Mother Russia: Urban hiking in Kitai Gorod

Mother Russia: Urban hiking in Kitai Gorod

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American expat Katherine Batalov and her children find Kitai Gorod, the business district of Moscow, quiet yet amazingly beautiful.

Back in the States, we just got into hiking together as a family. The kids were old enough to manage and we all enjoyed it. It is one thing I miss - being out in nature.

Now that we are in Moscow we do a lot of "urban hiking". Pretty much every weekend we pick an area on my big Moscow map in the kitchen and we head out to explore.

This week - Kitai Gorod - translates literally to Chinatown, but has nothing to do with China. The name actually stems from an old word Kitai- a word used to describe how the wall around it was built - poles lashed together.

In the past, you had the Kremlin in Moscow - a walled city where all the nobility lived. Then next to it is Kitai Gorod - a place where all the rich merchants lived. They built a wall around themselves for fortification as well in the 1500s.

According to Wikipedia, the walls were erected by an Italian architect known under the Russified name Petrok Maly and originally featured 13 towers and six gates. Small portions of the wall still stand. One of two remaining parts of the wall is located in Zaryadye and the other near the exit from the Okhotny Ryad station of Moscow Metro behind the Hotel Metropol.

The tretyekovskei arch / passage

Now, Kitai Gorod is a financial district within Moscow; the ministry of finance, the treasury, trade and commerce buildings are here.

On the left is the treasury, yellow is the commerce building


I think the tower with the clock is some kind of insurance building
 

Kitai Gorod is a beautiful area. Lots of old buildings, quaint side streets, little parks, coffee shops, and churches tucked into alleys -- the children kept remarking how quiet it was.



This was the first printing house for religious texts - it has a lion and a unicorn on the side, as well as sundials over the doors

 

A beautiful church

 

Looking toward Varvarka (St Barbara Street)

 


Katherine Batalov / Expatica

I am a mid 30s mom to three and a northwest gal. We are living in Moscow until they kick us out.

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