Today it is hard to imagine that just a couple of centuries ago Moscow was not a capital, but a provincial town. Emperors still held their coronations here, but otherwise the life of local residents was far from the gloss of the capital. Serious hardships also fell to the share of Moscow, which is only worth its occupation by Napoleon's troops and a strong fire. When the Russian troops returned to the city, it was almost completely destroyed. But Moscow has not lost its value, in just a few decades it was completely rebuilt. Many buildings of that era have not been preserved, but you can still see some of them today, just walking around the city.
Let's tell in this article about the difficult history of the city in the 19th century. You can also see photos of Moscow at that time below.
Chronology of events
To better understand how the city developed throughout the 19th century, it is worth first talking about its approximate chronology. Conventionally, historians divide the whole century into severalstages. At the beginning of the century, Paul I, whom his contemporaries did not like at all, had a serious influence on the life of local residents. And although he was killed in 1801, his actions greatly affected the development of the city. Already after the death of Pavel, magnificent festive events took place in Moscow. They were dedicated to the new Emperor Alexander. Even after the transfer of the capital to St. Petersburg, the tradition of crowning the kingdoms in Moscow was preserved and existed until the revolution of 1917, when the monarchy was overthrown.
The history of Moscow in the 19th century is hard to imagine without the French occupation. This is another important stage highlighted by historians in the chronology of events. The city was partially destroyed and looted. But it was after the occupation that the active restoration of Moscow began. From an old provincial town, it quickly turned into a major commercial and industrial center. The contemporaries themselves subsequently noted that Moscow, a few decades after its ruin, began to look even more beautiful than before.
And of course, when talking about the history of Moscow, one cannot fail to mention the second half of the 19th century. During this period, the city did not experience serious shocks, but continued to develop actively. It was at this time that the best architectural monuments of Moscow of the 19th century were created, which have partially survived to this day.
Let's talk about each of the stages of the chronology in more detail.
The early years of the new age and the reign of Paul I
Moscow lost its status of the capital at the beginning of the 18th century, when Peter I transferred it to St. Petersburg under construction. He didn't like the way she froze in her own way.time and could not develop at the pace that he wanted. And in the first years of the 19th century, Moscow retained its status as a provincial and quiet city. We althy noble families still lived here, who descended from the ancient boyars. But still, most of them continued to flock to St. Petersburg, where they could build a military career and achieve success in public service.
Moscow of the 19th century is a provincial city, but nevertheless it was touched by the peculiar policy of Paul I, which alienated many of his contemporaries from him. During his reign, many secret agents appeared on the streets of the city, who tried to find out what the rich and influential nobles thought of the emperor. The government gradually introduced more and more censorship for local residents. For example, they had to necessarily warn the city authorities about the holding of balls and festivities. The police must be present at such events. Restrictions were also imposed on printing buildings. And at the very beginning of the 19th century, the English Club, beloved by Muscovites, was closed - it was in it that representatives of the Moscow nobility gathered.
It is not surprising that Muscovites did not like Paul I. Therefore, his death in 1801 did not upset them. On the contrary, local residents began to actively celebrate and prepare for the upcoming coronation of the new ruler - Emperor Alexander I.
Coronation of Alexander I
After a short period of the reign of Paul I, Moscow at the beginning of the 19th century was greatly transformed. Local residents are preparing for the coronation with might and mainthe newly-made Emperor Alexander, who arrived in the city in September 1801. But preparations have been going on all summer. It is known that local merchants and nobles managed to raise a lot of money to build solemn triumphal arches and pavilions. However, the emperor did not approve of their initiative. He advised them to invest the collected funds in the construction of more useful buildings - schools and hospitals.
Alexander arrived in Moscow in September 1801. He was married to the kingdom in the Assumption Cathedral along with his wife. It is noteworthy that after the celebration, the emperor made a horse ride through the streets of the city, where he was met by enthusiastic locals. All of Pavel's unpopular decisions were reversed, and Moscow breathed a sigh of relief. Alexander himself soon left the city, but the celebrations did not subside for several weeks.
In the years following the coronation of Alexander, the city lived a quiet life. The tranquility of the local residents was disturbed by the Patriotic War, which broke out in 1812. Russian troops could not stop Napoleon, who invaded the country. They gradually deepened into Russia, pushing back the general battle. And they stopped only at the approaches to Moscow, not far from Borodino. The battle was not successful for the Russian troops, although it cannot be called devastating either. One way or another, the command, headed by Kutuzov, decided to leave the ancient capital of Russia and give it to the enemy. This event greatly influenced Moscow in the 19th century.
Entering the city, the invaders were disappointedseen. Almost all residents and troops left the city. Napoleon was also very angry, because he hoped for a humiliating capitulation of the Muscovites. But there was no one left in the city. In addition, the French, tired of the war, began to loot.
Immediately after Napoleon's troops entered Moscow, information about arson began to appear. The French were sure that they were satisfied with the locals. A strong fire broke out only a few days later, when the wind picked up, which did not weaken for more than a day. The fire destroyed most of the city and forced Napoleon to ask Alexander for peace. But he received no answer. The fire destroyed not only the buildings, but also the supplies that were supposed to support the French army. In order not to die of hunger in winter, Napoleon was forced to leave Moscow and try to return to his homeland.
But before that, he defiled Moscow and the ancient monuments of its architecture. It is known that Napoleon ordered to place the stables in the ancient temples of the city. In October 1812, French troops left Moscow. But before that, Napoleon ordered to blow up the Kremlin. It was badly damaged, but not completely destroyed. A few days later, Russian troops returned to the city. Gradually began the restoration of Moscow.
Rebuilding the city after the occupation
There was no sadder event for Moscow in the 19th century than the French occupation and a disastrous fire. But the locals spared no expense to restore their beloved city. Everywhere at this time in the streets of the city one could hear the noise of axes and the ringing of saws. The revival of the destroyed buildings proceeded at a rapid pace. Behindin a matter of weeks, new buildings appeared in place of the burnt buildings. A special commission was responsible for the restoration of the city, headed by the architect of Italian origin Beauvais, who spent most of his life in Russia. He made sure that new buildings were built in the same style, creating a unique image of patriarchal Moscow.
The central part of the city, which was almost completely rebuilt, has undergone the most changes. First of all, the Red Square was reconstructed. Outwardly unattractive shopping arcades were closed here. In 1818, a sculpture of Minin and Pozharsky was placed on the square. It was the first monument opened on the territory of Moscow.
For the improvement of the city, the Neglinnaya River was enclosed in an underground pipe, as the water constantly overflowed its banks and eroded the streets. Not far from the walls of the Kremlin, Beauvais ordered to lay out a large garden, which later became known as Alexander.
Contemporaries noted that Moscow at the beginning of the 19th century was completely rebuilt and changed a lot, becoming only more beautiful. Fortunately, ancient sights and Orthodox churches were practically not affected. Just a few months after the departure of the French troops, Moscow began to live its former life.
Decembrists in Moscow
Traditionally, it is believed that Moscow in the 19th century was far from the turbulent political life of St. Petersburg. This is partly a true statement, but some of its echoes still reached the locals. So, in Moscow they were actively engagedDecembrists. There were fewer of them here than in St. Petersburg and in the south of the country, but nevertheless they played their role in organizing the movement. It is known that in 1817 they planned an assassination attempt on Alexander I, who was just visiting Moscow. He participated in the celebrations dedicated to the opening of the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, and also visited the construction site of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. But the Decembrists did not dare to put their plans into practice.
But they tried to support their associates during the Decembrist uprising in 1825. They planned to set out with their troops the next day after the start of the Petersburg battle, but they were late, as it was almost immediately suppressed. A few days later, arrests began in Moscow as well. All members of this secret society were promptly arrested.
Moscow in the second half of the 19th century
The second half of the 19th century turned out to be calmer for Muscovites than the first. At this time, the city continued to actively build up and grow. Houses in Moscow in the 19th century were increasingly built of stone, so some of them have survived to this day. Walking along the streets of the city, you can see a tenement house on Trudnaya Street, which was recognized as a cultural monument of regional significance. In addition, the first Moscow Catholic church and mosque, built in the middle of the century, have survived to this day. It was at this time that the characteristic architectural style of Moscow of the 19th century appeared, combining the traditions of Russian architecture and classicism.
In 1851, Moscow was the first in Russia to be connected with St. Petersburgrailway. Now the inhabitants of the two cities could freely travel back and forth in a short time. The station building has also been preserved. Previously, it was called Petersburg, but now it has been renamed Leningradsky.
In 1861, the population of Moscow increased markedly. Liberated peasants flocked here from all regions of the country, trying to find a good job. Therefore, the city began to grow rapidly. Instead of small mansions of the local nobility, they began to build multi-storey stone buildings that did not differ in exquisite design. Tenement houses became popular. These buildings were divided into several miniature apartments, where anyone could live for a small fee.
End of the century
Moscow at the end of the 19th century is not just a provincial city, but a major industrial center. The construction boom was beneficial for its development. If before the French occupation, less than 300 thousand people lived here, then by the end of the year the population exceeded 1 million. The city became a center of industry and trade. Not only numerous workers lived here, but also rich merchant and noble families. However, Moscow has not lost its outward patriarchal appearance. Global changes here will begin only after the Bolsheviks come to power, who will return the city to its former capital status.
How did the industry develop?
At the beginning of the 19th century, the leading industry in the capital was the production of textiles. In those years, there were several manufactories, but the largest of them belonged to the Prokhorov brothers. She was builtin 1799, but its heyday came in the post-war period. After the liberation of Moscow from the French, the manufactory increased the production of textiles by almost 10 times. It produced chintz, cashmere and semi-velvet, as well as scarves. Industry began to develop much faster at the end of the 19th century. A huge number of liberated peasants came to Moscow to work. Over time, they formed new classes. More and more workers, small traders and industrialists, as well as former soldiers who left the service, lived in the city. Not only textile, but also paper, woodworking, food and chemical industries began to develop.
Trade in Moscow
Trade also developed at a no less rapid pace. In the photo of Moscow in the 19th century, you can see many richly decorated mansions, which for the most part belonged to merchants who were able to break through from the very bottom and become real oligarchs. Gostiny Dvor remained the center of trading life in Moscow throughout the century. After the fire, Beauvais restored the former appearance of the destroyed building. Muscovites also actively traded on Tverskaya Street and Kuznechny Bridge. In the 1820s, clothes and shoes that were fashionable at that time began to be sold here. Many shops opened, but almost all of them were owned by Europeans, not Russians. In the second half of the century, trade developed so rapidly that Muscovites often remarked that the entire city was a large trading square.
The lifestyle of Muscovites
Still at the beginningFor centuries, Muscovites lived a calm and measured way of life. Everything changed after the fire and the rapid growth of industry. Life in Moscow in the 19th century is a reflection of Russian culture. Unlike St. Petersburg, which is oriented to the west, the nobles and poor Muscovites greatly honored folk traditions. From Christmas began the season of festivities, which included festivities for the New Year and Shrovetide. But before Lent, the celebrations gradually ceased. At this time, it was customary to close restaurants and taverns, because no one visited them.
Nobles and merchants constantly organized balls, it was fashionable to visit theaters, exhibitions and fashion stores. After Easter, Moscow was noticeably empty, because we althy residents moved to their country estates. Smog appeared in the city due to the exhaust from factories and factories in the summer. They returned only by the middle of autumn.
In the 19th century, cultural life was actively developing. Museums, temples, monuments were built, which immediately fell in love with the locals. In the first half of the century, Muscovites especially fell in love with performances. At the same time, the first theaters of Moscow in the 19th century were built. They have survived to this day. The small one was erected in 1824. And a year later, the construction of the Bolshoi Theater was completed. Most often, cultural entertainment was available only to we althy nobles and merchants. Contemporaries recalled that they lived a truly festive life. They constantly attended balls, masquerades, performances and other festive events. By the way, he describes them in detail in his novel."War and Peace" Leo Tolstoy.
Thus, we can say that Moscow has changed a lot in the 19th century. From a provincial town, it has become a major center of industry and trade. It was this tendency that allowed her to successfully challenge the right of St. Petersburg to the title of the capital of Russia in the future.