Arbat Street

Stary Arbat

This old street is mentioned in numerous memoires and literary works, and played a special role in the lives on many famous people. The likes of Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Bulat Okudzhava and many others at different times either lived or were often visitors here. Memorial flats of Alexander Pushkin, Andrei Bely, Alexander Scriabin, as well as house museums of Marina Tsvetaeva and Mikhail Lermontov.

Initially Arbat was a craftsman neighbourhood, but in the 17th century it had become a shopping street, and in the late 18th century the merchant dwellers were gradually replaced by the gentry. Arbat was the place of residence to many noble Moscow families including the Dolgorukovs, the Tolstoys, the Golitsyns, the Gagarins. By the late 19th century Arbat has acquired the architectural design similar to the one which can be seen here today. Since 1986 the street is closed for traffic. It is covered with 25 thousand square meters of tiles made on special order and paved with no cement.

Many interesting mansions, which used to belong to famous Moscow families, and guest houses are found in this street. Number 9 (built in 1873-74) housed a cafe, called Arbatsky podvalchik (Arbat Cellar), frequented in the 1920s by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Alexander Blok, Sergei Yesenin, Isadora Duncan, Andrei Bely. Number 26, next to Princess Turandot Fountain, is the Vakhtangov Theatre. Another interesting building is number 35 – former Filatov’s guest house, which is commonly dubbed as the House with Knights. This Arbat’s landmark structure, erected in the early 20th century, features neo-Gothic elements and sculptures of knights on the facade. Before 1917 it boasted of lavishing interiors with stained glass windows, huge mirrors, marble staircases, lifts, spacious apartments, and after the revolution they were turned into communal flats. Nowadays it is the Actor’s House. In 1909 Alexander Khanzhonkov opened Khudozhestvenny cinema theatre, which still operates. It was here, where the first sound film was shown in 1931. And in 1929 a mansion was built in Krivoarbatsky Lane, which later became the monument to the Soviet avant-garde, called the Melnikov House after its architect Konstantin Melnikov. Today, Arbat is a street of historic buildings, museums, restaurants, gift shops. Unfortunately, since 2016 street musicians, performers and artists are not allowed to work here.

Address: Arbat Street (ulitsa Arbat)
How to reach: Arbatskaya and Smolenskaya metro stations
Coordinates: 55.749470, 37.591521