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Country estate of one of the Trubetskoy family branches was located on the site of the Central Telegraph in the XVIII century. In 1791 Catherine the Great granted this land to Moscow University. University printing-office, letter foundry and the bookshop were transferred here and Nikolay Novikov, well-known science communicator and book publisher, became the head of it. In honor of the printing-office the nearby lane was named Gazetny pereulok .
“The University Noble Boarding-house” was also located here - one of the best educational institutions in Russia of that time and the center of social literature life as well. M. Lermontov and E. Baratynsky, A. Griboyedov and General A. Ermolov were among its students.
Right before the First World War Russian” Insurance Company” bought the building, demolished it and planned to build a complex of 2 tenant houses instead. But the war and the revolution frustrated their plans.
In 1925 it was decided to build the Central Telegraph here, which was supposed to include a wire broadcasting center and trunk line exchange. The winner of the open competitive tender was Ivan Rerberg, who was already famous by Kiev railway station (in those days the name was Bryansk railway station) and the houses of the Northern Insurance Company on Ilyinka.
Rerberg faced an uneasy task: to create a monument worthy of future Moscow right in the middle of the old and bourgeois Tverskaya street. By 1927 the Central Telegraph was completed and became the first sign of the subsequent grand transformation of Tverskaya street.
All-Soviet Union Radio announcer booths were located in the building in 1930s. Yuri Levitan’s message about the beginning of the war on June 22, 1941 was transmitted from this very building.
Take a fresh look at the building and you will notice two special characteristics. First, the coat of arms on the famous corner tower - the hammer and sickle are not merging into an ‘alliance’, but are located at the edges. This is one of the first variants of the coat of arms of the Soviet Union.
Secondly, on the other side of the building, from the side of the Nikitsky lane, there are clock watch. Pay attention to number ‘4’ - it is depicted as «IIII». In fact, this is not a generally accepted format for clock face: as a rule, "4" should be written as «IV».