Arbat Street, mainly referred to in English as the Arbat, is a pedestrian street about one kilometer long in the historical centre of Moscow. The Arbat has existed since at least the 15th century, which makes it one of the oldest surviving streets of the Russian capital. It forms the heart of the Arbat District of Moscow. Originally the street formed part of an important trade-route and was home to a large number of craftsmen. In the 18th century the Russian nobility came to regard the Arbat as the most prestigious living area in Moscow. Almost completely destroyed by the great fire of 1812 associated with Napoleon’s occupation of Moscow, the street required rebuilding. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it became known as the a place where petty nobility, artists, and academics lived. In the Soviet period, it housed many high-ranking government officials.