Hotel, Red Army headquarters and theater: the legendary Slavyansky Bazar is waiting for restoration

June 9

The building of the former restaurant and hotel complex Slavyansky Bazar is waiting for restoration. It was built in 1869-1871 upon the project of the architect Robert Gödicke (1829-1910) and the order of the entrepreneur Aleksandr Porokhovshchikov. The main facade of the three-storeyed hotel building faces Nikolskaya Street. A semi-circular building is adjacent to it from the courtyard side. Initially, it housed shops, but in 1873 the premise was rebuilt —  the first restaurant of Russian cuisine in the city appeared there. The author of the project was the architect August Weber (1836-1903).

The restaurant and hotel complex decorated in an eclectic style was mostly visited by the rich public. Its rooms were rented by gold miners, landowners, and ministers. It was also very popular with cultural figures.

For example, composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, music and art critic Vladimir Stasov, and publisher Aleksey Suvorin often stayed at the hotel. Here Suvorin was visited by the writer Anton Chekhov. The Slavyansky Bazar, by the way, was a place where the characters of Chekhov’s works met— Anna Sergeevna and Gurov (the characters of The Lady with the Dog story), as well as Nina Zarechnaya and Trigorin (the characters of The Seagull play). It is known that in the restaurant of this hotel, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and Konstantin Stanislavsky discussed the idea of creating a new private theater, which later became the Moscow Art Theater.

One of the restaurant halls called Russkaya Beseda (Russian Conversation) was decorated in the style of carved decorations. For this premise, the artist Ilya Repin painted the famous Slavic Composers painting. Now it is located in the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Historians Mikhail Pogodin, Nil Popov, and physicist Nikolay Lyubimov often spoke in this hall. Concerts of Russian and foreign artists were also held there.

In 1917, the headquarters of the Red Army was located in the Slavyansky Bazar. Then, at various times, it was occupied by the Palace of Builders, the People’s Commissariat of Justice, as well as the Moscow Operetta Theater, the Young Spectator Theater, the Puppet Theater and the Moscow Comedy Theater, where Leonid Utyosov performed. In 1966, a restaurant was again opened in the building, which existed until 1993. Then the building suffered from a major fire. Only the stone skeleton and fragments of the decor remained of the restaurant's premises. Today, the building houses the Pokrovsky Chamber Stage (one of the stages of the State Academic Bolshoi Theater). Some of the premises are occupied by offices.

“Now experts are developing a project for the comprehensive restoration of the legendary landmark building in Nikolskaya Street — the restaurant and the Slavyansky Bazar Hotel. The work is planned to be carried out in 2022-2024. During the restoration, specialists will completely restore the facades and interiors of the buildings. It is important to note that one building, where there used to be a restaurant, is in poor condition and requires special attention. Before the work begins, a detailed restoration project must be prepared with a description of all future architectural and structural solutions”, Aleksey Emelyanov, Head of the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage explained.

The project for the preservation of the complex is to be submitted to the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage by the end of 2021. Currently, scientific research is underway: specialists study all the features of the monument, describe defects, and work with archive materials. All the information received will form the basis for the project documentation. In addition, in the near future, emergency work, during which all the structures of the building will be strengthened, are planned to be carried out. This will allow the restorers to work without danger to life.

The building of the former restaurant and hotel complex Slavyansky Bazar is a cultural heritage site of the regional significance. All work will be carried out only according to the project approved by the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage and under the supervision of the department specialists.


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