The hospital of Stravinsky
Leningradsky prospekt is nowadays one of the busiest arterial roads in Moscow. It's the continuation of Tverskaya ulitsa, the longest shopping street in the city, and leads, among other places, to the international airport Sheremetyevo in the northeast. We arrive close to this place when following Bulgakov's route description to the psychiatric hospital of doctor Stravinsky.
Bulgakov describes a «famous psychiatric clinic, built recently on the outskirts of Moscow by the bank of the river», equipped with the latest machinery. «There is no such equipment even anywhere abroad. Scientists and doctors come especially to study our clinic. We have foreign tourists every day». That's where Ivan saw, beyond the grille, a balcony, and beyond that «the bank of a meandering river, and on its other bank a cheerful pine wood».
Based on this description, this hospital, where Ivan met the master for the first time, must be the Khimki City Hospital No. 1. It was built in 1907, originally as a dacha for businessman and benefactor Sergei Pavolvich Patrikeev (1867-1914) who was a member of the Moscow city council and honorary curator of the Czar Alexander School. His dacha was designed by the famous modern architect, Franz Osipovich Shekhtel (1859-1926), who also had designed, in 1902, the Moscow Art Theatre MKHAT, and many other still existing buildings in Moscow.
The Khimki City Hospital was fitted with the best equipment from Germany and Switzerland, and served as hospital, then restaurant, then rest home, then hospital again.
According to an announcement at the entrance of the building, Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) has been treated here twice, in 1918 and 1920. The head physician of the sanatorium at that time, Fyodor Aleksandrovich Gete (1863-1938) was the doctor in attendance of Lenin and his family. That's probably the main reason for the retention of this monument of architecture, because the attitude of the authorities for its preservation is much reserved today. Although at the entrance there is a plate with the text Памятник архитектуры or Monument of architecture, the building is not well kept and even neglected by the Управлением государственного контроля охраны и использования памятников истории и культуры Москвы, the Management of the state control of protection and use of monuments of history and culture of Moscow. As a matter of fact, it's a miracle that the building survived the construction of the beltway - the MKAD - and the super-fast expansion of Khimki with its technology enterprises, shopping malls and huge stores. Close to the hospital are the two biggest mega shopping centres of Moscow, with, among others, the huge surfaces of the French concern Auchan and the Swedish Ikea.
The hospital is situated at Pravoberezhnaya 6 at the right bank of the Moscow river. The «cheerful pine wood» which Bulgakov describes could be the one close to the Речной вокзал [Rechnoy Vokzal] or the River Station.
The life of a webmaster does not just consist of sitting for hours in front of a pc like a nerd. If you want to keep your website up to date and keep your visitors interested, you have to go out every once and a while. Which sometimes implies some risks.
On Sunday, September 30, 2007, I wanted to stroll through Moscow again to make more photos of places related to The Master and Margarita. On my wish list was, among others, the clinic of doctor Stravinsky.
The weather was lovely - a beautiful Indian summer with a lovely sun - and, thanks to the negotiation skills of Elena Zavadskaya, a friend of mine who lives in Moscow, a taxi driver had been found prepared to help us in our search. After some efforts we found the place. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to enter the building to make photos of the interior, but yet, the main purpose was achieved.
On our way back, we suddenly noticed that we were followed by a black Lada, driving in our slipstream like a lunatic. On the extremely busy Leningradsky propspekt, he made several attempts to make us stop. But our driver, apparently not a softy neither, very skilfully succeeded in escaping from it each time. It wasn't fun, but it got really scary when a second, similar black Lada, showed up and started assisting the first one. This second car tried to come before us to make us stop, while the first one passed us from the right and the driver suddenly pointed a gun at us.There was not much we could do, we were stuck and had to stop. While the man, with the gun in his hand, arrived at our car, our driver decided to play all or nothing. accelerated like a Formula 1 pilot and he succeeded in getting away. It was the beginning of a frantic chase, weaving between the cars of thousands of Muscovites who were returning from their dachas on this Sunday evening.
Maybe we were protected by higher forces, because a little further the милиция [militsiya] or police had blocked the Leningradsky prospekt. Other car drivers had called the police and they succeeded in stopping the madman. All well that ends well, one could say. But the man, a Chechen who obviously hated the Russians from the bottom of his heart, not only admitted immediately that he had been threatening us with a loaded gun, he also spontaneously showed his licence for this gun to the police. We did not wait to see how it ended, we paid the taxi driver, and went on foot to the Bulgakov house on Bolshaya Sadovaya for a cup of coffee in the Café 302-bis.
Metro: Речной вокзал (Rechnoy Vokzal)
Have a look at the most important places from the novel at a single glance on a clickable map of Moscow.