This street strikes the imagination of any passerby with the beauty and elegance of its churches. You are not just walking along any medieval street, but the most ancient in the city. Dmitry Donskoy, the commander of the Russian Army, proudly marched along this street upon his return to the Kremlin after the victorious battle against the Tatar-Mongols on the Kulikovo field in 1380. It was the turning point in the struggle against the Tatar-Mongolian invaders, the pre-condition of the end of the yoke.
This area of the city was known as Zaryadye, which meant ‘Beyond the trading rows’ located in Red Square. Street vendors and merchants inhabited this part of Moscow. A building of note is the Old English Court, a large property given by Tsar Ivan the Terrible to English merchants. It was the start of trading and diplomatic relationships between our countries.
Another edifice known as ‘Gostiny Dvor’ is also closely linked to trading. An elegant late baroque arcade was designed by Giacomo Quarenghi to replace the numerous stalls and warehouses that had stood on the site for hundreds of years. Originally, merchants from out of town used the building for wholesale trade. They lived in the building and stored the goods they had brought to sell there (hence the name ‘gostiny dvor’, which translates roughly as ‘guests’ court’). The numerous traders and merchants populating this area donated money to build a church in honour of St. Barbara, the Martyr, the patron saint of all vendors. This church gave the name to this street.