Thursday, 14 June 2012

Patriarch's Pond

Sorry I haven’t written for a while. Wendy’s work took us away again, this time to St Petersburg and Helsinki. I’ll write a post about those places when I’ve had a chance to browse through the photographs.

It has been warm with passing thunderstorms in Moscow the past few days. The occasional downpours have made it fairly humid.

I thought today I’d write a post about a small park near our apartment called Patriarch’s Pond. 

Patriarch's Pond. The building contains a restaurant.
The Patriarch is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the past he may have lived close to the pond and I assume the Church must have once owned it. It seems they stocked it with fish. Wikipedia also says an 18th century Patriarch’s goat, called Sloboda, used to hang out here.

Originally a swampy piece of ground, after the fire that razed most of Moscow during Napoleon’s 1812 occupation (exactly 200 years ago), this area was revamped. Apparently 3 ponds were created, which were later amalgamated into the single one seen today.

When the Bolsheviks took control in 1917, pleasant evenings fishing by the pond with his trusty goat were over for the Patriarch. The pond was renamed Pioneer Pond, only getting its original name back with the end of the Soviet Union. 

More recently, there was a shopping mall and car park proposal for the site, which was thankfully canned. As Moscow drivers would rather park on the footpath than pay to use a parking station, it would have been a pointless construction anyway.

The park is now within an affluent residential district, not far from Mayakovskaya metro station. In the winter it freezes and is groomed for skating. With the arrival of summer, the kiddies playground is getting a lot of use, as are the paths. It’s a pleasant place for an evening stroll for both Muscovites and expats.

Skating on Patriarch's Pond. February 2012
Slippery dip on to the pond
The plaques show scenes from tales by a popular 19th century Russian fairy story writer named Ivan Krylov.

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