When the Soviets razed this square in 1938, many of the area's old buildings were lost. The plan, which never came to pass, was to build a superhighway through the area. In 1967 the square was renamed "50th Anniversary of the October Revolution Square." In the 1990s the square reverted to its original name and construction of an underground shopping mall began. Construction was halted in 1993 to let archaeologists excavate the area. The team found a plethora of artifacts dating as far back as the 13th century. In 1997 the Manezh shopping mall was finally opened, much to the chagrin of most Muscovites, who saw it as an eyesore. The present (and prerevolutionary) name comes from the Imperial Riding School, or Manezh, that stands on the opposite side of the square from the Moskva Hotel. The 1817 structure was gutted by a fire in early 2004, but has since been restored.
Opened in 1935, the Moskva Hotel was one of the first buildings erected as part of Stalin's reconstruction
plan for Moscow. Despite protests, the hotel that's featured on Stolichnaya vodka labels was demolished in late 2003 to make way for a new Moskva, which replicates the facade of the original structure; the new hotel is complete but not yet open to the public as of this writing. (If you look carefully at the facade, you'll notice that the design on the west side doesn't match the design on the east side. Legend has it that Stalin was given a preliminary draft that showed two possible versions for the hotel. He was supposed to sign under the one he liked best, but instead he signed his name right across the middle. The story goes that the architects, too timid to go back to Stalin a second time, went ahead and built the hotel with the asymmetrical facade.)