You flow like a river with your strange name
And your asphalt is like transparent river water.
Oh, Arbat, my Arbat, you are my calling,
You are my joy and my sorrow.
The people walking you are not exalted,
Their heels click, they hurry on their way.
Oh, Arbat, my Arbat, you are my religion
Your roadway lies beneath me.
I will never be cured of loving you,
Even as I love forty thousand other roads.
Oh, Arbat, my Arbat, you are my homeland,
No one could ever reach the end of you.
Arbat Street is a historic pedestrian street in the
middle of Arbatskaya District of Moscow. In the Russian culture
Arbat Street has a significant meaning as a gathering place and a
symbol for artists, art, political protest and self- expression. It
was first mentioned in the 15th century (burning of Church of Saint
Nicholas on the Sands in 1493) and today it is considered one of the
oldest streets of the Russian capital. The etymology of the name is
uncertain, but it is most likely come from an Arabic word arbad
(أرباض ) that can be translated as outskirts or suburbs in reference
to Moscow historic nucleus- Kremlin. It was settled by immigrants
from the East and South of Russia. They differed in ethnic
background, but most of them followed Islam as their religion and
thus had close ties with Arabic culture. In the 16th century Arbat
and surrounding streets were inhabited by craftsmen. It is still
visible in the names of side streets of Arvat. Plotnikov Lane (Carpernter
Lane in English) comes from a region where carpenters lived in
several houses. Denejniy Street (Money Lane) was inhabited by
masters of Government Mint, Serebryany Street (Silver Lane) was a
place for silver workers and so on.
In the 19th century Arbat streets turns into a long
market where craftsmen sold their items. It was a bustling, noisy
business center. Many famous Russians moved here including Russian
poet A.S. Pushkin, Marina Tsvetaea, Mikhail Lermontov and many
others. Arbat was also had numerous famous restaurants, hotels and
other commercial buildings. In the 20th century the fame of Arbat
doesn't fade. Poets Andrew Bely and Bulat Okudzhava live here and
further romanticise Arbat with its streets and old buildings.
In 1980's the street becomes a new symbol of
Perestroyka and new changes in Soviet Union. It was one of the first
places where people were allowed to trade without control of the
government. Additionally it became the stage for numerous rock
groups that were allowed to perform in public for the first time.
Today it still serves as a center stage for various artists who
gather here. Some sing, some read poetry, others bring their art and
sell it on the street.