The Boulevard Ring

The saying “to walk along the ring” has long since meant for Muscovites to have fun or relax. This expression owes its name to the Boulevard Ring, one of the major arterial “rings” of Central Moscow.

The Boulevard Ring goes through the famous city’s historical district, the White Town, which used to be called Moscow’s second ring despite its wall being the third inner fortification of old Moscow. The construction of the White Town was started in 1585 and lasted eight years. Many craftsmen from all of Russia were invited to participate. The White Town comprised of twenty seven towers topped with domes, ten of which were passage towers with gates while the other seventeen towers were sealed. Lower wall sections are laid with white stone, while bricks were used for the upper sections. The walls had two-horned pinions and loopholes.

By the middle of the 18th century the White Town’s wall lost its defensive importance and was demolished.
According to the general layout of Moscow, rather than the wall of the White Town, the avenues interrupted by squares at places where the passage towers stood were to be planted. Together with the first boulevard and the Tverskoy Boulevard the term “boulevard” itself appeared in the Russian language from Western Europe retaining its meaning of “fortress wall”.

The Boulevard Ring’s steep line is stretched for over nine kilometres in the shape of a horseshoe.
After the Tverskoy Boulevard had been built, other parts of the former White Town’s wall were edged with trees and levelled. But the real Boulevard Ring was formed after the fire of 1812 and in 1820 when the work on all eleven boulevards were completed.

The horse-drawn railway was laid along the Boulevard Ring in the 1880s until they were replaced by the tramway route “A”, the famous “Annushka”. This allowed a record time of one hour to travel the whole length of the ring.

Moscow’s strong defence against invasions of the past, such as Napolean and later Hitler, can be partly atrributed to this network of rings spreading out from the city centre. The ongoing construction of these rings since the 16th century has provided a defence many couldn’t breach, or had great trouble in doing so. To this day, despite the lack of walls, these geometric plans are a crucial part of Moscow’s layout.

In 1978 the Boulevard Ring was granted the status of monument of the garden-and-park art, and to this day the famous landmark is being constantly improved. For example, the monuments to composer Sergey Rahmaninov and singer Vladimir Vysotsky were raised at the Strastnoy Boulevard and the poet Sergey Yesenin’s monument was built at the Tverskoy Boulevard.

And still, a walk “along the ring” is one of favourite pass-times for those who want to take a real and unparalleled pleasure.

Tour to Moscow