The Pashkov house

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One of the most beautiful buildings in Moscow

«At sunset, high over the city, on the stone terrace of one of the most beautiful houses in Moscow, a house built about a hundred and fifty years ago, there were two: Woland and Azazello».

The beautiful building is the Pashkov House in Mokhovaya street, built between 1784 and 1787. So it was indeed about 150 years old when Bulgakov wrote The Master and Margarita. The house was built at the slope of the Vagankovsky hill facing the Borovitsky gates for Peter Yegorovich Pashkov, (1726-1790), who was a retired officer and the son of an orderly of czar Peter I (1682-1721).

In 1812, the Pashkov building was destroyed by a fire when Napoleon invaded Moscow. Later the building was acquired by the government. It was renovated and became a school for children of the nobility. After that it was the first public library which also appeared to be a real cultural centre for Moscow. Prominent Russian writers and scientists came here to study, like Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828-1910), Fyodr Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1888) and Dimitri Ivanovich Medeleev (1834-1907).

After that the Pashkov house became part of the Rumyantsev Museum, and Bulgakov visited it often in the 20s, when it had become the Lenin Library. Today it houses the manuscript collection of the State Library, including Bulgakov's archival manuscripts.

The building, designed by Vasily Ivanovich Bazhenov (1737-1799), is classical in style, with columns, urns, and terraces reminiscent of Rome. It had a garden with a pond, but that can’t be seen anymore. Today the house looks over a never ending car traffic stream. In 2009, it was completely restored and made accessible again.

Unwanted residents

The Pashkov House is one of the places in Moscow with a permanent problem of rats. In Moscow live «dozens of millions» of rats. Their number is estimated between four and ten rats per Moscovite. Almost all are grey rats [pashuks], weighing between 250 and 350 grams, and they can be 30 cm long with a tail between 10 and 15 cm. Rats don't bother much about rank nor position. It took a very long time before rat exterminators were able to catch a rat in the office of minister of Culture Mikhaïl Shvydkoy. The news channel Вести Москва [Vesti Moskva] even reports 40 rats per Muscovite.

Metro: Библиотека имени В. И. Ленина (Biblioteka Imeni V.I. Lenina)

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