Patriarch Ponds

The area of the existing pond is 9,900 square metres (107,000 sq ft); the depth is about two meters

Patriarch Ponds
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Patriarshiye Ponds is an affluent residential area in downtown Presnensky District of Moscow, Russia. 

Because of the area's proximity to Tverskaya Street business district, the area is popular with expatriates.



The area is named after the seventeenth century Patriarch's Goat Sloboda (Патриаршая Козья слобода) located on the Goat Marsh (Козье болото).

This marsh once connnected by a brook to the Presnya River west; by 1739, when the first topographic map was compiled, the brook disappeared and the marsh separated from Presnya.

The pond
pinterest button The pond Fisss, Public Domain

People considered the swamp as an anomalous zone; apparently this caused a proverb «Фома поспешил, да людей насмешил – увяз на Патриарших» («Thomas has hastened, but made people laugh — he sticked in Patriarshy»).

19th century

The pond acquired its present shape and was cleaned up in 1830-31, a part of a plan to rebuild Moscow after the Fire of 1812. The buildings around the pond were wooden; stone construction proceeded slowly through the second part of nineteenth century. In winters, the Russian Gymnastic Society operated a skating rink on the frozen pond.

Statue of Ivan Krylov, by Andrey Drevin
pinterest button Statue of Ivan Krylov, by Andrey Drevin Ghirlandajo, GNU 1.2

At the turn of the century, cheap rental buildings around the pond were occupied by the University students. During the December 1905, the area was held by left-wing student militia and became a war zone. The Ponds also housed Moscow's first hospital for children (the Filatov Hospital, which later relocated to nearby Garden Ring).

Modern history

Mikhail Bulgakov and his wife Yelena Shilovskaya lived in this area in the 1930s.

Yermolayevsky Lane, Zholtovsky's Lions House
pinterest button Yermolayevsky Lane, Zholtovsky's Lions House   NVO, CC BY-SA 2.5

From the later 1930s to the 1950s, the lowrise buildings were torn down. The two most important Soviet-era buildings constructed were The House of Lions, a luxurious residence for Red Army Marshals (1945, designed by Zholtovsky workshop) and the 1935 Aviazhilstroy Apartments, a yellow postconstructivist high-rise by Vladimir Vladimirov (the building, conceived by Panteleimon Golosov, was completed in part. See original design).

The boathouse on the ponds was built in wood in 1946. It was not until the 1980s that it was rebuilt in stone.

Forbidden to talk with strangers
pinterest button Forbidden to talk with strangers Dimа, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2000—2002, the controversial Patriarch Apartments were built (design by Sergei Tkachenko); this 13-story building, crowned with a 1/50 scale model of Tatlin's Tower is also known as Alla Pugacheva home.

Useful Information

Patriarshiye Ponds
Patriarch's Ponds
Russian: Патриаршие пруды


For the last 200 years, there has been only one pond, although, as the name of Tryokhprudny Pereulok (Трёхпрудный переулок, lit. Three-Pond Lane) suggests, there used to be more.

Get in

The Ponds area is accessible via the Moscow Metro Mayakovskaya (eastern exit) and Pushkinskaya stations.

Bulgakov legacy

The Pond is one of the main settings of Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita. Monuments to Bulgakov and to Ivan Krylov have been erected near the pond. 

The Master and Margarita begins with a tram accident by the pond. Although there was never any regular tram service or permanent tram tracks around the pond, for a short time in 1930s, there was a temporary service track used for night storage.