March 3rd is World Writer’s Day. It was established in 1986 at the 48th Congress of the International Writers’ Club. Since then, this date has served as an occasion not only to celebrate the merits of the writers’ workshop in front of universal culture, but also to remember all the most valuable, important and interesting things that are directly or indirectly connected in the world around us with literature and its heroes. Numerous architectural monuments, which gained fame primarily due to their writing, deserve special attention in this series. House number 25 on Tverskoy Boulevard in Moscow is certainly one of the main characters of the day.
“An old two-story cream-colored house was located on the boulevard ring in the depths of a stunted garden, separated from the sidewalk of the ring by a carved iron grate. A small area in front of the house was paved, and in winter a snowdrift with a shovel rose on it, and in summer it turned into a magnificent branch of a summer restaurant under a canvas awning..
This is how Mikhail Bulgakov described in his novel The Master and Margarita the building of MASSOLIT, or Griboedov’s House, on Tverskoy Boulevard, 25, where most of the actions of the most famous of Bulgakov’s works took place. And although in reality the history of this building was not directly related to Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov, Bulgakov in the novel beats the version that the writer’s aunt once owned this house in the very center of Moscow. “Moreover, one Moscow liar said that allegedly on the second floor, in a round hall with columns, the famous writer read excerpts from “Woe from Wit” to this same aunt, spread out on a sofa”– writes the author of The Master and Margarita.
In fact, the prototype of Griboedov’s literary house in Bulgakov’s novel was the manor house where the writer Alexander Ivanovich Herzen was born in 1812. And although he lived here for only five months from his birth, already in the Soviet years, the historic building on Tverskoy Boulevard, 25, was called the Herzen House. Since the 1920s, various writers’ organizations have been located here, including the Writers’ Union, headed by Alexei Maksimovich Gorky. Later, in the former noble estate, which belonged to the Privy Councilor A.A. Yakovlev, Herzen’s uncle, housed the Literary Institute named after A.M. Gorky.
Over the years, almost the entire color of Russian literature has visited the mansion on Tverskoy, including Nikolai Gogol, Vissarion Belinsky, Evgeny Baratynsky, Pyotr Chaadaev, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sergei Yesenin and many other writers and poets of the pre-revolutionary and Soviet periods. And after part of the premises in the wings were converted into apartments, Andrey Platonov, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Osip Mandelstam, Daniil Andreev, Boris Pasternak became residents of the estate for some time.
Currently, in the complex of historical buildings of the Literary Institute named after A.M. Gorky, work is underway to adapt for modern use and restore the object of cultural heritage of federal significance “Manor of Yakovlev A.A., XVIII-XIX centuries.” The restoration project received a positive conclusion from the Glavgosexpertiza. Starting from 2020, work on all buildings and premises continues in the form of expert support. The main task is to recreate the authentic appearance of an architectural monument, which, as noted in the restoration project, “is of great importance for the national culture and the historically developed urban environment” within the boundaries of the boulevard ring in the center of Moscow.
Photo: Arina Desplagni/Literary Institute named after A.M. Gorky