Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Red Square - Moscow

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Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

Throughout the history of Russia, several wars brought destructions and suffering for the people and the country, but after each one, Russia got up again and rebuilt its country. One perfect example of that description would be the Alexander Garden that locates near the Kremlin and Red Square, which constructed with the remains of the buildings that didn’t survive Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow. When the Grand Army had no choice but to retreat the city of Moscow, they’ve decided to demolish the city. Nearly all the significant structures inside Moscow severely damaged during that time, and some of them got destroyed entirely. Alexander I, who was one of the wise emperors of Russia, commissioned his architects to rebuild the city. He specifically appointed Joseph Bove to build an open park with the remains of the buildings near Kremlin. The Manege Square and the Alexander Garden built from those ruins.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

Manege Square is a large pedestrian open area which locates at the heart of Moscow near Kremlin and Red Square. The square surrounded by the Manege building, Moskva Hotel, the State Historical Museum, and Alexander Garden, and the Moscow State University’s headquarter. Manege Square is the critical link between the Tverskaya Street and Red Square, which is one of the principal parts of the city. The origin of the Manege Square dates back to the 18th century when it was decided to demolish the Moiseyevsky Monastery near Kremlin which was stood there from the time of Ivan the Terrible. That square is known as Moiseyevskaya Square before the time the Soviet Union decided to destroy the symbols of the bourgeois lifestyle of tsarism era. During the reconstruction of the square, several neoclassical buildings by Joseph Bové and the Grand Hotel demolished due to their plans. The size of the square was also got increased, and acquired the name from the Manege which locates at the west side of the square.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

The rest of the buildings that survived after the Soviet plan got in motion around the Manege Square, including the famous Hotel Moskva, also went under reconstruction. The square acquired the name October Square on the 50th anniversary of the Revolution. The square's name had changed to Manege when the Russian people celebrated the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 inside the square.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

The most significant reconstruction inside the square happened in 1990 when a four-story underground mall with parking lot built under the square. The glass dome at the center of the square is the mall’s roof which also formed a world clock of the Northern hemisphere. During that reconstruction, several fountains plus some mythological figures installed inside the square which attracts the attention of Muscovites and tourists even today. There are several symbolic statues inside the square as well, but the most notable one would be the statue of Zhukov on his horse which is a dedication to the Victory Parade in 1945 after the Second World War was over. 

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

The Manege Square locates at the north side of the Alexander Garden. Though the Alexander Garden is one of the favorite parks among Muscovites in terms of rest and leisure, this park is also famous for its dedication to the numerous wars in which Russia engaged including Napoleon's invasion of Russia, the First World War, and the Great Patriotic War. The emperor Alexander I commissioned Joseph Bove to design a large park with the wastes that the Grand Army left behind after departing Moscow.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

The first monument that one would face if they enter the Alexander Garden from the Manege Square is the Monument of the Unknown Soldiers and the Eternal Fire which brought from the Field of Mars in Saint Petersburg to the Alexander Garden in Moscow. The monument is for the anonymous soldiers who fought and died outside of Moscow and stopped the Nazis from penetrating Russia further and reach the city of Moscow. The next monument is the Ruined Grotto, which is a dedication to the French Invasion of Russia in 1812. At first, one might not understand the link between the grotto to the war, but when they find out about the material that used to construct the grotto, they would understand the connection. Joseph Bove built the Ruined Grotto with the remains of the building that the Grand Army destroyed before leaving the city, so each brick, stone, or any other material that used to build the grotto is from the beautiful buildings that didn’t survive the French invasion in 1812.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

There is an obelisk which erected in front of the Ruined Grotto that dedicated to the Romanov family. This obelisk had the names of all the Romanov tsars and emperors from the 17th century to the 20th century written on it alongside the Romanov’s coat of arms and a sculpture of a two-headed golden eagle on top of it. Though after the revolution, the royal names and the golden eagle replaced by the names of revolutionary leaders, philosophers, engineers, and scientists of the Soviet Union, in 2013 a replica of the original obelisk erected instead of the crafted one. The Ruined Grotto has a colonnade, which is one of the tourists’ popular spots of the garden in which they would have a pleasant view of the garden. There is another figure near the obelisk, which is the sculpture of Patriarch Hermogenes, who was the patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in the Time of Troubles. He got arrested by the Polish Army when the Polish army invaded Moscow. He refused to cooperate with the Poles and began to send letters to other cities of Russia, encouraging them to fight for their freedom. He eventually died because of hunger inside the prison, only days before the liberation of Moscow. His sculpture is the last major symbolic sculpture in the upper garden of the Alexander Garden.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

Unlike the upper garden, the middle and the lower ones don’t have that many symbols inside them. The statue of the Alexander I who the park acquired its name from him placed inside the middle garden. Sadly, tourists are not allowed to visit the lower garden.

 

Manege Square and Alexander Garden - Kremlin - Moscow

If you ever got tired of the Kremlin or Red Square crowded area and needed a quiet place to relax for a few minutes before resuming your journey through Moscow, make sure to check out the Alexander Garden, which is only a few steps away from Red Square. The underground mall of Manege Square is also a great shopping center for tourists. The fountains and ditches inside the park help Muscovites and tourists during the sultry days of Moscow as well. The Alexander Garden is the first urban park of Moscow and also one of the first architectural war monuments in Russia. We recommend everyone to check out one of the Alexander Garden, Zaryadye Park, or VDNKh in their travel to Moscow and include at least one of these parks in their Russia tour program.