Locations from the novel

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The places on which Bulgakov situates the actions in The Master and Mar-garita were very well known in Moscow, or became very famous after the publication of the novel. Some places turned into real places of pilgrimage.

Like an experienced city guide, Mikhail Bulgakov takes the reader by the hand when he describes the city. Sometimes he calls the places explicitly by their names, like Patriarch’s ponds, Bolshaya Sadovaya ulitsa, Sparrow Hills, the Kremlin, the Alexander Garden, Arbat, or the currency store Torgsin. Sometimes he gives indirect, yet enough information to make the reader understand where he should imagine the action. The granite steps of the Moscow River amphitheatre where Ivan dives into the water is at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the iron man which Riukhin passes and to whom he directs all his reproches is the statue of Pushkin at Pushkin square, and the most beautiful house in Moscow from where Woland looks over the city is, without any doubt, the Pashkov house.

But in the good tradition of satire Bulgakov also describes places needing some research or inside knowledge in order to be situated correctly. Some of these places are situated in the writer’s private life, like the houses of friends or acquaintances, or they are related to typical situations in the Stalin era, especially related to the literary life. Examples are the Herzen house, where Bulgakov situates Griboedov, the Spaso house, where the great ball of Satan is located, or the basement of the Master where friends of Bulgakov lived and where he wrote parts of The Master and Margarita himself. In most cases Bulgakov gives hints to find the places, sometimes in a rather subtle way. To locate the house where Margarita lived, for in-stance, you can follow the description of her flight on the broomin the oppo-site direction, just like it is possible to locate doctor Stravinsky’s hospital by following Riukhin’s taxi drive in the opposite way.

But you don’t need to make the efforts. Because most of the places of the novel are described in this part of the website, with background informa-tion. You can situate them on the Googlemap, and even explore them as if you were there yourself. And the places which are not described yet, I hope to add after my next visit to Moscow.

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