Image by Kira Tverskaya Lonely Planet
Moscow's answer to London's South Bank, Krymskaya Nab (Crimea Embankment) features wave-shaped street architecture with Scandinavian-style wooden elements, beautiful flower beds and a moody fountain, which ejects water randomly from many holes in the ground to the excitement of children and adults alike. It has merged with the Art Muzeon park and its motley collection of Soviet stone idols (Stalin, Sverdlov and a selection of Lenins and Brezhnevs) that were ripped from their pedestals in the post-1991 wave of anti-Soviet feeling.
The embankment is now fully revamped from the pedestrian Patriarshy bridge – which links it to the Red October gentrified industrial area on Bolotny Island – to the wide passage under Krymsky bridge that provides access to Gorky Park. A mammoth-sized eyesore, the statue of Peter the Great authored by the controversial sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, surveys the area from a giant column standing at the tip of Bolotny Island. A similarly huge shoebox-shaped Brezhnev-era concrete edifice in the middle of the park contains the New Tretyakov Gallery and the Central House of Artists, a major exhibition space. Next to it, the Vernisage market is the place where artists exhibit their work – mostly commercial kitsch, but you can find a gem or two here, if you are lucky.
We'd call this area fully pedestrianised, if not for the cyclists and inline skaters who often create what resembles a typical Moscow traffic jam. There is a shop renting bicycles and inline-skating equipment. This is the starting point of the vehicle-free 8km route that runs through Gorky Park, Neskuchny Sad and Vorobyovy Gory.