This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
A stroll down the short Stoleshnikov Lane will lead shoppers to luxury boutiques and upscale shops within a quaint historic district in Moscow. While today purveyors of premium goods welcome curious consumers to peruse their shelves, the Lane has a long history entwined with artisanship, as it was first inhabited by the ‘stoleshniks’ who were tablecloth makers for the Royal Court.
Before grand stone buildings accentuated with romantic lanterns dotted the Lane, the quarter was home to wooden houses occupied by lower-class commoners. The first mention of the Lane can be dated back to 1504 in the will of Grand Prince Ivan III, who is remembered for expanding the territory of Russia during his rule. Even the stoleshniks were affected by this era of expansion, when many aristocrats extended their properties, essentially redeveloping the Lane.
Moscow continued to expand well into the 18th century, and as the nobility moved into Stoleshnikov Lane, wooden houses were replaced by stone buildings, slowly forcing the commoners out of the area. Soon, noble families like the Trubetskoy, Kozlovsky, and Dolgoruky families came to inhabit the district. When the Fire of 1812 ravaged the city, the construction of stone houses increased.
By the late 19th century, the Lane had all but become a shopping district and a destination for premier bookstores alongside many of the historic homes the have survived the centuries. Frequented by writers, poets, and Russia’s most famous composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, these homes still stand at the corner of Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street and Stoleshnikov Lane. Once home to humble tablecloth makers, Stoleshnikov Lane is today renowned for its high end luxury.
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