8. The combat between the professor and the poet

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Stravinsky's hospital Stravinsky's hospital

The prototype of Doctor Stravinsky's hospital where Ivan meets the master for the first time was probably the Khimki City Hospital No. 1 in the northern part of Moscow. It was built in 1907, originally as a dacha for business man and benefactor Sergei Pavolvich Patrikeev (1867-1914). Patrikeev was a member of the Moscow City council an honorary curator of the Tsar Aleksei school. The house was designed by the famous architect Frantz Schechtel, pseudonym of Fyodor Osipovich Shechtel (1859-1926), who had also conceived the Moscow Art Theatre MKhAT in 1902, and who designed much more remarkable houses in Moscow.

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Looky there! Just like the Metropol! Hotel Metropol

The Metropol hotel was built between between 1899 and 1903 by the British architect William Walcot (1874-1943). This posh art-nouveau hotel has 400 rooms and suites and it is decorated with mosaics by the artist Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910). The construction was financed by the industrialist, merchant, entrepreneur Savva Ivanovich Mamontov (1841-1918), who wanted to build a cultural center. Walcot applied to the open contest with a draft codenamed Женская головка [Zhenskaya golovka] or A Lady's Head, earning the fourth prize and losing to Lev Nikolaevich Kekushev (1862-1917/1919?). However, Mamontov discarded the professional jury decision, and awarded the design to Walcot, while Lev Kekushev would later join the team as a project manager. More than once, Walcot's original plans were changed in the process. In fact, there is little common between the extant building and its 1899 draft.

The Metropol has been the site of many historic events, including speeches by Vladimir Lenin and the 1918-1919 meetings of the Central Committee of the Russian Republic. It became one of the hotels specially designated for foreigners. It is still one of the most luxurious hotels in Moscow.

Click here to see how the hotel presents itself today.

They got out of Ivan decidedly everything about his past life

Again, we see a reference to Freemasonry. Before a candidate is allowed to be initiated as an apprentice, he is subjected to a thorough examination, similar to the one Ivan goes through, when he is asked questions «about Uncle Fyodor, who had done some hard drinking in Vologda». At that interview, the candidate will not see any of the Masons, except for the questioners. Only later he will meet the Grand Master. In the novel, the questioning of Ivan is done «by three persons - two women and a man - all in white». Only after they have asked all their questions, he will meet doctor Stravinsky in person.

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.

Click here to read more on Freemasonry in The Master and Margarita

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