Arbatskaya is one of Moscow’s oldest streets, it has existed at least since the 15th century and is lined with fine 19th century mansions. It has loads of museums, galleries and churches and is filled with shops, restaurants, clubs and bars. I love walking down this street especially on weekends when it’s filled with street artists and people. I don’t usually like crowded areas but this street is very broad and a great place to do some people watching.
The street is usually lined with artists sitting there drawing people or trying to sell their paintings. It has musicians playing different instruments, all hoping to make some money from the tourists walking down this street. There is often a guy who sits near the metro making music on a saw, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes!
The street is also filled with souvenir shops and they have the best USSR postcards here. The souvenirs are very expensive though and most of the time you can get the same things at Izmaylovo market for half the price.
Since 1986 Arbatskaya has been dotted with distinctive street lanterns so even an evening stroll down this street is beautiful. It has several notable statues, including one of Princess Turandot in front of the Vakhtangov Theatre and another to Soviet-era folk singer, story teller and poet, Bulat Okudzhava, who wrote several songs about Arbatskaya. My favourite statue on this street is of a man who looks like he is just walking along the street on a windy autumn day.
During one of my walks I stopped at MY MY (Moo Moo) for lunch. A Russian canteen restaurant with great food!! You can’t miss the place; it has a huge fake cow in front of it, and obviously this is what attracted me to the place. I stood in line and with my limited Russian and pointing I was lucky to get some delicious soup and fish. I love the fact that all Russian places serve good soup.
On a lazy Saturday my friends, Yve and Judith joined me for a walk through this arty street. We strolled down an alley way because an ice-cream blue building got our attention and we wanted to take some pictures of it. As we walked past this building we noticed that at the end of the alley there is a small museum. It was tiny and looked half hidden away so naturally we just had to go and have a look.
We had come across the first sex museum in Moscow!!! It was quite new, not even 2 years old and we couldn’t resist going in for a closer look. The front part of the museum is actually just a sex shop but inside the little museum is filled with all kinds of Old Russian erotica. They had a room where they showed old films of what was considered pornographic during the communist era. This was very funny as you couldn’t see any naked part of the male or female body and in every shot they made sure to have the face of Lenin in the background.
It is very interesting to see what passed as pornographic during the communist era, according to standards now-a-days this would all classify as pg rated.
The most interesting part was the magazines on the history of how porn magazines got started and how they changed through the centuries. I could easily have spent another hour or two looking through the porn history books.
After a very interesting afternoon we sat in a coffee shop on Arbatskaya Street and just watched the street artists and people as they walked by.