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We consider six historical buildings – from the stock exchange and courtyard to a tenement house and shopping malls.

A weekend walk can be an excursion through the most interesting open-air exhibition – Moscow streets with history. Ilyinka, one of the oldest streets in the city, connects Red Square with the Ilyinsky Gate Square. This street has always been a place of lively trade, and by the end of the 19th century it also became the center of Moscow’s business life. The history and architectural features of six business and commercial buildings on Ilyinka are in the article.

The apartment building of the Moscow Merchant Bank: Vienna in the heart of Moscow

Ilyinka, house 14/2, building 1

One glance at this house on the corner of Ilyinka and Old Square – and you are transported to the capital of Austria. Built on the model of Viennese banks, the house is an excellent example of profitable development in Moscow at the end of the 19th century. The style of the building is pseudo-baroque. The facades are decorated with lush stucco moldings, pilasters (this is the name for a flat vertical ledge of rectangular cross-section similar to a column) with complex capitals, over the windows there are stucco decorative elements in the form of scrolls (cartouches) and curls (volutes).

The apartment building consists of two buildings – the one that overlooks Ilyinka was built in the first third of the 19th century, and the one overlooking Staraya Square in the second half of the same century. Then the buildings looked different – they got the usual look in 1894, when the new owner of the site, the Moscow Merchant Bank, carried out a complete reconstruction according to the project of the architect Boris Freidenberg. By the way, Freudenberg is the author of several iconic buildings on Ilyinka: he also built the Moscow Merchant Bank and the Moscow Trade Bank of Naydenov.

In the first half of the 19th century, the artist Alexander Yastrebilov lived and worked in the house, one of the founders of the creative circle “Natural class”, later transformed into the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

The complex of tenement houses of the Northern Insurance Company: clock and rotunda

Ilyinka, building 21

The Northern Insurance Company was founded in 1872 in St. Petersburg, and then moved to Moscow, where it settled in the Orlov-Davydov house on Nikolskaya Street. In 1900, the company acquired a land plot on Novaya Square for the construction of tenement houses.

The architectural competition was held by the Moscow Archaeological Society, whose employees were very worried about the preservation of the Kitaygorodskaya wall, located very close (the medieval fortress structure did not survive, it was demolished in 1934). More than 20 projects took part in the competition, the winners were Ivan Rerberg, Marian Peretyatkovich, Vyacheslav Oltarzhevsky and Ilya Golosov. The competition committee appreciated the rational use of the site and innovation: several buildings were united by a complex system of passages and courtyards.

The building attracts attention with the proximity of the clock tower and the powerful neoclassical rotunda on the corner overlooking Ilyinka. The dome of the rotunda is surrounded by a belt of semicircular and rectangular windows. Below is a cornice on vertical pilasters. If you look closely, you can see niches with kneeling male and female figures above these pilasters.

Moscow Exchange: Modeled on a Roman Temple

Ilyinka, house 6/1

Until 1839, the so-called spontaneous exchange of Moscow merchants traditionally gathered near the old Gostiny Dvor in Khrustalny Lane. In 1828, Governor-General Dmitry Golitsyn received a request from them to establish a stock exchange in the city. 11 years later, the building was built, however, the first time the auction began in the old fashioned way in the fresh air – on the terrace provided by the architect Mikhail Bykovsky. The construction was financed by the merchants themselves, but Emperor Nicholas I also made a contribution.

In the 1860s, they decided to rebuild and expand the building, for which they bought an adjacent land plot. The author of the new project is the master of eclecticism Alexander Kaminsky. He took a classic Roman temple as a model: the facade with a portico is decorated with stucco molding, on the pediment there is a bas-relief depicting the god of trade Mercury (the author of the bas-relief is Alexander Opekushin). The side façade overlooking Rybny Lane retains the features of the old stock exchange building. Initially, it was two-story, the third floor was built on in 1925 under the direction of the architect Ivan Kuznetsov.

House of the joint-stock company “ARKOS”: the pearl of constructivism

Ilyinka, house 11/10, building 1

This laconic building combines style and rationality. On the facade facing Ilyinka, there are three lines of bay windows with solid glazing. Attic (ledge above the upper cornice) of a stepped shape also attracts attention. Otherwise, this is a rather minimalistic building in the best traditions of constructivism.

The house was erected in 1927-1928 for a rather unusual organization for the USSR. Joint Stock Trading Company “ARKOS” was established by a Soviet cooperative delegation in London and was engaged in export and import in the interests of the Soviet Union.

The winner of the competition was the project of Vladimir Mayat, in the recent past – the favorite architect of the merchants Ryabushinsky and Morozov. The basement of the building was occupied by a garage, the first and second floors were assigned to banks and shops, the third and fourth to office premises, the fifth and sixth to hotel rooms. The ARKOS house later became a model for many administrative buildings in the USSR.

Innovators, pioneers, patrons of the arts. All about the Ryabushinsky dynastyMorozovs. The history of a merchant dynasty

The apartment building of the Trinity courtyard: from ancient chambers to the pseudo-Russian style

Ilyinka, building 5

It’s hard to believe, but this five-story building was the tallest residential building in Moscow until 1905. Its history spans several centuries and two total reconstructions.

In the 16th century, the site at the corner of Ilyinka and Birzhevaya Square was occupied by a two-storey stone courtyard of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. In the monastery papers, it was listed as the Cooking House – visiting solicitors (officials) and monks stayed here. In addition to rooms for rent, the house housed brokerage offices, shops, coffee shops, taverns.

At the end of the 18th century, the entire courtyard was given to the management of the merchant Andrei Sysalin, who instead of the dilapidated chambers built a new complex of buildings in the style of classicism. At the beginning of the 19th century, Alexander Shiryaev’s bookstore, cloth, hat and manufactory shops, as well as the Trinity tavern, known throughout Moscow, worked here, where the best piglets and famous pies were served.

The apartment building, which we see at this place today, appeared after reconstruction in 1874-1876. The architect Petro Skomoroshenko created a five-story apartment building in the pseudo-Russian style in its place. The walls are decorated with stucco and carved platbands, the windows of the fourth floor are decorated with pointed arches and pilasters. The main accent of the composition is a six-story corner tower with a belvedere. The building housed shops and offices, the Novo-Troitskaya hotel. The inn has survived, but moved to the basement.

After 1917, the building was occupied by institutions (including a bank) and communal apartments.

Old Gostiny Dvor: antique motives

Ilyinka, house 4

Old Gostiny Dvor is a unique building. Its total area is over 80 thousand square meters. Dozens of stucco columns, classical vaults, arches – all this reminds of the traditions of Palladianism, an important stylistic trend in Russian classicist architecture of the time of Catherine II. Gostiny Dvor was first mentioned in the 16th century book “Notes on Muscovy” by the Austrian envoy Sigismund von Herberstein. At the time, he looked very different.

“Not far from the fortress there is a large, walled house called the courtyard of the merchants’ gentlemen, in which the merchants live and store their goods,” the book says.

In the 1640s, stone buildings appeared here, divided into four courtyards: Old, New, Rybny and Salt. By the end of the 18th century, the courtyard was dilapidated and partially collapsed. The new project was prepared by the architect Giacomo Quarenghi. According to his idea, the building was supposed to occupy a whole block within Ilyinka and Varvarka. The architect lived in St. Petersburg and, guided by the plan of the area, did not take into account the strong slope. Architects Ivan Selekhov and Semyon Karin reworked the project, keeping the original idea.

The fire of 1812 spread from Gostiny Dvor. Several years later, restoration work began under the leadership of Osip Bove. In 1838, the complex was named the Old Gostiny Dvor, since a new one appeared nearby, in Rybny Lane. At the beginning of the 20th century, the architect Karl Gippius rebuilt the middle part of the complex in Khrustalny Lane in the neoclassical style with brightly colored mosaics.

In the late XX – early XXI century, Gostiny Dvor was reconstructed. The courtyard was paved with granite and covered with a glass dome, and attic floors were added.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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