The pedestrianized shopping street called Arbat, to the west of the Kremlin, has a long history dating back to 1493. In the 19th century it became the address of numerous members of the aristocracy, and the Arbat and neighbouring streets are full of houses where key figures from Russia's history and culture lived and played.

Today, however, the Arbat is better known for its shops and stalls selling souvenirs and clothes, and its cafés and street performers. The modern, Soviet-style Novy (New) Arbat Street nearby contains a cluster of upmarket restaurants and clubs – the place to witness the fact that there are now more billionaires in Moscow than in any other city on Earth. However, Tverskaya Street, to the north of the Kremlin, is generally held to be Moscow's most fashionable shopping street.

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