Passport magazine: Russian lifestyle
Home Archive November 2009

About Us

From the Publisher

Contact Us

Current IssueArchive
Restaurant GuideRestaurant ReviewsInternational Food BlogsWine TastingsTravelMoscow EmbassiesAirlines to RussiaMoscow AirportsCustoms and VisasResidence permitMoscow Phone DirectoryMuseums and GalleriesWi-Fi Hot Spots in MoscowClubs!Community ListingsMoscow Downtown MapMoscow Metro MapRussian LinksInternational Links
Advertise with Us
Our Readers - a profileAdvertising RatesDistribution List
Click for Moscow, Russia Forecast
Our Partners
Knights of the Vine RUSSIA

Real Estate

South West: The Frunzenskaya Peninsula & Park Kultury
The fifth of an essential guide to favorite residential areas
Text and photos by Ross Hunter

Getting to and enjoying this enchanting area is delightfully easy. Start at Kropotkinskaya, pausing to enjoy fine views of the eponymous metro station and the new-old Cathedral, and lament that the statue facing you is Engels, not Kropotkin. Head briskly down Ostozhenka Ulitsa. The famous ‘Golden Mile’ is itself one of THE addresses to have in Moscow, and if you can afford it, a splendid place to live, steeped in history, ideally located for access and amenities and lined with topclass apartment blocks. The area has an agreeably bohemian reputation. Well-heeled bohemian, mind, as The Moscow Times reports Ostozhenka as being the world’s ninth most expensive street. You are tracking Moscow’s very first metro line, which is only cut-and-cover depth beneath you. The air vents are housed in ornate chalets.

The Mandelstam Park

This is only the apéritif. Skip over the Garden Ring, using the helpful flyover by Park Kultury metro station, and you are on the peninsula of interest this month, a place locally called Hamovniki. Expect to get familiar with a host of evocative and impressive names including Frunzenskaya, Novodevichy and slightly more equivocally, Luzhniki. The area is clearly bounded by the Garden Ring and the river, with its busy but scenic embankments. Through traffic has little incentive to come this way, so the atmosphere is calm and the pace gentler than in most other areas. The few big roads frame the district. They are literally, ‘a spoon of tar’ in the works: easy to ignore from a distance, but an eye- and ear-sore nearer. Bridges do lift the Garden and Third Rings out of the way, and in the latter case, creates an urban sports zone. The streets are broad and festooned with trees.

The focal point of the peninsula is the delightful Mandelstam Park (officially renamed Usadba Trubetskih, but the poet’s name endures). Right next to Frunzenskaya metro station, cinema, shops and market, this is a wonderfully developed and family-friendly area. Beautifully kept, full of flowers, with a good sized lake, it also boasts special areas for canine and equine enthusiasts. There is also ice skating, sledging, birds and squirrels (caged, sadly). At any time on weekends, the park is thronged with families, prams and pets. It even boasts a recently built sledging hill.

Housing surrounds the park. Not overmuch is quaint or prerevolutionary, but there are more than enough solid Stalin era and later buildings to cover every taste and budget, and a constantly growing selection of brand new buildings. There are good facilities at street level, and it should be easy to get a flat with a river view, and the longer vistas that come with it. The whole area feels solid, secure and green. Third Frunzenskaya is the place to start: some really stylish Stalin buildings, excellent views, and as a finishing touch, an orchard of apple trees lines the strolling areas in the middle. New developments popular with expats include ‘Camelot’ at Komsomolky 32, ‘Vienna House’ at 1st Neopalimovsky Pereulok, ‘La Defense’ and ‘Fusion Park’.

Shopping is not my patch, but even I can spot a long line of top quality emporia when I see one. Fashions, furniture, fine foods and antique shops catch the eye, notably along Frunzenskaya and Kosomolsky Prospekt. There are also plenty of convenience shops, groceries and fast food outlets. Coffee lovers are ‘espressoly’ well catered for. Squeezed between the metro and the park is a splendid fresh foods market, much appreciated by locals. Friday’s market is especially recommended for eggs and honey.

This is above all a family area, ideal for jogging, pramming or cycling along the embankments one way round to Red Square, the other way to Kievskaya. Or how about the long run round Luzhniki Park? An abundance of parks and gardens includes Novodevichy, and crossing the river opens up Gorky Park, Neskuchniy Gardens, and the Sparrow hills (Vorobyovy Gory) nature reserve. For urban youth, the Luzhniki Stadium area being underdeveloped offers basketball under the flyover, rollerblading and skateboarding concrete surfaces, indoor and outdoor tennis, fitness clubs and more.

Frieze in the Frunzenskaya metro

If you want a good dose of exercise, traverse the whole area in a morning or an afternoon, from Sparrow Hills to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, or the other way round. This long green stroll covers a variety of landscapes, historical ties and even the setting of the sunset finale of The Master and Margarita in Neskuchniy Garden.

The special bits:

Novodevichy Monastery, cemetery and park Virtually intact since the 17th century, this is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mandelstam Park One of the best family parks in Moscow and the center of the area.

The Embankments are wide, varied and offer wide vistas.

The Luzhniki Stadium or rather, stadia, are magnificent buildings, full of stories – glorious, heroic and tragic – and a vast play area away from match days. If there is a game on, either go to it – the atmosphere inside is amazing – or get as far away as possible, before you get stuck.

Tolstoy’s House Now there’s an address. One of the nicest houses in Moscow, and an evocative museum.

Buildings & Statues Tick them off as you go. As well as those mentioned above, there are amusing views of the amusement park follies of Gorky Park across the river, and best of all, there are few places where the view is spoiled by the ever ghastly Peter The Great bronze monstrosity.

The Best Metro stations Kropotkinskaya, magnificently overbuilt, awaiting the never to arrive Palace of the Soviets.

Nearby? If you like this area but can’t find what you want … the neighbors are pretty decent: Zamoskvarechy (see Passport, Sept. ‘09), Smolenskaya and the Arbat (to be covered in the January 2010 issue – opinions, please!) and Universitet/ Gagarin/Leninskiy Prospekt all have their own special character. See ‘thanks’ below for more contacts.

Ostozhenka des res

3 Frenzenskaya Naberezhnaya

Top 10 +/- The list of all that matters most

  1. An area that exudes solid, peaceful comfort;
  2. Well defined and untroubled by the surrounding kaleidoscope...
  3. ...yet perfectly placed for the city and all its amenities.
  4. Arguably the most family friendly inner area, festooned with well tended parks and gardens;
  5. Culturally endowed by Novodevichy and Tolstoy (beat that!),
  6. and home of Russia’s football...
  7. all advantages are ‘off’ on match day afternoons or evenings;
  8. Perfect at weekends, spoiled for choice for family cycle rides;
  9. Not many exits can make for commuter congestion.
  10. Unmissable? Absolutely! Comfortably on the podium of best areas for families.

I am most grateful to the following experts for their detailed knowledge. Do contact them for more on this enchanting area: Marina Semenova at Intermark Savills: for real estate matters; as well as Penny Lane Realty:; Harriet at for opportunities for children; Anna at and EIS parents  

 Copyright 2004-2012 +7 (495) 640 0508,,
website development – Telemark
OnLine M&A Russia Deal Book
Follow Us