Moscow: the African Renaissance

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

It is not easy to enter this mansion, located in the center of Moscow. Because this place is owned by Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Which means that without a permission you are not welcome. But I did all the bureaucratic work for you. So now you can make a virtual excursion inside one of the coolest houses in Moscow.    

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

The house of Tarasov reminds a palace. It stands near Patriarsh Ponds (30/1 Spiridonovka st.) since 1912. As you may guess, Tarasov is the name of the owner. He was very very rich Armenian businessman with original surname Tarasyan. Tarasov’ family donated money for theaters and built railways. You see, Armenians are influential not only today, but they were a century ago as well.

 

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

The mansion has been erected very fast. It took only 4 years to finish the work. And do you know why? Because they invented very smart trick. Insted of decorating ceiling with wood they painted it like it was a very expensive type of wood. But in reality the ceiling was made of concrete or stone.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

Tarasov didn’t have a chance to enjoy the mansion, because he died a year before it was constructed. His sons lived in the mansion only several years. But the revolution (1917) forced them to emigrate.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

The only area, which is open to the public, is library. Originally there was no any room on this place. In fact, it was a road. But in Soveat times the passway was captured by walls. The only evidence of the street origin is hand-made giant street lantern. Today numerous books and magazines about Africa are stored inside.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

You definitely heard about Andrea Palladio, a prominent Italian architect (16 century). The first person in Russia, who translated Palladio’s Four Books into Russian (1938) was Ivan Zholtovsky, another prominent architect. And he was the one, who built Tarasov House, inspired by Palladio’s Palazzo Tiene in Vicenza.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

Will this mirror fits your house?

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

Our guide named Tatiana is a middle age intelligent woman. She is a real fan of art. She led us enter inside the offices. As you may guess, you can’t actually enter someone’ office so easily. But she wanted to show us the beauty of the interiors. When we entered another room, a young scientists was working inside empty room with huge ceiling. Tatiana kindly criticized him for sitting in front of computer.

“How could you stare bend over a screen, when you have such an incredible ceiling? You must always keep your head up”, she said.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

“Every single mural here is fantastic. But my favorite is the one with Danae”, Tatiana pointed on one particular picture.

“Danae is having rest here. She doesn’t suspect that the golden rain is Zeus. As a result, Danae gave birth to Perseus. After this story I always advise everyone to carry umbrella with you”.

P.S. All the murals in this room are painted by Lanceray.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

The housed was a property of Polish embassy. During Soviet time the Supreme Court was based here. Today it is owned by Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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In front of the gigantic fireplace

What a size! The ribbon on a fireplace symbolizes joy. It is still in use. The director of the Institute for African Studies sometimes makes a fire for very important guests.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

It is funny how they match African details into Classic interiors.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

This mosaic emigrated from The Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

I’m here for showing the size of the mosaic.

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Me in front of gigantic mosaic

By the way, this young employee is the one, who had to enjoy the ceiling instead of staring at computer.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

This ceiling was decorated by Nivinsky. He also decorated the Maly Theater in Moscow, Kiyevsky railway terminal, Hotel Metropole and even the Lenin’s Mausoleum.

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The ceiling was decorated by Nivinsky

This palace was a real discovery for me. I hope for you as well.

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Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

The map.

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2 thoughts on “Moscow: the African Renaissance

  1. Brianna says:

    What an amazing place! To be able to get accesss is pretty crazy in itself. I love the ceiling pictures–it looks so elaborate!

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