Moscow is a city with a unique history. And it is natural that Muscovites have a reverent attitude to the fate of the monuments of antiquity.

From our ancestors we have received the richest centuries-old heritage, which should be preserved and handed over to our descendants.

On the other hand, in a real, multimillion-dollar, not a museum city, renovation of individual buildings or even entire blocks will always go on. Because real people live here with their daily needs and demands, not museum pieces. And since it is inevitable, there will always be a conflict between the interests of developers and the task of protecting the existing urban environment.

The role of the Moscow City Government is to be a mediator in resolving this conflict. We are constantly in search of a compromise. This is probably why all the bigwigs end up in power. But this is also part of our job.

The buildings to be preserved are divided into main categories with different protection status:

  • Cultural heritage objects of federal and regional importance – monuments in the full sense of the word. They may not be demolished or substantially altered. Preservation, repair, restoration and adaptation for modern use are allowed. In total 3,025 buildings, which are the objects of cultural heritage of federal and regional significance, are taken under protection in Moscow.
  • Identified cultural heritage objects – intermediate status between the identification of a monument and its inclusion in the register of cultural heritage objects. They are protected in the same way as objects.
  • Objects with signs of cultural heritage – the historical and cultural value of the building is being examined, but the decision to recognize it as a monument has not yet been made.
  • Historically valuable and city-forming objects – these buildings are not monuments, but represent value within the existing urban development or possess some unique elements.

They can be reconstructed, but necessarily preserving the historically valuable elements. In total in Moscow 1289 such objects have been registered.

What was the situation like in 2010?

Were in poor condition (often in ruins, without a roof and windows) and required urgent restoration work on 1325 cultural heritage sites – 39% of the total. Restoration has practically frozen. In 2010, the restoration of only 12 buildings was completed.

It is even sadder. Developers were in possession of permits to demolish more than 200 buildings. Of course, these were not monuments in the legal sense. But among the buildings condemned for demolition were valuable city forming objects and buildings that could be recognized as monuments in the future.

What did we do?

1) Cancelled all the permits for demolition that were in effect in 2010, but which were not implemented.

Developers who did plan for demolition and new construction had to go through all the approval procedures again. Most of them did not even try to do so.

Believe me, revising previous decisions is not an easy task. But we did make sense of it.

2) Significantly accelerated the process of placing historical buildings on state protection.

This is also a very difficult task. The main opponents are the owners of the buildings themselves. Turning real estate into an architectural monument brings them little prestige, but a lot of headaches. In addition, the new status is very sensitive to the wallet. After all, no matter how steep, the restoration comes out more expensive than a simple reconstruction and repair.

3) Defined urban planning regulations within the boundaries of protection zones of cultural heritage objects – a huge work that was carried out in 2011-2014.

Thus, we have established requirements to the work carried out within the protected zones, admissibility of reconstruction of buildings and structures which are not objects of cultural heritage, restrictions on the use of land plots and capital construction objects. Later, these materials were included in the Rules of Land Use and Development of the City of Moscow.

4) They undertook the definition of the subject of protection, which, as a matter of fact, should be preserved in this or that building, which is a monument.

Until 2011, the owners of monuments themselves developed the subject of protection and, of course, did not hurry to do so. And if they did, it was in their own interests.

5) A number of lawsuits have been instituted for the compulsory conservation of monuments, which, if not carried out, may result in additional measures being taken, up to and including the removal of the object from the careless owner.

6) By tightening control, morally and financially encouraging careful treatment of monuments, we have launched an unprecedented program of restoration – not only in the history of Russia, but also in world practice.

7) The monuments of architecture do not exist in an airless space. They are part of a unified urban environment. Therefore, the liberation of buildings from a web of wires, ugly advertising and ugly signs, repair of facades and sidewalks, landscaping and landscaping of streets – it is also a major contribution to the preservation of the historical image of Moscow.

In some cases, the reason for the dismantling was the owners’ desire to build in their place more commercially advantageous sites. In others, a natural disaster, owner negligence or the impossibility of reconstruction due to design features

The attempts to save and the future fate of these houses:

1. The object of cultural heritage of regional importance. The wooden house of the con. XIX – beginning of XX centuries.

Single-storey log house – a surviving example of wooden building by Maryina Roshcha. The owner illegally demolished it in 2014. The demolition resulted in fines and a criminal case was initiated. At the suit of the Moscow City Government the court withdrew the object into the ownership of the city. We will look for a new owner who will take on the task of restoring this object.

2. House of Culture “October”, 1937.

The wooden building of the House of Culture “Oktyabr” had the features of a cultural heritage site and would undoubtedly have received the protection status. But, unfortunately, in October 2011 it was destroyed by fire. On the place of the former AC at the urgent request of the residents the Center for Culture and Arts “Schukino” was built. At least the historical continuity was preserved.

3. Military Hospital of the Red Cross, 1914.

The building was not a monument, but had the features of a cultural heritage site. It was not exploited for a long time, was in unsatisfactory condition.

Nevertheless, in 2015, the building was not used for a long time and was in poor condition. Moscow City Heritage tried to prevent demolition. Unfortunately, this has not been successful. The owner ignored the instructions and preferred to pay a fine.

4. Ryazan-Ural Railway elevator, beginning of the XX century.

The building wasn’t a monument either, but had signs of a cultural heritage object. It was an interesting engineering object of the beginning of the XX century.

In 2013. The Commission for the Conservation of Buildings recommended to preserve the historical part of the elevator with the possibility of reconstruction and adaptation for modern use. During the works it was proposed to ensure the preservation of valuable wooden structures and architectural elements.

5. Wooden dwelling house of the XIX century

The building had the features of a cultural heritage site. It had not been exploited for more than 12 years, was in emergency condition and collapsed from dilapidation in 2016.