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The Sparrow Hills of Moscow

Located on the right bank of Moscow's Moskva River, the highest point of Sparrow Hills is between sixty and seventy meters above the level of the river. An observation platform allows visitors to view the city and a number of notable landmarks from a height of eighty-five meters above the Moskva River. The name Sparrow Hills, is believed to be a reference to the village Vorobyovo which the Grand Duchess Sophia Vitovtovna of Lithuania acquired in 1451 from a priest named Vorobey (Воробей), meaning 'sparrow'. The Grand Duchess was married to Vasiliy I Dmitriyevich – the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1389 to 1425.

The picturesque setting of Sparrow Hills and its significance in the city's history served as inspiration for a number of Russian writers and poets. If Alexander I of Russia's wishes had been met, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior would have been located on Sparrow Hills. But although construction on the Cathedral had already started, his successor put a stop to the work, and the cathedral was erected near Moscow's Kremlin where it remains an outstanding landmark to this day.

Just across from Sparrow Hills is the Luzhniki Stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. With a seating capacity of more than 78,000, the stadium is used mainly for football games, but is also the venue for various sporting and social events. International artists such as Madonna, Metallica, U2, the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson have performed concerts to sell-out crowds in Luzhniki Stadium. Alongside the stadium is the Novodevichy Convent, a 17th century architectural masterpiece in the Moscow Baroque style which has survived fundamentally intact despite various conflicts and turmoil experienced in Moscow during its history.

Connecting the city center with Sparrow Hills is the Luzhniki Metro Bridge – a two-level arch bridge for both vehicles and railway. The Vorovyovy Gory is the only Moscow Metro station located above water, with the railway lines running on the bottom level of the bridge. The bridge was originally built in 1958, but due to unsound building practices, corrosion of tension cables and reinforcing metal bars soon became evident. By the mid-1980s it became clear that the bridge would need to be reconstructed. This massive project was completed and the subway station reopened in December 2002. The Moscow State University has a number of its faculties located on Sparrow Hills and there is substantial daily traffic across Luzhniki Metro Bridge.

 



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