Kitay-Gorod

Kitay-Gorod, along with the Kremlin, is Moscow’s oldest historical district which has always been full of life. Main government organisations, offices, the Shopping Arcade and the Merchant Houses were situated there. To this day Kitay-Gorod is the place where both Russian and the world’s largest corporations, banks, insurance companies etc. have their headquarters. The Presidential Administration’s office is also situated in Kitay-Gorod.

Kitay-Gorod is located inside the Kitaygorodskay Vallum, a wall that was attached to the Kremlin’s corner towers, the Beklemishevskaya Tower and the Arsenalskaya Tower, in 1535 -1538. It was built as a fortification under the order of Yelena Glinskaya, Ivan the Terrible’s mother. The wall’s construction was headed by Italian architect Peter Fryazin who used the most recent developments of fortification engineering, designed to withstand artillery attacks. Compared to the Kremlin’s fortifications, Kitay-Gorod’s walls were lower but much thicker and had platforms for weapons. The wall had no crenulations. A special ‘road’ was arranged around the wall’s perimeter, which was used for the transportation of weapons and movement of defenders. The total length of the Kitaygorodskaya wall was 2567 meters.

There are several versions about the origin of the ‘Kitay-Gorod’ term. According to one of the most common opinions the district’s name derives from the old word ‘kita’, a bunch of poles roped together which were used in fortification construction.
Kitay-Gorod was not only an office and trade centre of Moscow but also a cultural and scientific centre. It was the place where Russian book-printing was concentrated.

In 1934 the ancient Kitaygorodskaya wall was demolished and only small parts of the wall remain intact up until now. Thirty years later it became evident that the wall was a major historical monument and the wall’s section near Zaryadye was restored. Some other parts of the wall to the south of Varvarka Street were restored after another thirty years.
Notwithstanding the wall’s demolition, Kitay-Gorod is still a special, and to some extent isolated, part of Moscow’s territory. It is distinctly separated from other districts by the semi-circle of Moscow’s central squares – the Varvarskiye Gates, the Slavyanskaya Square, the Old, the New, the Lubanskaya, the Teatralnaya and the Voskresenskaya Squares.

There are many famous historical and architectural monuments situated within Kitay-Gorod’s circle including the Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Voskresenskiye Gates, the Historical Museum, the Shopping Arcade, the GUM Department Store, the Kazan Cathedral and many other places which add to the unique character of Moscow’s image. Tour to Moscow