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Now take a look! We've come to the most famous of the mansions along Spiridonovka Street – Zinaida Morozova's mansion. It's behind a pretty high wall on the odd-numbered side of the street. But this gothic -style C19th chateau remains impressive even from behind the wall! Regrettably there is no access for the public – the building is now in official use, under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, it's open for one day per year – Museum Day – on the 18th of May.
Zinaida Morozova was the wife of one of the most colourful personalities of the late C19th – the industrialist and philanthropist Savva Morozov. He loved her passionately. And thus he gave his wife this plot of land on Spiridonovka, located across the road from the Church of St Spiridon – the patron saint of material well-being. The wife of this fabulously wealthy oligarch gave no regard to cost, and engaged as architect for the interiors none other than the legendary artist Mikhail Vrubel. His original paintings were later damaged in a subsequent fire, but have been mostly restored, and are still in place on the walls of the Large Cigar Lounge.
Savva Morozov was well-known as a fabulously wealthy entrepreneur and philanthropist – but this didn't prevent him holding liberal views or associating with communists. He even hid a revolutionary in his own house on Spiridonovka, while police were turning the city upside-down looking for him. He also used his own factories as a hiding-place for smuggled banned publications, gave money to support the printing of “The Spark” (the illegal pro-revolutionary newsletter), and donated funds to the Bolsheviks. But it all came to a sad end.
In 1905 Zinaida Morozova found her husband dead in their hotel room in Cannes – he'd been shot in the chest. An alleged 'suicide note' was found – but no-one believed it. After his death, Zinaida sold the house. She could not bear to live there – every night she imagined she heard him in his study, coughing and shuffling along.
We would like to offer you a very interesting tour in the centre of Moscow – around Patriarshiye Prudy or Patriarch’s Ponds. For the last 200 years, there has been only one pond known to the public, although, the name of Tryokhprudny Pereulok (lit. Three-Pond Lane) suggests there used to be more. It is known that in 1683-1684 Patriarch Joachim ordered to dig three ponds for drainage of wetlands and fish farming to the patriarchal table. So, such ponds were fishponds.
The area is named after the seventeenth century Patriarch's Goat Sloboda located on the Goat Marsh. This marsh once was connected by a brook to the Presnya River in the west; by 1739, when the first topographic map was compiled, the brook disappeared and the marsh separated from the Presnya. People considered the swamp as an anomalous zone; apparently this caused a proverb ("Thomas has hastened, but made people laugh - he sticked in Patriarshy").
The pond acquired its present shape and was cleaned up in 1830-31 in the frames of the plan to rebuild Moscow after the Fire of 1812.
At the beginning of the XX century the area around the Ponds was actively built up. Among the buildings appeared at this time, you can see the mansion of Tarasov. In 1924, the Soviet government in the fight against religion renamed the Patriarch's Ponds in Pioneer Ponds. In 1945 in Ermolaevsky Lane a house for senior military commanders of the USSR was built.
Near the Ponds you will find a monument to Ivan Krylov. The fabulist sits surrounded by animated characters of his works: a monkey in front of a mirror, barking pug after the elephant, crow with cheese.
This district is, directly or indirectly, connected with Russian poets: Karamzin, Zhukovsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Baratynsky, Krylov. Not far from the Ponds lived Vladimir Mayakovsky. In Tree-Pond Lane Marina Tsvetaeva was born.
The novel by Mikhail Bulgakov “Master and Margarita” begins at Patriarch's Ponds. During the tour you will see the Museum-Theatre "Bulgakov's House". The district has a number of museums: Yermolova Museum, State Museum of Oriental Art, Anton Chekhov’s Museum, Svyatoslav Richter Memorial Apartment, Alexey Tolstoy Memorial Apartment, Maxim Gorky Memorial House, etc.