The columns of the city gate
Gleam white; the sleigh,
more swift than steady,
Bumps down Tverskaya Street already
This street, as described by Alexander Pushkin in his novel-in-verse “Evgeniy Onegin”, is the main route in the direction of Tver, and is the center of its own commercial district. It is said to date back to before the Mongol Invasion in the 12th century. Indeed, it was a principal road when Tver was among the leading regional commercial rivals of Moscow during the latter days of the Golden Horde.
Past sentry-boxes now they dash
Past shops and lamp posts, serfs who lash
Their nags, huts, mansions, monasteries,
Fat merchants, Cossacks, boulevards
Tverskaya Street became the hub of social life in Moscow in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the Miloslavskaya and Naryshkina factions battled for the control of Russia, eventually resulting in the rule of Peter the Great. By the era of Catherine the Great, at the end of the 18th century, the thoroughfare stood not only as the road by which Russian royalty traveled when going to and from St. Petersburg, it also became the center of prestigious residences of rich nobles - a Muscovite version of Manhattan. It remained that way after the Fire of 1812, when planners ensured that the homes of the wealthy were rebuilt along the northward road.
Old women, boys with cheeks like cherries,
Lions on gates with great stone jaws
And crosses black with flocks of daws*
Today, many modern structures maintain addresses on this still-prestigious street, including the Izvestiya Building and the Central Telegraph Building. It intersects with the Boulevard Ring (and Tverskaya Boulevard) at Pushkin Square, regarded as one of the busiest squares in the world. Here, as Pushkin noted in Evgeniy Onegin, all types of Muscovites can be found, including students and professionals, models and politicians, visitors from every corner of the world, and of course, the omnipresent Russian babushka!
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* Taken from Eugene Onegin - a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin