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   October 24
 Survival Guide
Volkhonka
Today Volkhonka is an "Art street" of the capital though it was named after a more prosaic "institution" - an inn in the house of prince Volkonsky. The main attraction of the street is the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts which houses one of the finest collections of Impressionists and rich collections of European and Eastern Art. It was originally planned to be a museum of a modest purpose: organisers wanted to open a museum of plaster-casts for students but the outcome exceeded all expectations. Today it is among the best art museums of the world. It constantly organises fantastic exhibitions attracting hundreds of thousands visitors every year.

After an obligatory and inevitable trip to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts true and tireless art lovers have an opportunity to enjoy smaller and less exhausting exhibitions offered at the Museum of Private Collections. But two museums are obviously not enough for the main art street of the capital so the third one appeared several years ago - Roerich Museum. Artists Nikolay and his son Svyatoslav Roerichs are well-known for their highly spiritual works.

Across the road in the house No 11 in 1827 Russian artist Tropinin created one of the most famous Pushkin portraits. Today copies of this portrait can be found almost in every Russian school. The "appendix" to Volkhonka is Lenivka street. This dwarf lane has a funny name - literally it means "the lazy street". According to one version, a very slow ("lazy") river was carrying its waters somewhere in the area; according to another there was a little market with sleepy and lazy salesmen.

Volkhonka bursts into Borovitskaya square. On a hill one can admire a sumptuous and majestic palace of white stone known as Pashkov's house. This masterpiece of Russian classicism, built in 1784-1785, is bathing in legends. According to one of them an incredibly gifted architect Vasily Bazhenov was not allowed to reconstruct Kremlin and to build a palace for Catherine the Great and got quite offended. So he decided to build a beautiful palace right opposite Kremlin but to turn it a little bit so that Kremlin would face the back part of the building. Another legend says that on the top of this palace grateful King of Prussia bowed to Moscow for saving his country from Napoleon. In 1839 Pashkov's house was bought by the state and several years later collections of the Russian State Library were transferred here: 28000 books, 700 manuscripts and nearly 1500 geographical maps. Now Russian State Library ("Biblioteka imeni Lenina" or simply "Leninka"), which is one of the top three biggest libraries in the world, stores its collections in the nearby building erected in 1928-1930 by architects V. Schuko and V. Gelfreikh.
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