The Presnenskii neighborhood is located right in the center of Moscow. It is a large neighborhood, home to many interesting buildings, parks, and monuments.
The first time we went to the region, we got off the metro at 1905 Street, and were immediately confronted by a huge monument to the 1905 Revolution. It takes up the better part of a city block, a formidable testimony to the world-shaking events of 1905.
This roughly hewn obelisk reads: “To the heroes of the December armed uprising of 1905.” This, like the bigger monument, memorializes the beginning of the Russian Revolution.
At one end of the park where the rock and statue of Lenin was this wall which holds a quote from Lenin, which translates to: “The feat of the Presnya workers was not in vain, their sacrifices were not in vain”.
Had it not been for the wall with Lenin’s quote, the obelisk, or the statue of the two children, it would be difficult to know that the neighborhood (or at least the part we were in) holds historical or cultural significance. The park is surrounded by residential buildings, and none of the buildings near the station or nearby the park stand out. Aside from the monuments, this area of Presnenskii was overall unremarkable.
We managed to ask an elderly woman in the park what she thought of the area, and she was very positive. She said she likes living in the area, and that there is a senior center where they can dance and eat. She also mentioned that many different people live in the neighborhood, but specify what “different” meant. Throughout the park were also several painters, though they were not painting pictures of the neighborhood. Compared to other areas of Moscow, this area of Presnenskii was quiet and laid-back, which is probably what makes it a good area to live in, away from the buzz of the rest of the city.
The second time we went to the neighborhood, it was with our student assistant Liza Kurakina. She showed us the well-loved zoo, where we saw plenty of Russian families and couples enjoying the afternoon, and we even got to see polar bears.
Below is the TASS building, center of the Russian news agency that has been around since 1902. TASS is the largest Russian news agency, and it is owned by the government of Russia.
This is also the region of Moscow where the poet Pushkin was married. The church is the yellow building on the left of the picture, hidden by trees. In the center of the picture is a monument to the wedding of Pushkin to Natalia Goncharova.
Monuments are frequently found in this region, and so we inferred that this region has been significant for image-makers of the state, at least since the Soviet period. Though, the monument to Pushkin and his wife also shows a desire by the state to celebrate the older history of the region. The Presnenskii region is an interesting mix of these older monuments, churches, and homes with big box stores and ordinary people.