Master chemist’s shop: Prechistenka building gets architectural landmark status

January 31

The building of the Prechistenka chemist’s shop is now listed as a regional cultural heritage landmark. The three-story eclectic stone building with a basement is located at 6 Prechistenka Street, and its chemist’s shop has been open for over 200 years.

“The unique eclectic décor of the main façade of the Prechistenka chemist’s shop building is the most precious feature containing various elements of classical architecture. Pilasters divide the building’s exterior wall into five equal sections. Decorative plasterwork, shaped like a garland of flowers and fruits, accentuates a large arched window, located on the first and second floors. An attic adorns the structure’s middle section. Window aprons with keystones in the middle rim the ground floor’s rectangular showcase windows on three sides,” said Alexei Yemelyanov, Head of the Moscow City Department of CulturalHeritage.

The original Monier vaults and wide arch openings in the basement are still there. The hallway still has its moulding on the ceiling and wrought-iron staircase banisters dating back to the 1870s.

The two-story Prechistenka Street building was completed in the 1790s. In 1809, a local merchant named Milyakov let out the first floor to house the Prechistenka Chemist’s Shop, the name given to it in the 1830s. In the 1860s and up until the 1890s, representatives of the city’s prominent Forbriecher pharmaceutical dynasty owned the building.

In 1860, pharmaceutical chemist Karl Friedrich Forbriecher was the owner of the building. In 1873, it belonged to his brother Andrei Forbriecher who had a Master’s degree in pharmaceutical science. He earned the degree after defending a thesis on how to prepare pilular mass.

The building at 6 Prechistenka Street acquired its current appearance in 1874 after the second floor was added, and its floorplan was also altered to a design by architect Nikolai Mikhnev.

The chemist’s shop was located on the first floor, and the second floor had flats that were let out. Apart from the flats, the ground floor accommodated several shops, and the basement served as a laboratory. In the 1890s, the building was taken over by a new owner, but the first-floor chemist’s shop continued to operate.

The Prechistenka chemist’s shop did not close during the Soviet period. In the 1970s, it moved to the ground floor and remains there to this day.

The status of a cultural heritage landmark guarantees state protection. Cultural heritage sites cannot be demolished or subjected to major alterations. Any renovation works must be approved and supervised by experts from the Department of Cultural Heritage.

Moscow is constantly maintaining and restoring architectural landmarks and the list of cultural heritage sites is getting longer all the time. About 700 landmarks have been given a protected status over the past seven years. This includes over 370 newly-registered and about 330 federal and regional cultural heritage landmarks.


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