A stagecoach ticket, a sabre and a mug: Sneak peek into Zelenograd Museum’s collection

December 26, 2020

Moscow museums are temporally closed, but visitors can see their treasures and learn about them online. Curators know their collections better than anyone so Tatiana Silyanova took us on a virtual tour around the Zelenograd Museum.

Article by mos.ru and the Mosgortur agency.

Coronation mug

A 19th century enamel coronation mug with a two-headed eagle has a special place in the museum's collection. Mugs of this kind were part of the infamous 4,000 royal gifts prepared to mark the coronation of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra. The souvenir bags, which were handed out on 18 May 1896 during the coronation festivities at Khodynskoye Polye, became the main reason behind the stampede in which numerous people were trampled to death.

Besides the mug, a colourful headscarf used instead of wrapping paper contained gingerbread, a breadroll, some sausage and a bag of nuts and sweets. Writer and journalist Vladimir Gilyarovsky, who witnessed the events first-hand, wrote in his memoirs that those “pretty enamel mugs, some white with gold and the coat of arms, others brightly painted” were the main reason for the tragedy.

People living in Zelenograd gave this item to the museum in 1982.

Diederichs Frères piano

At the beginning of the 20thcentury, Russian tenor Dmitry Tarkhov played on a Diederichs Brothers piano that belonged to the singer’s friend named Shevaldin. Tarkhov often used the instrument when visiting his friend.

Since childhood, Tarkhov had been fond of singing, and while studying law at the Moscow University, he took lessons at the conservatoire with opera singer Varvara Zarudnaya. In the 1920s, Dmitry worked at Moscow theatres, and in the mid-1930s he started to sing on the national radio. Tarkhov was a poet; he also translated opera librettos into Russian and taught at the Gnessin Music Institute.

The history of the instrument is also interesting. Diederichs Frères (Diederichs Brothers) was the first piano company to open in the Russian Empire in 1810. The workshop, which gradually grew into a factory, was established by trader Fyodor (Friedrich) Diederichs. His sons Andrei and Robert followed in the footsteps of their father, and the company soon changed its name to “Diederichs Brothers.” The enterprise ceased to exist in 1918. Over the 108 years of its existence, the factory produced almost 18,000 pianos and grand pianos.

German ceremonial sabre

Items related to the Great Patriotic War make up a large share of the museum’s collection. An interesting exhibit is a German ceremonial sabre with a narrow curved blade and a hilt ornament resembling a lion’s head with ruby eyes. The sabre was seized from a convoy that was carrying equipment for the Wehrmacht troops’ parade on Red Square.

The weapon was given to the museum by Vladimir Grigoryevsky, a Great Patriotic War veteran who fought on the Western, North Caucasus, Bryansk, First Ukrainian and Trans-Baikal fronts. He was awarded the orders of the Red Star, Great Patriotic War (2nd class) and other state awards.

Fight for the Fatherland brochure

A collection of Great Patriotic War lyrics, Fight for the Fatherland, published in 1942, is a small book with the lyrics of songs by Soviet composers to be performed with piano or accordion. The collection contains 15 pieces: six are lyrics by Vasily Lebedev-Kumach, including the famous “Attack the enemy! For the Fatherland, forward!” to the music by Isaac Dunayevsky.

Harsh time,

Heated time

Has come for my fatherland.

Get up, stand up,

The Soviet tribe,

To act heroically and fight.

Firm step

Keep the ranks stricter.

Firm step,

The entire nation is behind us.

Our enemy will be forever


Attack the enemy! For the Fatherland, forward!

Several Soviet composers (Vano Muradeli, Semyon Chernetsky) tried their hand at music for these lyrics by Lebedev-Kumach , but it became a popular song thanks to Dunayevsky’s version used in 1941 in the War Film Collection No. 2.

1831 stagecoach ticket

Exhibits of the Zelenograd Museum include tickets, including one for a stagecoach trip from St Petersburg to Moscow dated 21 April 1831. In the 1830s, the railway between the two cities did not exist and, therefore, the stagecoach was the only way to quickly travel from one city to the other. A large public carriage pulled by four horses carried both passengers and post. Inside, the carriage was divided by a partition; some passengers faced the direction they were going and the others sat backwards. Carriages departed from St Petersburg at 10 am sharp and reached Moscow in a few days. During the trip, they only stopped to change horses and “for one hour for lunch and dinner and for half hour for breakfast.”

It was necessary to buy a ticket with departure date and seat number on it in order to travel with the stagecoach. A day before the journey, every passenger had to bring their passport and police travel permit to the stagecoach office. Once the carriage arrived, passports were returned to the passengers in exchange for their tickets. Travel could cost from 60 to 120 roubles depending on the season and seat: travelling inside cost 120 roubles while seats over the high-bench cost half the price: 60 roubles in summer and 75 roubles in winter.

Source: mos.ru

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