Pushkinskaya Square. Beginning of Strastnoy Boulevard

Stanislav Krasilnikov/ТАSS
Just 100 years ago, instead of the expansive Pushkinskaya Ploschad (Pushkinskaya Square), this was a small patch of the Strastnaya Ploschad (Strastnaya Square), where the cabmen huddled together, and there was trading in hay and firewood. The greater part of the square was occupied by the Strastnoy Monastery. In 1931, the monastery was demolished, and a square garden was planted in its stead along with an open stage for concerts and movie screenings. In 1961, the open stage was replaced with the Rossiya movie theatre. Back in the early 19th century, beyond the monastery stood the Sennaya Ploschaad (Sennaya Square) that was in bad repute with contemporaries, as the passers-by were regularly robbed here at night.

In 1871, Elizaveta Naryshkina used her own money to plant a large square garden in place of the square, and the garden received the name of Naryshkinskaya in her honour. Vladimir Gilyarovsky in his seminal book "Moscow and Muscovites," called Naryshkinskaya Ploschad (Naryshkinskaya Square) "the best of Moscow's boulevards." To this day, the short Strastnoy Bulvar remains Moscow's widest and one of its quietest.