In the footsteps of the characters of The Master and Margarita
5.52 km | 20 addresses | 4 h 30 minutes
Daily life in Moscow in the 1920s and 1930s plays an important role in the multi-layered novel, The Master and Margarita — it is not simply a background for the fantastical events and the characters’ unusual adventures. The novel, addressed to Bulgakov’s contemporaries, describes the lives of Muscovites in detail, with the arguments arising in communal flats, the issue of flats, the spy scare, the invisible but tangible atmosphere of the Great Terror and so on. The events of the novel take over the entire centre of Moscow, and Bulgakov was almost always very precise in the details – the exceptions include only a few addresses (Margarita’s house, the Dramlit house, Stravinsky’s clinic etc.). Bulgakov’s contemporaries would easily recognize their city in the other details, had the novel been printed at that time. Since then, the city has changed a lot – some houses have been demolished, some have been rebuilt unrecognizably, but through the layers, it is possible to glimpse Bulgakov’s Moscow. Following in the footsteps of Bulgakov’s characters, you can feel Ivan Bezdomny’s horror after the death of Berlioz at Patriarch’s Ponds, his desperation in Herzen’s house, the scale of Satan’s ball in Spaso House, the eccentricity of Behemoth’s antics in the Torgsin on Arbat, and much more. The route begins at the Aquarium Garden, not far from Woland’s ‘unpleasant flat’, runs across Tverskoy Boulevard, takes in the lanes around Arbat and ends at the Alexandrovsky Garden, where Azazello and Margarita met.