvious reasons, they had to be postponed.

“Sofiyskaya, Raushskaya, Sadovnicheskaya, and Kosmodamianskaya Embankments, as well as adjacent Sadovnicheskaya street, Komissariatsky, Faleevsky, 1-st and 2-nd Raushsky lanes and Repinsky garden square will get a new look in the spring and summer of 2021. The need to landscape Balchug is actually striking. Although it is located in just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin and Zaryadye, its streets look sad and depressing. Trees and bushes are few and narrow and broken sidewalks scare off pedestrians. Everyone feels uncomfortable here: local residents, hotel guests, office employees and music lovers who come to concerts hosted by the House of Music,” Sergei Sobyanin wrote in his blog.

The main focus in Balchug landscaping is the conventional division of its urban space into historical and modern ones.

“The sidewalks inside the island – on Sadovnicheskaya Street, in lanes and along embankment buildings – are mainly used by local residents and office employees. The movement along them is calm and unhurried. It is necessary to preserve this pace. We just need to put these sidewalks in order and add recreation areas with classic Moscow benches there. Meanwhile tourists walk along embankments near water, while city residents ride scooters and bicycles there. The city space could have looked brighter and more up-to-date there,” explained Sergei Sobyanin.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

It is planned to install original benches framed with a lattice made of metal pipes in front of the House of Music. This design resembles a brass band and at the same time harmonises with the theme of the river. Some street lamps on Balchug Island will have modern style of minimalism. Others will look like antique gas lamps. The embankment parapets will be decorated with special lighting.

The island will have more greenery. It is planned to create lawns and flower beds, plant trees and shrub here: lindens, maples, elms, fancy apple trees, fieldfare, cotoneaster, and white cornelian cherry. They will be protecting pedestrians from road dust.

The garden squares on Kosmodamianskaya and Sadovnicheskaya Embankments will be landscaped. It is also planned to develop the garden square of Bolotnaya Square (Repinsky garden square) created for the 800th anniversary of Moscow in 1948. We plan to preserve the existing trees to the uttermost and add new plants here. The lamps, benches and litter bins will have the style of the late 1940s.

The part of Balchug Island between the Peter the Great monument and Serafimovicha Street is formally not included in this landscaping project. The reason is not only the HPP-2 restoration work being completed there. A new pedestrian zone will be created near the historic building to link the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with Yakimanka. One will be able to go down to Bolotnaya Embankment from Patriarshy Bridge and relax close to water.

“Balchug Island landscaping will become the largest project meant to create a high-quality urban space in the centre of Moscow that we will implement this year,” concluded Sergei Sobyanin.

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