“In a lane hard by St. Chariton's”. Moscow in the novel “Eugene Onegin”

March 25

Moscow was one of the most favorite cities of Alexander Pushkin. The poet was born here, spent his childhood, often visited Moscow. Having grown up, he met the love of his life here and got married. He also paid attention to Moscow in “Eugene Onegin”.

Tatiana Larina goes to the present-day capital in the seventh chapter. Having experienced the first serious disappointment in love, the girl cannot come to her senses in any way. Then her parents decide that it would be good for her to spend some time in Moscow where her aunt lives: to visit the society, shine during promenades, make new acquaintances. Tatiana is accompanied to the relative by her mother.

Let’s follow the Larins into winter Moscow of 1822 (according to the study of literature scholar Yury Lotman, the events of the seventh chapter belong to this period) and make short stops in the places specially highlighted by the poet.

Petrovsky palace (Leningradsky prospekt, 40)

Photo by Maxim Denisov, Mos.ru

Here is, surrounded by its park,

Petrovskiy Castle. Somberly it prides itself

on recent glory.

Petrovsky palace is the first Moscow attraction, which Tatiana sees before entering the city (the city boundaries were quite different then). This building was built by the order of Catherine II after the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774). The park, meaning the Petrovsky park, surrounded it later, in the beginning of the 19th century.

The palace was designed by Matvey Kazakov. The architect never left Russia but despite this fact he managed to create an architectural object being very close by atmosphere to European architectural structures. The palace combines the features of Gothic revival and medieval Russian themes.

The palace was always ready to receive royal persons during their trips. Catherine II herself was here only twice – four days on her way from Novgorod and 10 days on her way from the Crimea.

During the fire of 1812, the Emperor Napoleon stayed here together with his entourage. Pushkin mentions this fact:

In vain Napoleon, intoxicated

with his last fortune, waited

for kneeling Moscow with the keys

of the old Kremlin: no,

to him my Moscow did not go

with craven brow.

It can be imagined that the Larins see the palace not in its best condition –- it was plundered after the war of 1812. Renovation was started later. In 1826, by the order of Nikolas I, architect Ivan Tamansky started to prepare the palace renovation project which will be completed only by the end of 1830s.

During World War I, the palace hosted a hospital, and three years later, after the Revolution, the building was given to the Air Force Academy named after N.E. Zhukovsky. One of its most famous graduates is Yuri Gagarin.

Tverskaya turnpike (in the vicinity of the current Belorussky railway terminal)

...Don't stop get on! The turnpike posts already

show white. Along Tverskaya Street

the coach now hies across the dips.

Tatiana and elder Larina enter Moscow through the Tverskaya turnpike that appeared in 1742 as a new customs border of the city. At first, the turnpike was not the most picturesque place – there were only a guard-house, two obelisk pillars and a lifting gate between them.

In 1814, a wooden arch was built there to meet the Russian troops after their victory over the French. Later, in 1834, the New Triumphal Gate appeared at the Tverskaya turnpike, which was built according to Osip Bove’s project. In 1960s, the gate was disassembled and re-assembled in Kutuzovsky prospect.

English club (Tverskaya street, 21, building 1)

pharmacies, fashion shops,

balconies, lions on the gates

and flocks of jackdaws on the crosses.

The lions on gates will not allow you to make a mistake: this passage is about the English club – the first and the most famous gentleman assembly in Moscow. Young people of noble birth had fun here at leisure – gambling, eating expensive dishes, arguing and debating. The club was private: you could become a member only by referral of a person who was already a club member. But there's more to it – a candidate might not have been approved during ballot voting. And of course, it was easier to be expelled from the club than to become its member: membership was lost, for example, due to a failure to repay a play dept.

The history of the manor house where the club was located begins in 1777–1780. The classicism style house was owned by Major General Lev Razumovsky, who gradually added left and right wings to the building, installed a stone fence with lions over the gate piers. Because of the war of 1812, the owners had to leave Moscow, and upon their return they saw a depressing picture: the house was looted, the living room was apparently used for slaughtering animals. It took three years to put the house in order.

After the death of Razumovsky, the house passed to his brother-in-law, knyaz Nikolay Vyazemsky, who sold the building to the English club. Now it hosts the Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia.

St. Chariton lane (nowadays — Bolshoy Kharitonievsky pereulok)

In this exhausting promenade

an hour elapses, then another,

and in a lane hard by St. Chariton's

the sleigh-coach at a gate before a house

now stops...

In a lane hard by St. Chariton's” — or, to be more precise, at the corner of Bolshoy and Maly Kharitonievsky pereulok — Pushkin housed Tatiana Larina’s aunt. The writer's warmest childhood memories were associated with these places.

Church of Chariton the Confessor in Ogorodnaya Sloboda. Photo from the album of Nikolay Naidenov. 1882

Pushkin’s family lived here for seven years in the early 1800s. It was their favorite Moscow district (one of the addresses is a wooden extension of the Volkov-Yusupov palace). Little Sasha went to the local church with his parents, walked in the garden, visited his grandmother Maria Hannibal.

The lane was named after the Church of Chariton the Confessor in Ogorodnaya Sloboda, which was erected in 1654. The church was destroyed in 1935.

Nobility assembly house (Bolshaya Dmitrovka street, 1)

Photo by Yevgeny Samarin, Mos.ru

To the Sobránie, too, they bring her:

the crush there, the excitement, heat

the music's crash, the tapers' glare,

the flicker, whirl of rapid pairs...

It is in the Nobility assembly house during one of the magnificent promenades that Tatiana Larina meets her future husband – the one about whom she will later tell repentant Onegin: “but to another I belong: to him I shall be faithful all my life”.

The classicism style building, formerly owned by knyaz Vasily Dolgoruky-Krymsky, was bought by the Moscow Nobility Assembly in 1784 in order to hold promenades and society parties. The house was rebuilt under Matvey Kazakov’s project: а large state-room was built in place of the yard, which was later called the Column Hall.

Nobility assembly house. April 1900

The house became a popular place. The most brilliant society of not only Moscow, but also of St. Petersburg gathered in it. Alexander Pushkin also often visited the Nobility assembly house. One theory is that he met his wife, Natalia Goncharova, here.

After the revolution, the building was transformed into the House of Unions. And before that, in 1903, it was rebuilt again under the guidance of Alexander Meisner. The architect added the third floor, changed the facade. Only the Column Hall remained untouched.

Source: mos.ru

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