The Arbat Street is a picturesque little quarter in the very heart of the city. Its name is a word of Oriental origin, and means a district lying outside the city walls, a suburb. It is a pedestrian walkway, flanked by beautiful 19th century houses, the ground floors of which are presently occupied by bookstores, antique shops, cafes and boutiques. Almost every house on the Arbat is a page of the city's history. In the 14th - 15th centuries the Arbat was the main transport road to Smolensk and in the 19th it was a retreat route of the Napoleon troops. After the liberation of Moscow from the French, rich and noble families started to build their mansions on the street. Later the Arbat lost its transport significance and became a pedestrian street. Today the Arbat is a bustling open air fair, where you can have a charge of good spirit and optimistic worldview. Street musicians and pavement artists frequent the street. It’s a true symbol of Old Moscow and has recently celebrated its 500th anniversary.