Ulitsa Novi Arbat
Image by Miradortigre
Moscow street view, with Mercury City Tower in the background.
New Arbat Avenue (Russian: Но́вый Арба́т) is a major street in Moscow running west from Arbat Square on the Boulevard Ring to Novoarbatsky Bridge on the opposite bank of the Moskva River. The modern six-lane avenue (originally named Kalinin Prospekt from 1968-1994), along with two rows of high-rise buildings, was constructed between 1962 and 1968, and was literally cut through the old, narrow streets of the Arbat District.
A modern avenue running parallel to the picturesque Arbat Street was first envisioned in Joseph Stalin’s 1935 Master Plan, however the project was delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War, and work did not begin until the late 1950s. The first stage of the project, the Novoarbatsky Bridge, was completed in 1957. Between 1957 and 1963, the city redeveloped land on the opposite (western) bank of the Moskva, creating the beginning of Kutuzovsky Prospekt, and completing the main part of New Arbat by 1968.
The southern side of the avenue (excluding the historical buildings of the Praga Restaurant and the Grauerman Nursery near Arbat Square) is dominated by a series of V-shaped, 26-storey office built atop a long two-storey structure housing restaurants, retail establishments and two underground levels for storage and delivery. Despite the government’s public statements against gambling, more than half of this space was for a long time occupied by casinos. On July 4, 2009, a new government ban restricted gambling to four permitted zones, effectively putting an end to the industry in Moscow; the Novy Arbat casinos have subsequently either closed or morphed into entertainment centers and restaurants.
The northern side, has five narrow 26-storey apartment towers positioned perpendicularly to the avenue. The space between the towers is occupied by (west to east):
The Oktyabr cinema
A row of "old" office buildings, actually built in 1996 using fragments of historical structures
A row of genuine early 20th century buildings, although these have been heavily rebuilt
The Moscow House of Books, the city’s largest bookstore. The Lermontov Memorial House stands right behind it – one of the few surviving single-story wooden houses built after the 1812 Fire.
Native Muscovites sometimes refer to the office blocks as "the dentures".