Клиника профессора Стравинского

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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 road when following Bulgakov's route description to the psychiatric hospital of doctor Stravinsky.

Bulgakov describes a "famous psychiatric clinic, built recently on the out-skirts of Moscow by the bank of the river", equipped with the latest machi-nery. "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".

It's most likely that this hospital, where Ivan met the Master for the first time, was inspired by the Khimki City Hospital No. 1. It was built in 1907, origi-nally as a dacha for businessman and benefactor Sergei Pavolvich Patri-keev (1867-1914) who was a member of the Moscow city council and ho-norary 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 o-ther 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, Lenin was treated here twi-ce, in 1918 and 1920. The head physician of the sanatorium, Fyodor Alek-sandrovich Gete (1863-1938) was the doctor in attendance of Lenin and his family. That's probably the main reason for the retention of this monu-ment of architecture, because the attitude of the authorities for its preser-vation is much cooler today. Although at the entrance there is a plate with the text Памятник архитектуры or Monument of architecture, it is not well kept and even strongly 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 mo-numents 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, shop-ping 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 Mos-cow river. The "cheerful pine wood" which Bulgakov describes could be the one close to the Речной вокзал (Rechnoy Vokzal) or the River Station.

Living dangerously

The life of a webmaster does not just consist of sitting for hours in front of your pc like a nerd. If you want to keep your website up to date and to 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 novel. On my wish list was, a-mong 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 was 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 purpo-se was achieved.

On our way back, we suddenly noticed that we were followed by a black La-da, driving in our slipstream like a lunatic. On the extremely busy Lenin-gradsky propspekt, he made several attempts to make us stop. But our dri-ver, 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, 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, ar-rived at our car, our driver decided to play all or nothing. accelerated like a Formula 1 pilot and he succeeded in getting away with our car. It was the beginning of a frantic chase, weaving between the cars of thousands of Muscovites who were returning from their dachas .

But maybe we were protected by higher forces, because a little further the милиция (militsiya) or police had blocked the road. Other car drivers, on their way back home from their dachas, had given the alarm and the police 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 bot-tom of his heart, not only admitted immediately that he had been threate-ning 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.

Stravisnky's hospital on the map of Moscow

Metro: Речной вокзал (Rechnoy Vokzal)



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