Feodosiya or Theodosia is a seaport town in the Crimea, in Ukraine. The city counts 74.669 inhabitants, most of them are Russians. The main language is Russian, only few people speak Ukrainian.

Some 10 km south of Fedosia is the Koktebel health resort. In 1925, Bulgakov wrote the short story Travel across Crimea, in which he ironically described the disadvantages of Koktebel. He had been there with his second wife Lyubov Yevgenyeva Belozerskaya (1894-1987), to visit one of his friends, the poet Maksimilian Aleksandrovich Voloshin (Kiryenko-Voloshin) (1877-1932).

Voloshin, who has been living in Paris for a while, had become a member of the Masonic Lodge Le Travail et les Vrais Amis Fidèles in 1905.



Armavir is a Russian town in the Krasnodar kray on the left bank of the Kuban river on the Taman peninsula. Armavir used to be the second industrial center of the kray after Krasnodar. It is situated 202 km northeast of Krasnodar at the foot of the Caucasus. It’s the intersection of the railroad from Rostov-on-Don to Baku. There is also a petroleum pipeline from Azerbaijan.

The population of Armavir is proud of being mentioned in The Master and Margarita. In the Novorossyskaya ulitsa, a statue has been erected showing «one of these perfectly guiltless beasts brought to the police by some citizen with its front paws tied».

Armavir, Novorossyskaya ulitsa

A pickled mushroom

These pickled mushrooms are still available and very popular in Russia today.

Abducted by the gang of murderers

Probably we’re confronted here with the missing authorial text again. Bulgakov describes the official version given here: Margarita and Natasha have disappeared, presumably abducted by a gang of murderers. And the same would have happened to a mental patient who called himself the master. He was abducted from the psychiatric clinic.

But that contradicts what was previously described in chapter 30. Margarita had been found dead on the floor of the living room in her villa after she had suddenly turned pale, clutched her heart, and cried helplessly: «Natasha... somebody... come...»'. And the master died in room 118 of the clinic of doctor Stravinsky, as we can learn from the dialogue between Bezdomny and sister Praskovya Fyodorovna.

Vodka with blackcurrant buds

Vodka with blackcurrant buds is a vodka flavoured with black currant buds, comparable to the blackcurrant gin known in Belgium and Holland.

The festal spring full moon

The festal spring full moon is the first full moon after the spring solstice, which is important to determine the date of Easter.

The Institute of History and Philosophy

While there was no institute with exactly this name, there were similar combinations, like the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History.

Professor Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev

Only at the first and the last page of the novel Ivan is mentioned by his last name Ponyrev. Most of the time he’s mentioned with his pseudonym Bezdomny or, like in Chapter 27, Ivan or Ivanushka.

Like a lodge brother in Freemasonry, Ivan has gone through different phases of awareness and insights in The Master and Margarita. The ignorant of the first chapter is now a professor.

The interest of Bulgakov for Freemasonry can be explained by the fact that, in 1903, Afanasy Ivanovich Bulgakov (1859-1907), theologian and church historian, and the father of Mikhail Afanasievich, had written an article about Modern Freemasonry in its Relationship with the Church and the State, which was published in the Acts of the Theological Academy of Kiev. Bulgakov refers more than once to Freemasonry in the novel.

You can read more on Freemasonry in The Master and Margarita in the Context section of the «Master & Margarita» website.

The fifth procurator of Judea, the equestrian Pontius Pilate

It is the third time that this sentence appears in The Master and Margarita. In the Russian version Bulgakov changes his approach though. Everywhere else throughout the book he calls Pontius Pilate Понтий Пилат [Ponty Pilat], but here he writes all of the sudden Понтийский Пилат [Pontysky Pilat].