The street as an exhibit. We are looking for Ivan Bilibin's ornaments, lions and roses at Tverskaya street

September 10

Why not look at the facades of the houses as exhibits in an open-air exhibition? A walk along the main streets of the city easily turn into a cultural trip if you are observant and armed with minimal knowledge of the history of buildings and their architectural features.

Postnikova's Trading Passage: Atlantes

5/6 Tverskaya Street

Theater was not hearing applause and music, but voices of salesmen and buyers. Here, the trading arcade of Lydia Postnikova was located.

This18th century city manor house was rebuilt in 1886 after the design of architect Semyon Eibushits. The house grew up to three floors, and a new building replaced the front yard — the bypass galleries had glass ceilings made according to the Vladimir Shukhov’s system. Showcase windows were installed on the first floor in 1889.

Today, the arcade is a four-story building with an arch in the central part of the facade and metal dome on top. The building is stylized in the Baroque: the pairwise grouped windows are separated by pilasters (flat decorative elements similar to a column, but having a rectangular rather than a circular cross-section). Pilasters are crowned with Corinthian capitals, depicting a basket decorated with leaves. The second floor balconies are supported by Atlantean sculptures.

The Postnikova's trading arcade did not have much success. It was remote from the main trade artery of the city of the time, Kuznetsky Most street, and had no through galleries overlooking the neighboring streets, which were inconvenient for buyers. The trading was not intensive. Furnished rooms and cinema hall located in the building did not generate income either.

In 1909 Postnikova sold the trading arcade to first guild merchant Gontsov and peasant Siluanov. By 1911, Gontsov remained the only owner. He managed to change the situation — he increased the number of shops, and opened a hotel on the upper floors. After the revolution, the building housed the Supreme Council of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) National Economy. The theatrical era began in 1929 - at first, the Vs.  Meyerhold State Theater named was temporarily located here, and then the M.N Ermolova Theater  began to perform here since 1946.

The building of the Moscow Soviet (Golitsyn's house): a building that was moving a lot

13 Tverskaya Street

The building in the classicism style housing the Moscow Government today, was built in 1782, presumably after the project of architect Matvey Kazakov. Before the revolution, Moscow Governors-General resided here, and thereafter it was taken over by the Moscow Soviet.

Initially, the manor house belonged to Count Zakhary Chernyshev and had three-stories. Once the owner died in 1785, it was bought from the heirs at the expense of the city treasury and got the name of “The Tver state house occupied by the Governor-General”. After the 1812 fire, the building survived, but suffered from Napoleon's soldiers. It was damaged by another fire in 1823, and the restoration took two years.

In the late 19th century, the house became one of the cultural centers of the capital thanks to Governor-General Vladimir Dolgorukov, who often held dancing parties there. The legend says that swindler Pavel Speyer entered one of these parties. Once got into Dolgorukov’s confidence, he requested to allow him to make a brief tour of the building for a familiar foreigner. The next day he brought an English nobleman to the manor house, who ... bought it from Speyer. The attendant who was accompanying the visitors did not understand anything, since he did not speak English.

After the revolution, the building changed its appearance twice and once changed its location. In 1929–1930, a constructivism-styled six-storey building designed by Ivan Fomin was added to the back side of the manor house. In 1937, after expansion of Tverskaya street, the building turned out to be 13.65 meters over the street’s red line. It was decided to move it, preserving its historical appearance. The building was moved on September 16, 1939 and the process took a record time — the 20-ton structure changed its location in just 41 minutes.

The once majestic building was surrounded by higher buildings by 1945, so it was decided to add two floors. The project was designed by architect Dmitry Chechulin. The facade was decorated by Corinthian pilasters, and the upper tier — by an eight-column portico, which frieze contains the Moscow coat of arms.

English club: the lions that Pushkin saw

21 Tverskaya street, building 1

Going down the same side of the street one can see the classicism style manor house that survived to this day in nearly unchanged appearance, as well as stone lions on the fence, that are mentioned in the “Eugene Onegin” poem. Today the manor house is occupied by the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia. There was Moscow English Club here before the revolution, and it was one of the first gentlemen's clubs in Russia.

The club appeared in the late 18th century, but settled at a permanent address only in 1831 to occupy the Razumovsky palace at Tverskaya street. It was very difficult to become the club’s member: only representatives of the nobility and government had a chance to get there. The Pushkins, including Alexander Sergeevich, had the membership.

The manor house is symmetrical, and the front courtyard of the rounded shape is formed by the side wings. The facade center is decorated with an eight-column Doric portico resting on a high arched pedestal. Bas-reliefs in the form of lion heads are located above the windows.

Tenement house of the A.  Bakhrushin's sons partnership: roses and hippeastrums

12 Tverskaya street, building 1

The five-storey Art Nouveau house was built in 1900-1901 by famous architect Karl Hippius. This master of eclecticism and Art Nouveau turned a tenement house into a work of art — its facade is very attractive.

The side parts of the symmetrical building are highlighted by bay windows on the third and fourth floors. They are propped up by columns, which tops are decorated with female masks having flowing hair. Similar masks can be found on the supporting parts of the balcony surrounding the entire fourth floor. The balconies are decorated with characteristic Art Nouveau curved lines and whimsical flowers. The window openings of the fourth floor are decorated with twisted bas-reliefs in the form of roses, and on the cast-iron lattices of the highest balconies one can see the flowers of hippeastrum — plants of the Amaryllidaceae.

Before the revolution, the first two floors of the house were occupied by shops. Among them were a shoe shop, a bookstore, a bakery, and the Pathé brothers' gramophone and phonograph shop. Otto Renard photo studio was also there.

The office house of I.D. Sytin: flowers and gold

18b Tverskaya street

This building facade also catches the eye for a long time. And the reason is the decor created according to sketches of artist Ivan Bilibin. Between the second and third floors, a mosaic ornament stretches across the entire house — red and blue flowers on a gold background. This color rhymes with golden tiles framing the round windows on the fourth floor and the space above the mascarons in the form of girls’ heads with flowing hair. The facade is also decorated with bas-reliefs in the form of roses, poppies and cornflowers, and balconies are decorated with lattices with floral ornaments.

This house did not always look like this. Until 1904, when book publisher and educator Ivan Sytin bought it, it was a two-story Empire-style mansion. Over the next two years, the building was entirely rebuilt by architect Adolf Erichson and engineer Vladimir Shukhov. The mansion was completed up to four floors with the mezzanine placed in the center and windows widened. bookstore was opened on the first floor, and office premises were arranged on two other floors to be occupied by the editorial office of the Russkoe Slovo newspaper. The large Sytin family lived on the top floor.

Eliseevsky store: caduceus and angels

14 Tverskaya Street

In the late 1880s, a palace was built for Ekaterina Kozitskaya, the Catherine II State Secretary’s widow after Matvey Kazakov’s design. The mansion facade was modest, it was decorated only with a portico with six columns. All the luxury was hidden inside — the interiors were so rich that teachers and students of Moscow University refused to move there after the 1812 fire. Rector Ivan Geim wrote that “It’s impossible to live in this house, so as not to spoil the unique floors, heavy silk wallpaper, huge expensive dressing tables etc.”

Zinaida Volkonskaya, granddaughter of Kozitskaya, moved here in 1824. She decorated the mansion with frescoes and expensive paintings, arranged literary and musical evenings attended by Alexander Pushkin, Fedor Tyutchev, Ivan Turgenev and many others.

The facade of the building was changed in 1874. In particular, the classic portico disappeared. Global changes took place later, when the building was bought in 1898 by St. Petersburg merchant Grigory Eliseev to open a store in it. The works were supervised by Gavriil Baranovsky; the carriage passage was converted into the main entrance, and rooms on the lower two floors — into trading rooms with huge chandeliers. The then fashionable eclectic stucco blossomed on the facade: the central part of the cornice was decorated with figures of either Athens, or angels with spears, above them the wand of the god of trade Hermes, the caduceus, was placed.

In Soviet times, the store was renamed as grocery store No. 1, but customers still called it Eliseevsky. Writer Nikolai Ostrovsky lived in one of the building apartments in 1935. Today the apartment houses the State Museum — Cultural Center Integration named after N. A. Ostrovsky.


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