After a week in Moscow, I moved to a different part of Moscow, called Taganskaya, and to my great surprise I settled in a cosy flat, located on the 6th floor of a brick building (this time with a lift!) and above all with a fantastic view over the church of Saint Martin the Confessor.
This is a perfect place for a Teddy Bear like me! Once my suitcases were in the bedroom and after sharing a tea with the nice young owner of the place, I had to rush for my Russian class.
But on my way, I could not resist taking a few pictures of the surroundings. Along Alexandre Solzhenitsyn street stand old lovely colourful aristocratic-like houses. This street has all the charm of old Moscow. I just love it!
I will be staying on Solzhenitsyn street for a week, giving the opportunity to explore an area I hardly know. The street was only renamed after the Nobel Prize Winner ten years ago. It used to be called ‘the great communist street’ and it is only more recently that the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich, inaugurated the statue of the great dissident on the same street. You will not find Solzhenitsyn’s flat here but the interesting Museum of the Russians Abroad named after him.
But first I had to reach Taganskaya metro station if I do not want to be late. It is one of those pretty stations on the brown circle line and serves as a hub for the connection with two other lines. So it is pretty handy and I am only at 3 stops from my language school. Just to show you the beauty of the Russian metro, I took pictures of two more stations.
On my way back from school, I decided to execute my plan and explore my new environment: first I would start with the church of Saint Martin the Confessor, the one just opposite to my room. Then I continued up Stanislavsky street. For those who do not know, Stanislavsky was an actor, a professor and theatre director who created a method of acting which was very popular in the world of theatre and cinema not only in Russia but also abroad. I would learn later that he was also an old believer. And of course, this part of Moscow is not short of theaters and artistic scenes. I passed Fabrika, a sort of artist studio, exhibition rooms installed in a former industrial building, to reach the churches of Saint Alexei and Saint Sergius Radonezh and the Monastery Saint Andronikov, well-known for hosting the museum of icons painted by Rublev.
My investigation of this district of Moscow took me the Pokrovski Monastery dedicated to Matrona. As you know, I went several times to this Monastery and I already mentioned it in a previous post. But I did discover more churches….the Russians are not short of holy places and they are never empty!
The Taganskaya area is also known for Stalin’s bunker which was used during the cold war as a command centre . The bunker is located 60 meters below street level….a bit too much for my little legs. When you visit the bunker, it is possible to hear the vibration of the nearby metro.
While I was living there, I went to the museum of Russian Icons, the largest private collection of icons, more than 4000 pieces are referenced there. The founder of this museum, Michael Abramov, was a collector and an Art Patron, who died last year at the age of 55. It was pretty impressive to see the door giving access to the collection. I thought that I was entering the safe of the State’s treasurer. But then it is an amazing collection which is on display and is highly recommended for those who love icons.
I also went to the Museum of Russians Abroad, telling the story of those Russians who emigrated during the troubled times of the revolution to other countries, most of the time holding one suitcase as their only belongings, believing that they would come back one day. The museum is named after Solzhenitsyn who contributed financially to its realisation but not much is shown about him. I really like this small museum and the way things were displayed, with interesting testimonies.
There were also a small exhibition about Admiral Alexander Kolchak with a display of documents bought at the recent auction organised in Paris. Admiral Alexander Kolchak was also known for leading several expeditions in the great north and for leading the white army against the Bolsheviks but was executed by them in 1920. His life was the subject of a recent film which was very popular in Russia. So it looks like the Admiral is not any more ‘an enemy of the people’.
What a busy Teddy Bear I am! My little head is full of images of new discoveries. Too much to listen and read in one go, I will definitively come back to the Museum of Russians Abroad!