Александровский сад

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At the beginning of Book II Margarita sits here on a bench, under the Kremlin  wall, settled in  such  a way that she could see the Manege. The funeral procession of Berlioz passes through, probably going to Дом Союзов (Dom Soyuzov) or the House of the Unions and its famous Колонный зал (Kolonny zal) or Colonnade. She's accosted by Azazello, a "fiery redhead with a fang", who confirms to her that her beloved Master is still alive. He asks her to be the hostess at the Satans' ball at Woland's and gives her the cream with magic power.

Александровский сад (Aleksandrovskii sad) or Alexander Garden was one of the first public parks in Moscow. It occupies all the length of the western Kremlin wall in front of the Moscow Manege. After the Neglinka river was encapsulated in an underground pipe, there had been decided to turn the former riverbed into a public park. It was laid out in 1819-1823 to a design by Osip Ivanovich Bove (1784-1834) and named after the reigning emperor Alexander II (1818-1881). The park comprises three separate gardens, which stretch along the western Kremlin wall for 865 meters.

In 1913, when the third centenary of the Romanov dynasty was being celebrated, they erected an obelisk in the Upper Garden. Five years later, it was reconstructed by the bolsheviks into a monument to the Russian Revolution. In 1967, they constructed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame brought from the Field of Mars in Leningrad

In the Alexander Garden there are bustes of some important personalities: the poets Lerm, Ontov and Gogol and the composer Glinka. They are clustered around a fountain. Striking present is also the monument of the traveller Nikolai Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky (1839-1888),, with a camel lying next to his feet. It reminds of the fact that this general during his travels in Asia had discovered a species that was unknown by scientists until then. He also discovered a wild horse named after him, the Przhevalsky horse.

Margarita could see the Manege. This building was also built by Osip Ivanovich Bove after the war with Napoleon, after a design of the Spanish engineer  Agustín de Betancourt y Molina (1758-1825). Originally, as it s indicated by its name, the building was a riding academy or manege. Later it was used as a concert hall as well. In 1967 Hector Berlioz and Nikolai Rubinstein played there for a crowd of 12.000 people. In Bulgakov’s time the building was used as a garage and a depository for the Kremlin.

Later the Manege was renovated with the aim to turn it into a permanent exhibition hall. But on March 14, 2004, it burned completely down. It was entirely rebuilt and on February 18, 2005, the Manege reopened with the exhibition which was planned for the day it burned down.

Click here to see a 360° photo of the Alexander Garden

Metro: Александровский сад (Aleksandrovsky sad)



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