Old Arbat Street
The Arbat located between Arbatskie Vorota Square and Smolenskaya Square is one of the most famous streets in Moscow. The Arbat is also one of the symbols of old Moscow, which was celebrated in poems, novels, songs and movies.
Nowadays the Arbat is the name of the pedestrian street, but actually the Arbat is the whole district of Moscow that marked its 500th birthday in 1993.
The Arbat Street ranges among the oldest in the Russian capital. Its exotic name comes from an Arabian word "arbad" ("rabad") that means "suburb, estate". This word was probably brought to Moscow by Crimean Tatars or Arabian merchants in the 15th century. In the middle of the 17th century there were attempts to rename the street Smolenskaya, but this name did not find acceptance. Originally, the Arbat was the place where merchants and craftspeople lived, but by the end of the 18th century they were replaced by the noblemen. In the middle of the 19th century the Arbat turned into the prestigious and fashionable place. The richest and the most powerful Russian families preferred to have their mansions here. The Arbat was a peaceful and quiet district where the relatively small mansions in the Empire style and wooden houses surrounded by gardens were put up. The area was popular among the doctors, lawyers, writers and poets. In different times, the Arbat was the place of stay for Alexander Pushkin, Sergey Rakhmaninov, Alexander Skryabin, Nikolay Gogol, Lev Tolstoy, Mikhail Saltikov-Shchedrin, Anton Chekhov, and Alexander Block. Life of famous director
Evgeniy Vakhtangov and his theater was closely connected to the Arbat.
By the end of the 19th century the Arbat started to approach its modern look. A lot of shops and many-storied tenement-houses were constructed.
At the time of the Soviet power the look of the Old Arbat underwent irreversible changes.