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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Little Kitai-Gorod Wall Is a Big Hit

MTCity Hall plans to draw sightseers onto Kitai Gorod's 16th-century city wall by building a pedestrian bridge across a 25-meter gap.
A gap in Kitai Gorod's 16th-century wall is being bridged to create another tourist attraction in the city's center, complete with handicraft stalls and souvenir vendors.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Georgy Poltavchenko, presidential envoy to Central Russia, were recently in attendance to place a time capsule in the foundations of a pedestrian bridge that will close a 25-meter breach in the old city wall, Interfax reported.

The city intends for the bridge to draw sightseers onto the wall for a view of Kitai Gorod.

"The restoration of the historical appearance of Moscow should enhance the attractiveness of the city for Russian and foreign tourists," Luzhkov was quoted as saying at the groundbreaking ceremony in Kitai Gorod.

Although often translated as China Town, Kitai Gorod actually derives its name from its wall. "Kitai" denotes the wattle, or twigs, used to strengthen the original earthen wall that protected the area's incipient commercial center.

In the mid-16th century, the constant threat of Tartar expansion prompted Ivan the Terrible's mother, Princess Yelena Glinskaya, to erect a thick brick wall.

The wall was largely destroyed by the construction of the Moscow Metro in the '30s, but remnants are still standing behind the hotel Metropol, and there is a long rebuilt segment on Kitaigorodsky Proyezd.

The Kitaigorodsky segment suffered again during the erection of the Rossiya hotel and lost a 25-meter section -- across which the city planning committee has approved the construction of the pedestrian bridge, Interfax reported.

The bridge will be 8 meters high, level with the wall, and in the shape of two semicircular arcs, the report said.