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Peredelkino: Literature Beverly Hills à la russe

Just 20 minutes from Moscow by train, lays a small village that has been home to many famous Russian writers of the 20th century and our days.

Peredelkino, Russia
Marina Lukyantseva

Peredelkino is very easily assessable by train from Kievsky rail way station (“Kievskaya” metro station) - actually, driving in the village is no big fun, and train tickets are very cheap - round trip would cost you just a couple of bucks.

Get off the train and head directly to the Church of Transfiguration and the Patriarch Residence. If you come here on a summer morning, you'll find yourself in a crowded church courtyard: young parents brought their babies for christening: women dressed in white and men having tea in front of the church - an idealistic picture that you can hardly locate in time if not for cell phone and cars parked nearby.

Just across a small field there is another one, the Church of Resurrection. Recently built, this white temple serves as a cemetery church. Peredelkino cemetery attracts people from all over the world to come and tribute to Boris Pasternak, the author of “Doctor Zhivago”, who is buried there.

Walked around the cemetery and at the end of it you'll see a simple white monument with a sideview of Pasternak engraved on it. Nor far is the grave of Korney Tchukovsky, a writer, translator and literature critic, famous in the Soviet Union and Russia with his children books. Not far from it has his eternal sleep Arseny Tarkovsky, a poet, next to a wooden cross in the memory of his son, movie director Andrey Tarkovsky, who is buried in France.

Now it is time to head to the village. The first stop and the main destination is, of course, the house of Boris Pasternak. A simple wooden house like millions of others in this country - and here lived someone who was a big thinker and writer. You will be able to tour the kitchen, living room, Pasternak’s wife bed, his office where he wrote “Doctor Zhivago” and many poems, and his room where he died in 1960. Flowers always lay on his bed.

Next destination us Korney Tchukovsky House, just 5 minutes walk from Pasternak’s. As you approach it, you will pass by a green wooden house with giant letters on it saying “LIBRARY”. This was one of Tchukovky’s projects, still working nowadays. The writer’s house is next building, with a funny thing in front of it: a tree decorated with all kinds of shoes: it refers to one of the poet's famous children’s poems - “Tchudo-derevo” (“Wonder tree”).

The last but not the least is Bulat Okudzhava’s house. A poet, writer, composer, singer, one of the most important figures in the life and culture of his time, he is still very influential and beloved by people. Come here on June 12 when Okudzava fans pay tribute to him with a very touching outdoors concert. It is a special experience.

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