Historic Buildings on Varvarka Street 

Varvarka is among the oldest streets of Moscow, with great history hiding behind its every corner. 

We have already posted two articles on the trading rows of Varvarka Street and the Chambers of the Romanov boyars, whose dynasty had been ruling Russia more than 300 years.

It is high time to throw light on some interesting buildings situated on Varvarka Street.

The church of the martyr Barbara 

There is a church behind Saint Basil’s Cathedral on the right side of Varvarka Street, which is the Church of the Martyr Barbara.

This church was built in 1804 instead of the old one of the same name that had been erected in the 16th century.

It is most likely that Varvarka Street was named after the church.

A legend says that Saint Barbara was a pagan’s daughter. She embraced Christianity, but her father did not accept her choice. He confined Barbara into a tower, but it did not shatter her faith. Her pagan father was enraged and beheaded his own daughter. At the same moment he faced divine retribution and was struck by a lightning. His daughter Barbara was canonized. 

1 The church of the martyr Barbara

The church of the martyr Barbara

The Chambers of the Old English Court 

The Chambers of the Old English Court (there is a historical museum inside) are located a few meters away from the roadway of Varvarka Street.

The oldest buildings belonged to a Russian merchant who erected them in the 15th century.

In the middle of the 16th century, Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) granted these chambers to Moscow Company with its headquarters in London.

English merchants were actively trading with Russia. In fact, they had been holding a monopoly on the Russian market for a whole century in comparison with other European countries. While Russian merchants were learning the English language, their English counterparts were mastering Russian.

When King Charles I was executed, the Russian monarch did not come to terms with this crime and exiled English merchants from Russia.

Later the first Russian Emperor, Peter the Great, founded the first arithmetical school in the Chambers of the Old English Court. Nowadays the Russian mathematical school keeps up its reputation as one of the best in the world.

2 The Chambers of the Old English Court

The Chambers of the Old English Court

3 The Chambers of the Old English Court

The Chambers of the Old English Court

The church of Maxim the Blessed / Maxim the Confessor on Varvarka Street 

Maxim the Blessed lived in Moscow and was often called Maxim the Naked since he barely wore any clothes. His deeds remain unknown, but he was buried in one of the churches situated on Varvarka in the middle of the 15th century. One century later Maxim the Blessed was canonized and the church was named after him. More specifically, there are two aisles: the first is named after Maxim the Blessed, God’s fool from Moscow, and the second is named in the honor of Maxim the Confessor, a well-known Christian Saint.

The modern building was erected in the end of the 17th century.

4 The church of Maxim the Blessed

The church of Maxim the Blessed

During the Soviet time, the interior decoration of the church was destroyed. Luckily, when a layer of plaster was removed, restoration artists found some amazing frescoes.

5 The church of Maxim the Blessed

The fresco found under a layer of plaster supposedly depicting Alexander Nevsky

The Znamensky cathedral of the Znamensky monastery 

Initially, the Znamensky church of the Romanov boyars had been located on the exact place where the Znamensky cathedral appeared. The church was named after the icon of Our Lady of the Sign, which is the family icon of the Romanovs.

Later the Znamenskaya church was rebuilt and became known as the Znamensky cathedral. Some buildings within the Chambers of the Romanov boyars were granted to the Znamensky monastery that was founded there.

The Znamensky cathedral was destroyed by fire and was restored only in 1679.

6 The Znamensky cathedral of the Znamensky monastery

The Znamensky cathedral of the Znamensky monastery

7 The Znamensky cathedral of the Znamensky monastery

The Znamensky cathedral of the Znamensky monastery

8 The Znamensky monastery

The Znamensky monastery

9 The Znamensky monastery

The Znamensky monastery

The church of Saint George on Pskov Hill 

The place where the church is located was inhabited by the representatives of Pskov.

The church of Saint George on Pskov Hill was built on money gathered by the flock. Then it was renovated in the middle of the 12th century. Historians claim that initially this church was made of wood and then it was replaced with a stone one (the middle of the 13th century).

10 The church of Saint George on Pskov Hill

The church of Saint George on Pskov Hill

The bell tower which was built to the church in the 19th century is of particular interest. It belongs to the pseudo-Gothic style and differs from the traditional Russian church with five domes. Back in the 19th century many cathedrals got additional bell towers to make them more visible among other buildings.

11 The bell tower of the church of Saint George on Pskov Hill

The bell tower of the church of Saint George on Pskov Hill

A walk along Varvarka Street will not take a lot of time, but it will give you a chance to have a look at the traditional architecture and become a little closer to the Russian history.

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