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City Hunter: Marina Tsvetaeva's Memorial Flat
February 6, 2012 15:36

Marina Tsvetaeva, Paris, 1925

There is a special house in the heart of Moscow, in one of the ancient districts of the city. Hidden in the quite and cozy lane, between low-storeyed buildings, it appears like a little miracle for a stranger, walking down the Moscow streets.

This apartment house is a unique place, that keeps the spirit of old noble time, dreams and reality of a young woman with bitter tears of the postrevolutionary period. The name of this woman is Marina Tsvetaeva and for nearly a century ago she, full of joy and inspiration, rented an apartment number 3 in this 3-storeyed villa, where she spent 8 years from 1914 to 1922.
This building was built in 1862 at Borisoglebsky Lane, named after the Church of Saints Boris and Gleb. That is how it looked in 70-80s, before the restoration.








And that is how it looks now.



Marina Tsvetaeva spent in this house a long and important period of her life. It was a place of inspiration as well as a realm of tragic feelings. While living here with her husband Sergey Efron and their daughter Ariadna, she grew intellectually and emotionally by writing remarkable verses. The artistic world of the poet was formed in this house.
Inside the museum, which looks like an apartment, one can feel the atmosphere of past time, full of joy, love and welfare. It seems like an old friend is still waiting for you there. You hear the sounds of piano, children's voices and loud laughter.

  Every room has its own face and every thing, every secluded corner breathes with culture and art. From a hall one can walk  into a dining room with nice interior and a window-lantern ceiling.


 Then, into a living room-musical box. Many famous people visited this house - writers Zaitsev and Ehrenburg, young actors of Vahtangov theatre, artists and others. You can imagine how this talented people play the piano and listen to romantic poems

Fancy decorations, a great number of books and antiques, furry skins on the floor and an atmosphere of inspiration – everything about this house was enchanting. 

 From the living room we can see a cozy Tsvetaeva's study, where she was writing exquisite poems about love, Russian  people and old Moscow boulevards. 


There is something magical in her personal things – quaint gramophone, reddish blanket, famous writing desk – an insightful glimpse into the poet's personality.

After that one can move to a huge and sunny children's room, where the portrait of Marina's children is one of the main parts of the exposition.











A steep staircase takes one upstairs, into the most famous room called an “attic palace” - the room of Sergey Efron and into the former kitchen, which has been transformed into an exposition hall nowadays.








And further on into a mansard, just below the roof. This room with a slanted ceiling was called “an officer's mansard” - a place, where men played pool and cards, and talked.









Before the Revolution life in this private residence was calm and easy. But time changed after 1917. Sergey Efron joined the White Guard and never came back to the house.
Sergey Efron, Odessa, 1938.
Suffering from hunger and struggling for life, Tsvetaeva tried to survive hard times in a separation with her husband. Her second daughter Irina died from hunger at the age of 3. Marina had to cope with freezing and she even started to chop her antique furniture to make fire. She always feared for her husband's life and tragic notes began to appear in her verses, poems, plays and letters.
Marina Tsvetaeva with her daughter Ariadna, 1916.
MarinaTsvetaeva with her son George Efron, Medon, 1928.

After she left Russia in May 1922 to join her husband in emigration, the apartment was turned into a typical communal house of the soviet times.
It was gradually destroyed and almost demolished, but later preserved from disappearing thanks to enthusiasm of famous scientists and artists. It was restored and became a cultural and historical monument.

The museum has an exposition of interesting documents, connected with Marina Tsvetaeva and her family and friends. The collections include Tsvetaeva's autographs, lifetime editions of her books, photographs and other materials related to the great poet. 











Natalia Semicheva.

Images are taken from the author's archive, from the official museum's website and from Livejournal

Author: Natalia Semicheva

Tags: Moscow Russian tourism Moscow museums Russian museums Russian poets 

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