© Wikimedia/Skirienko
© Wikimedia/Skirienko

Shabolovka, an old peaceful street in the center of Moscow

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Shabolovka Street is located not far away from the Garden Ring and Gorky Park, the most important ones in Moscow, and it’s the very center of the Russian capital. Nevertheless, it’s very quiet, comparing to other buzzing neighborhoods, and as soon as you get there, you immediately have the feeling of coziness and calmness. It’s easily recognizable from different points of the city thanks to the dominant Shukhov radio tower, which is still iconic for many Russians, as the symbol of past times. And of course, it’s not the only thing to see there. Being an old peaceful street in the center of Moscow, Shabolovka has this Soviet-era like atmosphere, and, at the same time, it hosts a huge number of modern eateries and shops to spend some time there.

© istock/Moskvich19771977
© istock/Moskvich19771977

History of Shabolovka

© Wikimedia/NVO
© Wikimedia/NVO

Long ago, this neighborhood wasn’t considered central at all. Shabolovka was formed down the road leading to the village called Shabolovo, where the street’s name comes from. By the way, this village doesn’t exist anymore, being merged with the ever-growing Moscow city. The street started shaping in the 17th century, which makes it one of the oldest in Moscow, and the land was a property of the Donskoy Monastery located nearby. When they started renting it out, many private buildings appeared, but Shabolovka was mostly covered with vegetable gardens. Nowadays, it’s quite hard to believe that, even though almost all the houses on Shabolovka were made of wood, they hadn’t suffered the 1812 fire of Moscow caused by Napoleon troops.

The Shukhov radio tower

© istock/vladj55
© istock/vladj55

As time was passing by, Shabolovka got developed. Buildings made of stone started appearing, and by the beginning of the 20th century, it hosted a mechanical plant and a brewery, as well as the tram depot, now located at the beginning of the street. During the Soviet era, many residential houses were built, together with the confectionary factory. But what is the most important for this area, the Shukhov radio tower was erected between 1920-1922. Made out of gridshell steel, and thanks to its hyperboloid structure, it became a symbol of Russian constructivism. Sadly, now it’s slowly being destroyed by the corrosion, that’s why the broadcasting from there stopped many years ago. Nevertheless, the Shukhov radio tower remains iconic for many generations of people who remember it as a symbol of the Shabolovka TV center, which was the most important one in the USSR, until the Ostankino TV center was inaugurated. Nowadays, it’s very sad and nostalgic to see this fragile steel lady being so lonely, and only remember the time when it was basking in the glory.

Shabolovka today

© Wikimedia/Miruva
© Wikimedia/Miruva

Today, Shabolovka remains a cozy street, bringing back some nostalgic feel. It’s not that busy with traffic, and it doesn’t look very modern, although, on your way down, you’ll find some office buildings and eateries, together with residential houses and different institutions. It definitely has its charm, being the old peaceful street in the center of Moscow. If you want to time-travel, and get away from a busy part of the capital, welcome to Shabolovka

Shukhov radio tower, Moscow
Shukhov radio tower, Moscow
Ulitsa Shukhova, 8, Moskva, Russia, 115162

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The author

Maria Selezneva

Maria Selezneva

Hi, I am Maria, or Masha, as Russian speaking people call me. I’m your local guide for must-sees as well as off-the-beaten-track places in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I’ll show you my favourite destinations in both cities, where you can feel the true spirit of local traditions.

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