The street is like an exhibit. Walking along Prechistenka street

August 26

Why not turn your weekend walk into an excursion? We are offering you to look at familiar buildings in a new way — as interesting exhibits of an open-air exhibition. The article contains information about the architectural features of the houses and their previous owners, as well as small details that hide interesting things.

The city manor house of the Khrushchevs-Seleznevs: house with Lions and Odysseus

12/2 Prechistenka street, buildings 1, 2

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

A magnificent building in the Empire style that houses the main building of the Pushkin State Museum is one of the main points of interest of Prechistenka street. The manor house was built shortly after the 1812 fire for retired guard warrant officer Alexander Khrushchev. Presumably, the house was erected according to the project of Domenico Gilardi and Afanasy Grigoriev since the architects restored many buildings damaged by the fire.

The building is located at the corner of two streets and has two facades, both decorated as front ones. The facade overlooking Prechistenka street is decorated with a portico having six Ionic columns (their capitals are volute-shaped). Eight columns of the same type are located on the facade overlooking Khrushchevsky Lane. The fronton from the Prechistenka side is decorated with the bas relief that depicts two lions holding the Seleznev family’s coat of arms. It appeared in the second half of the 19th century — the Seleznevs owned the manor house since the 1860s. The lion's heads stucco is also made above some of the windows on the Prechistenka street side.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

The second facade main decoration is the bas-reliefs with scenes from the life of Odysseus that are located behind the portico. The character appears in three scenes: farewell to Ithaca at the onset of the Trojan War, meeting with Achilles and returning home. The facade ends with a triangular fronton decorated with a wreath bas relief.

Until now historians cannot say for sure whether Pushkin visited the house where his museum is located today. The Khrushchevs family that owned the manor house in the poet lifetime, had an wide circle of acquaintances, and theoretically Alexander Pushkin could be a guest at one of the evenings.

The history of museum buildings. Let’s have a look into the manor house of the Khrushchevs-Seleznevs

Kalabukhov house: building with literary glory

24/1 Prechistenka street

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

Mikhail Bulgakov, one of the Russian literature classics of the 20th century, for certain visited his relatives here in the former tenement house in 1916. Later, the writer immortalized it, making the scene of the story "Heart of a Dog".

The writer settled in the house Professor Philip Filippovich Preobrazhensky. The prototype of the professor was Bulgakov's maternal uncle, doctor Nikolai Pokrovsky. The name "Kalabukhov House" invented by Bulgakov, is consonant with the former name of Chisty Lane (Obukhov). After another version the name of Kalabukhov implies the name of architect Semyon Kulagin, who designed and built this house. After the story was published this name survived and the house is unofficially called the Kalabukhov house.

- “Are you the people who were moved into Fyodor Pavlovich Sablin’s apartment?”
- Yes, we are, - Shvonder replied.
- God! The Kalabukhov house is doomed! - Philip Philipovich exclaimed in despair and wrung his hands.

The house, built in 1904, deserves attention not only because of its literary history, it is also an example of Art Nouveau architecture. The first floor is covered with rustic stone and windows of the second floor are decorated with porticoes with semi-columns. There are narrow balconies with curved railings on the second and third floors. Two high windows connecting the second and third floors are made on the facade overlooking Chisty Lane.

E.A.  Kostyakova’s tenement house: Pan flutes and harps

9 Prechistenka street

Photo by Yulia Ivanko,

Bulgakov's fans know that there is another building at Prechistenka street associated with the "Heart of a Dog". Close to the Evdokia Kostyakova’s tenement house — at the intersection of Prechistenka street and Vsevolozhsky Lane — Professor Preobrazhensky meets frozen and hungry dog Sharik. At the time of Bulgakov, the first floor of the building housed a cooperative store Tsentrokhoz mentioned at the beginning of the story. Bulgakov often visited this store; one of the house residents was his friend — painter of the “Jack of Diamonds” group Boris Shaposhnikov.

This L-shaped five-story tenement house was built in 1910 for merchant and philanthropist Evdokia Kostyakova. The project author is unknown, but it is assumed that it is either Gustav Gelrich or Nikolai Zherikhov.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko,

The facades are decorated in a neoclassical style supplemented with Art Nouveau typical elements (a corner bay window from the third to the fifth floor and female mascarons). The walls are decorated with pilasters (flat vertical projections resembling columns) with Ionic capitals. At the level of the second floor, between the windows, there are bas reliefs with ancient musicians’ images: men playing Pan's flutes and double pimples, and a woman with a harp.

The house history, like its exterior, is associated with music. Composer Alexander Goldenveiser lived here; he was often visited by famous musicians and composers Sergei Rachmaninov, Sergei Taneyev and Nikolai Medtner.

Legends in stone: What Prechistenka Street houses have to narrate

Dolgorukov's house: Corinthian columns 

19/11 Prechistenka street, building 1

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

Another building with antique motives is located at the intersection with Sechenovsky Lane — this is the Dolgorukov family house. The central part of the façade is decorated with a six-column Ionic portico. The passages between the main building and the side wings are accentuated by Corinthian columns (with capitals decorated with stylized acanthus leaves). The walls against a blue background bear stucco with floral ornaments, masks and scenes from the ancient Greek mythology.

The complex shape of the house (it seems to be infinitely long) is explained by its restructuring that resulted in the main building and two side wings of the 18th century manor house having one roof. The architect of the house is unknown. Drawings of the new building were found in the “Architectural Albums” of Matvey Kazakov, so some researchers attribute the authorship of the design to him. After the fire of 1812, the manor house was presumably restored by Italian architect Francesco Camporesi. The Dolgorukovs whose name the house bears today, owned it from late 18th century to the 1840s.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

Then the house was rebuilt many times. In the 19th century, it housed the 1st Moscow Gymnasium, the Alexandro-Mariinsky School, founded by Varvara Chertova and later became the Alexandro-Mariinsky Institute. In Soviet times the building belonged to the Red Army. Today it houses the museum and exhibition complex of the Russian Academy of Arts “Art Gallery of Zurab Tsereteli”.

Polivanov’s gymnasium: meander and Pegasi

32/1 Prechistenka street, buildings 1–3, 7–8

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

There were two well-known gymnasiums at Prechistenka street — male (Lev Polivanov's) and female (Sofya Arsenyeva's). Arsenyeva's gymnasium occupied Davydov's mansion (17/10 Prechistenka street). The legend says that correspondence romances often broke out between gymnasium boys and gymnasium girls. The lovers allegedly exchanged messages, secretly placing them into pockets of a mathematics teacher who taught in both gymnasiums.

The building that housed Lev Polivanov's gymnasium was erected in 1820 on the site of the burnt-out Talyzins manor house. Probably Fyodor Sokolov was the architect of the building. The stone manor house was built for the new owner — the guards cornet Pavel Okhotnikov. In 1879, the building passed into the possession of the Pegovs merchants, who rented it out for a gymnasium.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

The manor house complex consists of the main T-shaped building located on the red line of Prechistenka street, two side wings and two service buildings. The main house facade is symmetrical, its center bears an eight-column portico crowned with a stucco fronton. Between the columns there are bas-reliefs depicting scenes from ancient Greek mythology, under them there is a strip with a meander, an orthogonal ornament consisting of continuous line broken at right angles, characteristic of ancient Greek fine art. Both sides of the portico on the second floor have long balconies, the consoles of which are decorated with stucco in the form of fantastic Pegasi and masks.

Today the building houses the art school No. 1 named after V.A. Serov, music school No. 11 named after V.I. Muradeli, a concert hall and creative workshops. You can also look into the courtyard of the manor house — semicircular buildings (former stables) create a closed island of silence and comfort. It is decorated with flowerpots with flowers, sculptures and busts that are copied by young painters on fine days.


Latest Events

Specialnyy pokaz k yubileyu Yu.B. Norshteyna

September 26

Kamernyy koncert k vystavke «Fotograf Nikolay Andreev. Master piktorializma»

September 25
If you continue to use our website, you are agreeing to accept the use of cookies on your device. Cookie files ensure the website’s efficiency and help us provide you with the most interesting and relevant information. Read more about cookie files.
Accept ccokies