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Fodor's Moscow & St. Petersburg
Nikitskiye Vorota Review
This square was named after the vorota (gates) of the white-stone fortification walls that once stood here. On one side of the square is a modern building with square windows; this is the office of ITAR-TASS, once the official news agency of the Soviet Union and the mouthpiece of the Kremlin. In the park in the center of the square stands a monument to Kliment Timiryazev, a famous botanist.
The busy road intersecting Bolshaya Nikitskaya ulitsa at one end of the square is the Bulvarnoye Koltso (Boulevard Ring), which forms a semicircle around the city center. It begins at the banks of the Moskva River, just south of the Kremlin, and after curving eastward, then south, it reaches the riverbank again after several miles, near the mouth of the Yauza River, northeast of the Kremlin. Its path follows the lines of the 16th-century white-stone fortification wall that gave Moscow the name "White City." The privilege of living within its walls was reserved for the court nobility and craftsmen serving the tsar. The wall was torn down in 1775, on orders from Catherine the Great, and was replaced by the current Boulevard Ring. The perfect way to get a good view of the inner city is to slowly walk along the ring—this is best done on the weekend or late at night to avoid traffic on the boulevard. Running along its center is a broad strip of trees and flowers, dotted with playgrounds and benches. Summer brings out a burst of outdoor cafés, ice-cream vendors, and strolling lovers along the boulevard.
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