There are house museums in every city of Russia. Sure! Each is proud of its famous natives. One can notice that some houses and apartments are museums, where a famous person once lived. Moscow is not an exception in this case, but unlike other cities, Moscow has house museums even of those famous people, who were not native to this city. We will show you one of such houses. We are going to the Bulgakov museum. Since his birth in Kiev till his full move to Moscow, the writer had lived 30 years of eventful and complicated life.
Triumfalnaya Square, Moscow
Where is the Bulgakov museum in Moscow? Its address is almost the same as the address of the “Not-Good Apartment” from the well known Bulgakov’s novel. Mikhail Bulgakov lived on Bolshaya Sadovaya street,10, apartment 50. The “Not-Good Apartment” is located in Moscow on Bolshaya Sadovaya, 302, on the fifth floor, number 50. All fits except for the house number.
To appear in this unique apartment, we need to get on Moscow metro and get off it on Mayakovskaya station. Exiting the metro we find ourselves on the fresh renovated and brand new Triumfalnaya Square.
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Way to Bulgakov house
Now we are walking down the Bolshaya Sadovaya street directing to the downward numbering of the houses, on the even side of the street. We are passing by the Moscow Academic Satire Theatre, behind which the garden “Aquarium” is situated. Seeking Mikhail Bulgakov museum we walk into this garden, which turns to be the dead end for us. Apollo with a lyre fountain meets us in the garden. We are happy to be here, because it is very beautiful.
We decide to move back to our route. We continue our search and find an arch in a house right next to the garden from Bolshaya Sadovaya street side. This arch is decorated with signs, which direct us to the mythical house. It is not that easy to walk by these signs. So you will not be confused.
The «Not-Good Apartment»
Now we are in the yard of the house. First thing we notice is the sculpture monument «Koroviev and Behemoth» — characters from «The Master and Margarita». It’s clear we are in the right place. The sculpture has been here since 2011, the 120th writer’s birth anniversary.
Bulgakov house museum is also known as the theatre museum. You can go there not only for a tour, but also for theatrical performances. You can gather more information about its art creativity here.
Once you saw everything in the apartment, don’t be in a hurry to leave the place of the house number 10 on Bolshaya Sadovaya street. There is the writer’s apartment, in this very house but in the section number 6. In order to get there, you need to dial 50 on the intercom. You will know you are in the right place once you walk in through the front door.
The walls are decorated with different inscriptions, mostly the fragments from the famous “The Master and Margarita”. The apartment is on the upper floor, you will enjoy the wall art on Bulgakov theme while getting there. The front of the house has looked different. Sometimes the walls and the ceiling are renovated again and the painting starts anew. This process is similar to the way the city services cut down the locks from parapets on the waterfront (Russian wedding tradition: hanging locks on parapets meaning long happy married life).
The entrance to the apartment number 50 is chargeable. You can see the price on the site of Bulgakov house museum. The apartment itself is in typical Soviet Era style. The house is pretty modern. The lifestyle in this, nationalized after the revolution, house has been settled with the new residents, who came after the painters, engineers, doctors and lawyers. The thing is that Bulgakov and his wife lived only in one room of the communal apartment. The rest of the rooms were occupied by workers, who worked in the tobacco factory “Ducat” (not far from the apartment), and by the typographical staff.
Everything is stylized and restored according to the post-revolutionary life in this apartment. Kitchen is a special work of art. It is the center of Bulgakov’s mysticism and the Soviet spirit. Beside Bulgakov there were 18 more residents here. Some of them kept hens and piglets. No wonder, the kitchen was not only the place for gatherings, but also for real fights.
The other rooms of the apartment are of the early-Soviet Era kind. Exactly in these interiors with heavily curtained windows and massive mirrors on the walls, with oak cupboards in the corners of the rooms, Bulgakov settled Voland with his group, who did what the author couldn’t do himself – cleared the apartment number 50 of its residents.
Mikhail Bulgakov Room
The main attraction of the “Not-Good Apartment” is the room of Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov. The exposition is presented in the way to immerse the visitors in Bulgakov’s life. In this room, where the cabinet was combined to the living room and bedroom, the first novel “The White Guard” was written by the author. The massive table displaces all from the rest of the space, taking up most of the room.
Bulgakov lived in this room for three hard years. Here he knew that the white army, where his brothers fought, was defeated. All those feelings, which the writer felt in this small space, with all those communal fights, eventually merged into one simple phrase – “Not-Good Apartment”.
Our excursion to Bulgakov museum would not be completed, if we didn’t visit another famous Bulgakov’s place. This place is located two blocks away from the writer’s apartment. It is Patriarch Ponds. You need to walk one quarter down Bolshaya Sadovaya street to Malaya Bronnaya Street and another quarter to Yermolaevsky alley and here we are!
Why is this Bulgakov’s place? In his the last and most famous novel “The Master and Margarita” the events take place precisely on Patriarch Ponds. If you forgot, this is the entry from the maitre: «Once in spring, in the hour of unusually hot sunset, in Moscow, on Patriarch Ponds, two citizens appeared.»
For me (as a non-Moscow resident) Patriarch Ponds is the place from “The Master and Margarita” scene first of all. That is why there is some confusion of this kinship signs. Previously, there was a road sign saying “Talking to strangers is forbidden”, but it is no longer there.
Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov is the great Russian writer. His life and experience were reflected not only in the mystic novel “The Master and Margarita”. His native city and experience gathered while servicing as a doctor in the White Guard army were reflected in the novel “The White Guard”, his morphine addiction in the “Morphine”, his medical practice in the “A Young Doctor’s Notebook”. He described his life experience in papers and some of them, that he, apparently, didn’t like, were destroyed. It is interesting that in 1926, during the search, they withdrew his diary and a manuscript of the “Heart of a Dog”. They had returned the diary back, but the writer burnt it. Surprisingly, the diary’s copy, which was made on Lubyanka, has survived till now. As say author: «Manuscripts don’t burn»!