The story of the street begins in the 14th century when it was a road from Moscow to the city of Tver. After the Tver principality was annexed to Moscow Principality the meaning of the route had considerably increased. It caused certain changes in the social status of the street inhabitants and its appearance as well. Shabby wooden dwellings were replaced by mansions, hotels, modern shops. Starting from the 16th century Tverskaya had become the main trade route of Moscow, the route for the Russian tsars entering Moscow for coronations and other important events. It had become a great honor for an architect to get a commission to build on the street, but the street architecture was not harmonious at all, one could find an ugly looking merchant house that neighbored a beautiful aristocrat’s mansion, an old park could be next door to a kitchen garden. The turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries hasn’t left any significant trace in the street architecture. The main structures would be houses with the apartments for rent and the modern shops. The street was crooked and narrow, but first to be electrified in 1896. After the October Revolution the street got a new name of Maxim Gorky. The old name of the street was given back in 1991. The street was the first where the large-scale reconstruction started in 1930s. In the result of the reconstruction Tverskaya was straightened up and widened up to 16-18 meters. The new avenue had become 40-60 meter wide.
No.5 was built in 1805 as a palace for princes Dolgoruki. The house was twice rebuilt in the 19th cent. After 80s of the 19th century was known as a hotel and rooms for rent. Now it’s a drama theatre named after the greatest dramatic actress Maria Yermolova. (c 1938)
Next is the hotel ‘Ritz-Carlton’, that is built on the place of the famous ‘Intourist’ hotel. Now it is a 5-star hotel twice as low as the former ‘Intourist’ Hotel. The hotel has 5 underground levels with parking lots, restaurants and saunas. The total area of the hotel is 30, 000 square meters. The investments are 130,000,000 USD.
No.6 was built in 1907 in Old Russian Revival. Up to 1917 it housed a joint stock venture ‘Khanzhonkov And Co.’, the owner of which was known for his love for cinematograph and founded the first Russian enterprise for movie production in 1907. In 1917 the income of Khanzhonkov from this business came to 2,000,000 silver roubles. After 1917 the film factory got nationalized by Bolsheviks. Besides, House No.6 was the first to be moved backwards in order to make Tverskaya Street wider in the 30s. The weight of the building was 23 tons.
One of the first public buildings constructed in the Soviet times is the one of the Central Telegraph Office (1937).
The two buildings on the left have a very interesting story in the background. Their ground floor is faced with dark-red granite which was brought to Russia from Scandinavia by order of Hitler who wanted to build a triumphal arch in the center of the city, while the rest of Moscow was destined to be flooded.
Ahead is the first square of the street, named Tverskaya Square. In the center is the monument to the founder of Moscow Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. The monument was built in 1954. Vis-a-vis is the Moscow City Hall, the former residence of the Governor General. The building was designed by Kazakov in a classical style. During the street reconstruction in 1930s it was moved 14 meters back. The original Kazakov design was altered, the wings and the porch were removed, and the two more storeys were added.
No.10 is a former bakery and a coffee house of merchant Philippov. He supplied Moscow Governor General with bread. In the Soviet times the building housed Hotel ’Tsentralnaya’
No.12 was built for merchants Bakhrushin who were famous for their philanthropy. For social and educationalist projects they donated 2,000,000 rubles.
To the right is the pinkish building of Yelisseyev’s food store, No.14. It was named after its owner merchant Yelisseyev. Before that the building belonged to Zinaida Volkonskaya, the princess. She was a talented woman, and she arranged literary parties. Among her guests was famous Alexander Pushkin.
No. 15 is a former hotel ‘Drezden’ where a great pianist and composer Robert Shuman and his wife Clara stayed.
No.16 housed Russian Actors’ Society (before the fire of 1991) and a restaurant which was very popular.
Ahead is a square named after the great Russian poet, the father of Russian literary language Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin Square was originally called Passion Square after the convent which once occupied this site. The convent was founded by the father of Peter the Great in 1654. As well as many other religious places it was demolished in 1937. The architectural complex of the square consists of the publishing house Izvestia (the News), the old building of which was erected in 1927, the new one – in 1975. The other one is the church of the Nativity of Our lady in Putinki, the late 17th century. This is one of the best examples of tent-shaped churches. The opposite side of Tverskaya Street is the beginning of Tverskoy Boulevard. By the early 19th century all 10 boulevards were finished and became a real beauty of the capital. Along the boulevards houses in the style of late classicism rose that were later replaced by merchants’ houses and rental houses.
No. 19, the corner building is a former hotel ‘Grenada’.
No.18 is an interesting building with original window-frames, moldings, and other features of Art Nouveau. This was the house of publisher and educationalist Ivan Sytin who became famous for printing cheap books for lower class.
No.20 is a former residence of Moscow Civil Governor. Originally built in 1770 the house was rebuilt many times.
No.21.On the opposite side of the street is the former English Club, the building which was mentioned by Leo Tolstoy in "War and Peace”, by Pushkin in ‘Eugene Onegin” and frequented by many outstanding people in the 18th and the 19th centuries. Now it houses the Museum of Modern History.
No.23 was built in the early 19th century. Then it housed a printing workshop. The building we are looking at is a reconstruction of 1916. It was a cinema hall, then Children’s Theater run by its founder Natalia Sats, after that it housed Theatre of Young Spectator. Today one half of the building is a theater, the other half is taken by the offices.
No.28 was built in the 70s of the 19th century. There the actors of Maly Drama Theater, a famous Russian architect Shehtel and writer Paustovsky used to live. In 1927-1928 there was the first international exhibition of space ships’ and other flying mechanisms’ projects.
The next section of the street comes up to Triumphal Square, that was called Mayakovskaya in soviet times. It was formed in the late 16th century by the Tver Gate of Earthen Town. In 1721 in order to commemorate Russian victory over Sweden the first wooden triumphal gate was erected there. After 1824 the square was widened during the reconstruction. It turned into a huge market place where people traded cobbles among other goods. The square was not paved and remained dusty in summer and muddy when it rained. By the turn of the 20th century the square acquired a new look. It turned into a place for educational and cultural institutions: it had a theater, a circus, a cinema hall, a music hall. Some of them can still be found here.
The corner building to the left is the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall; next to it are the Satire Theatre, and the Mossovet Theatre. The Tchaikovsky Hall was built in 1930s and seats 1,650. Here symphonic concerts and organ recitals are given by the finest performers in the country and abroad. On the opposite side of the square is the Peking Hotel which was built in 1951. In 1958 the monument for Vladimir Mayakovsky, the revolutionary poet, was built on the square.
The next section is called Tverskaya-Yamskaya, and the majority of the buildings here are the late 19th and early 20th century tenements (apartment houses). During the 1930s and the 1950s a few multi-story houses went up here. The cranes once more appeared here in 1970s at the final stages of the reconstruction of this street.
Byelorussian Station Square was laid on the site of the former Tver Gate in honor of the ceremonial home-coming of the Russian troops from Paris after the victory over Napoleon. It was built in 1870 when the railway line linking Moscow with Smolensk was built here. The square bears the memory of the ceremonial meetings of Chkalov and Gromov, famous for their non-stop flight across the North Pole to the US; the meeting of the members of the first legendary expedition to the North Pole over the drifting ice-floes of the Arctic Sea, and the most unforgettable welcome of the heroes of WWII returning from the front at its end. In the center of the square is the monument to Maxim Gorky built in 1951.