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Must See Place in Moscow: Old Arbat Street

22. January 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

Old Arbat Street

In the center of historic Moscow is a famous pedestrian street which caters to tourists. Arbat Street claims to be one of the oldest streets of the Russian capital, lined with notable buildings and monuments.


The Arbat was first mentioned in Moscow documents in 1493, describing a large fire that started in a wooden church and spread throughout the city. Residents began rebuilding and the Arbat quickly became a popular route for travelers.


Traders and craftsmen moved into the area, hence the names of some side streets such as Plotnikov Lane (Carpenter’s Lane), Serebryanyi Pereulok (Silver Lane), and Denezhny (Money Lane). The Arbat's name is either from an old Russian word meaning "hilly ground" or from an Arabic word for "suburb".


During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the infamous bodyguards of the Tsar stationed their headquarters here. Shops were closed and the streets were empty. After his death, the trade route began to grow again and elegant churches and houses were built.


The Arbat became Moscow’s most aristocratic and literary town, with famous Russians calling it their home, such as poet Aleksandr Pushkin, writer Andrey Bely, and the Tolstoys. Some homes have been converted to museums and adorned with monuments.


During Soviet times, the Arbat was a busy thoroughfare, but in the 1980s the road was closed to cars and it became the popular pedestrian walkway that it is today. Musicians and artists congregate on the street, entertaining crowds and selling souvenirs.


Numerous restaurants, shops, and street performers cater to tourists. A leisurely stroll down Arbat Street with a beautiful Russian lady on your arm is a perfect way to experience historic Moscow.


Artists on Arbat Street

Matryoshka dolls for sale on Arbat St

Artists drawing portraits on Arbat St

Street performers on Arbat St

Hard Rock Cafe on Arbat St

Decorative lanterns light up Arbat St