Moscow’s Des Res Districts (3). Patriarshy Prudy.
Editor’s Welcome: Our fresh series of mini-guides to Moscow’s best inner residential areas hits the jackpot this time: the highly sought after elite area spreading out from the eponymous pond. If you have views about any of these areas, do please get in touch, and we will incorporate your knowledge, which is always welcome. – JH
A. Next to ‘Go’ on the Monopoly board: top of most people’s wish list
B. With lots of top-class expat accommodation
D. Surrounded by major roads, and Metro stations, but feels remote once inside the pale
E. Some fabulously attractive shops, if your card doesn’t melt; and you can live on fur and jewels – bread and jam are harder to find.
F. For families, several kindergartens nearby – and on all the main senior schools’ bus routes
G. Unmissable: The zoo, the pond, Pushkinskaya Ploshchad, strolling along Tverskoy Boulevard in the sun
Z . Quality and exclusivity come at an eye-watering price; and traffic is nasty round the outside.
This area, as shown on our sketch map, includes many of Moscow’s most famous sights – and best loved inner city residential areas. There is a Metro in each corner, served by Brown, Blue, Green and Violt lines, though a healthy stride from the centre of the district. It is generally agreed to be one of THE best places to live in Moscow and oozes calm, class, culture (and cost).
Patriashy Ponds will be eternally linked to Bulgakov’s epic The Master and Margarita, as our heroine warms up her newly acquired witchcraft skills by test riding her broomstick around the suburb. Do be careful who is sitting next to you on a bench, and when crossing tram tracks (if you know the book!). Let us take a gentler tour, without shaking up the neighbourhood or burning down any buildings.
This is generally agreed to be the one of most ‘des res’ district of inner Moscow, and has been for at least a century. This was reinforced in Soviet times, attracting the well connected, the ambassadors and then, elite boutique shops. It is an oasis of safe and affluent peace, surrounded/bounded by over-busy roads. These lead to everywhere that matters: central Moscow & Tverskaya; Belorussky &White City; and the Moskva-City/World Trade Centre district
The Garden Ring is the NW frontier, though nowadays produces more fumes than fruit. However the inner Boulevard Ring can still be an absolute delight for a stroll or strenuous exercise, with children, pets, bikes or running kit. Nikitskaya to the west, and Tverskaya to the east are radial themselves and are radiant with retailing. A brisk ten minutes’ walk brings any number of fancy shops, offices, theatres and more within range.
Above all, it is the ponds that draw everybody here. Ponds? One magnificent square sheet of inviting water does not merit a plural. There used to be at least three, as the name Tryokhprudny Pereulok suggests. As ever with Moscow, the battle between land and water has ebbed and flowed, and the former goat marshes were rationalized into distinct ponds in the 17th century, and two of these drained in the early 19th century. In winter or summer, this magnet buzzes with life. It has the beauty, freshness and vitality of a London square. Possibly too much vitality even. The attraction is peace and quiet; but reality is cacophonic and kaleidoscopic. One corner is an adventure playground for playing children and chatting mums, joined by a steady stream of folk who wander, jog and cycle by, and the world and his dog there for a chat, a romance, and a spot (lot) of music. The ears can get confused between competing musical genres, and getting the dress code right would confuse a Wolland. The pond’s perimeter is shared by families, romantics, tourists and the thirsty. As the old saying goes, this place would be more popular if it wasn’t so crowded.
Not to miss:
The Pond – both breathing space and magnet. Restful on the eye, the ear and the pulse rate, and a meeting place for all ages.
Streets: the clockwise square made by Tverskaya Ulitsa, Tverskoy Boulevard, Nikitskaya and Kudrinskaya Ulitsa/Krasnaya Presnaya gives you four of Moscow’s most throbbing thoroughfares, with astonishing calm between them.
Buildings & statues: tick them off as you go around a stretched definition of the district: Kudrinskaya skyscraper, the Zoo, Gorky House, the Museum of the C20th, the Chekhov House and then the theatres at Malaya Bronnaya, Mossovet’s on Bolshaya Sadovaya, the Moscow Satire, the Luna and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall; the Stanislavsky House museum, the Morosov Mansion, TASS and the Belorussky Station; and in stone, Mr and Mrs Pushkin, V. V. Mayakovsky and dozens more.
The Best metro stations: Mayakovskaya is reason enough to visit Moscow, never mind this area. After that, it is subjective, including Mendeleevskaya/Novoslobodskaya, Chekhovskaya/ Tverskaya/Pushkinkaya, Ploshchad Revolyutsii, and Belorusskaya.
Nearby? If your dream apartment doesn’t show up in this area, cross any of the four framing roads and keep looking: between Tverskaya and Dmitrovka; nearer the city across Tverskoy Boulevard, tucked in between Nikitskaya and Novy Arbat or out by the zoo all offer nearly the same ambience – but beware of high prices and traffic noise in these areas, too. Families like to live west of Tverskaya, towards the pond while young professionals look nearer to the centre of Moscow inside the Boulevard Ring
Security – with Lots of embassies and important residents (as well as you) around, the area is very safe
Resident’s Verdict: “ Moscow as theatre – everything stage perfect, staged, and made up”.