At a time when St. Petersburg was still only among the bold ideas of Peter I, the picturesque Mikhailovsky Garden was nothing more than a swamp. And from this swamp flowed a dirty and muddy river, which was then called “Muya”, which in the Izhorian-Finnish language meant “dirt”. Gradually, this name was transformed into the word “Mya”. And after some time, the river received the name “Moika”, which probably comes from the verb “wash”. At that time, there were public baths on the river’s embankment.
In the reign of Peter the Great, in the course of the work on the creation of the Summer Garden, it was decided to connect the Moika with the Fontanka River. When St. Petersburg was built, this river served as a city boundary. Travel taxes were collected near it.
The first dams on the Moika appeared in 1720 – then still wooden.
After 17 years, the bottom of the river was cleaned and deepened, so that heavy ships could freely navigate the Moika. But the quality of the water still left much to be desired. Water carriers were forbidden to take water from it. At the turn of the 18th-19th century, granite embankments were created along the Moika. In Soviet times, the barriers were lengthened – from Angliysky Prospekt to the Pryazhka River.
Embankment of the Moika River
The barrier of the Moika River along its left bank goes from the Griboedovsky Canal and almost to the Bolshaya Neva, and on the right – from the Fontanka to Bolshaya Morskaya Street, which itself is, in fact, a barrier. In the 18th century, the dam on the right bank was divided into two parts: Nemetskaya and Gostinaya streets. The Winter Canal separated them.
The embankments got their names from the nearby German Quarter and Gostiny Dvor. The dam on the left bank was nicknamed Konyushennaya Street since there was a Stable Yard nearby.
Over time, the right-hand embankments were renamed Grecheskaya – in memory of the Grecheskaya Sloboda and Ledokolnaya Street, where ice was broken in winter. And Nevsky Prospekt became the border between them. In the 19th century, these toponyms were no longer in use; sometimes, other names were used instead of them, among which was the “ Moika River Embankment ”. This name has taken root better than others and has come down to our days.
In the 19th century, it was a great honor to have a house near Moika. On the dam were mansions and palaces of aristocrats and members of the royal family.
Many rightly consider the Moika perhaps the most poetic place in St. Petersburg. Creative people are attracted by the abundance of bridges erected over the Moika.
The river’s embankment is officially listed as a cultural heritage site.
Fun fact: such a landmark as the Engineering Castle officially has the address: Moika embankment, house 2, and the island called New Holland is the 103rd house, but in reality, there are no such houses on the dam, and never have been