Commemoration of Bulgakov Moscow

Commemoration of Bulgakov Moscow
18 May 2016

When in Moscow, it is in order to look at Bulgakov Moscow as well. Usually people read a book once and then move on to something else. Though personally I am not an exception to this rule, there is one book I keep re-reading without losing interest. It is Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita, with which I seem to have developed some kind of addictive relationship. I am not sure whether it is its comic, cultural, mystical or historical side(s) which so powerfully attract(s) me. I simply need, once in a while, to get hold of the book and read some of it.

Unlike all of the Russians with whom I have discussed this work, I never found the novel to be particularly complex or multi-layered and symbolical. To me – and in this I may be completely wrong – The Master and Margarita is just an electrifying and joyful piece of writing in which is primarily related the journey in Moscow of the devil and his servants, at some point in the 20’s or early 30’s of the last century. Accessorily, there is a love story between a married woman and a writer, whose masterpiece is an account of Jesus Christ’s last days on earth and his encounters with Pontius Pilate.

This personal affection for Bulgakov’s most famous novel, coupled with the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of his birthdate celebrated on May 15th, gave me the strong desire of exploring Bulgakov’s museums and the places in Moscow where some of the scenes of the novel take place.

If you have not already read this novel, do it while you are in Moscow. I assure that you will not regret it! The language is not difficult but you may find more easily accessible the version of the work in your mother tongue. Once the reading exercise is accomplished, go to the infamous flat, to be found on Bolshaya Sadovaya 10, just outside Mayakovskaya tube station. It is at this address where you can visit Bulgakov’s museum. Another of Bulgakov’s residences in Moscow is at 35A, Bolshaya Pirogovskaya, a location where you can currently see the exhibit Manuscripts Do Not Burn.

For many of the places around Moscow referred to in the novel, Bulgakov has used the actual names of these locations. Hence the reference to Bulgakov Moscow. Besides Sadovaya street, this is the case of Patriarchie ponds, Aleksandrovskiy garden or Kievskiy train station. For the rest of the locations, some further research is required, as names do not match with present-day buildings or institutions. In order to discover these, the excursions and events organized by Bulgakov’s museum can be extremely helpful. Indeed, in this period of commemorations, their offer is even greater and there are both day and night events []. Also, around Moscow, some theatres have adapted the novel into a play and it is currently on stage [see, for example,].


Garbis, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow 

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