Menshikov Tower

The Church of the Archangel Gabriel on Chistye Prudy (Menshikov Tower) is an Orthodox church in honour of the Archangel Gabriel, located in Moscow. Alexander Menshikov ordered it in 1707, and it was built according to the project of Ivan Zarudny. Since 1948, it has belonged to the Antioch Compound.

The wooden church in the name of the Archangel Gabriel on Pogany Ponds was first mentioned in the census of 1551. By 1657, it was rebuilt in stone and expanded two years later. In 1699, Alexander Menshikov bought a courtyard from the Dmitriev-Mamonovs in the neighbouring quarter on Myasnitskaya Street for two thousand roubles on the site of the current Central Post Office. Furthermore, the Church of the Archangel Gabriel, which stood on the border of these lands, became the house church of his family.

Gradually, he expanded his possessions, and the temple was renovated in 1701. However, three years later, Menshikov decided to build a new church on the site of the old one, for the icon of the Mother of God, which he brought from Polotsk.

By his order, Poganye Ponds was also cleaned up, into which waste from nearby butcher shops and slaughterhouses was dumped, after which it was renamed Chistye (Clean).

The temple was built from 1704 to 1707 and was made in the Naryshkin baroque style. An artel of masons from Kostroma and Yaroslavl under the guidance of architect Ivan Zarudny erected the building. Domenico Trezzini, G. Pando and B. Scala also participated in the design of the church.

The Swiss sculptor Francesco Fontana decorated the interior of the church, which the people called Menshikov Tower and “the sister of the bell tower of Ivan the Great.”

The tower became the tallest building in Moscow. Its height reached 84 meters, which was 3 meters higher than the Ivan bell tower. The church originally had five stone levels: a nave, a square tower, three lower octagonal tiers, and two upper octagons made of wood. The top of the tower was decorated with a 30-meter spire crowned with the figure of an angel with a cross in his hand.

In 1708, a clock with chimes from England was installed in the tower and 50 bells were hung.

Nearest metro: Chistye Prudy, Turgenevskaya, Sretensky Boulevard,

Attractions around: Bolshoi TheatreManezhnaya SquarePloschad Revolyutsii (square)State Duma buildingHouse of the UnionsTretyakovskiy proezdCentral Children’s StoreLubyanka BuildingMetropol Hotel, Red SquareTverskaya streetKremlin.

See also architecture of Moscowchurches and cathedrals of Moscow

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