Around Klin: the VIPs
Memorial house of Tchaikovsky – Demyanovo – Boblovo – Shakhmatovo manor in the village of Tarakanovo
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The picturesque Klinsky District is famous not only for the scenery, but also for its notable residents. In this area, estates of Dmitri Mendeleev, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Blok, and the Taneyev brothers were located. Tchaikovsky owned his estate in Klinsky District only for the last couple of years of his life (1892–1893), and Blok was looking for peace here, whereas Taneyev and Mendeleev were keen on parties and gathered the crème de la crème of the Russian culture and science. The status was also important: when a musician or a scientist was travelling from Moscow to St. Petersburg, they might have thought, “Why not visit a colleague on the way.” Now we also get a chance to become familiar with the cultural life of this provincial domain.

1. Memorial house of Tchaikovsky
  • Tchaikovsky’s memorial house still keeps the spirit of an old-fashioned manor
The museum was set up almost immediately after Tchaikovsky’s death at the suggestion of his brother Modest.
The first two locations on the route are old manors that you see when you approach Klin from Moscow. At the junction of Sportivnaya (part of the highway) and Tchaikovsky Streets, the manor of the great composer is hiding. Even if you’re not a fan of classical music, this place is still worth visiting: a shady park, a wooden mansion, and numerous outbuildings and gazebos still keep the spirit of that old-fashioned manor and, unlike hundreds of other manors in Russia, are maintained in perfect condition. The park opens up to the road with a new building of philharmonic hall, and Tchaikovsky Street leads directly to the historical center of the town.
2. Demyanovo
  • At the turn of the 19th century, all the crème de la crème of the Russian culture visited the Taneyevs’ manor
this place was once visited by Alexander Pushkin (as an 11-year-old boy on his way to Tsarskoselsky Lyceum), a number of writers from Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin and Sergey Aksakov to Andrey Bely, different painters, musicians (such as Alexander Alyabyev or the Gnesins), and scientists...
The second manor stands on the left-hand side of the highway, behind a grayish housing complex, and you can get there via Taneyev Avenue. The Taneyevs were the last owners of this place – Sergei, who was a composer (and of course, Tchaikovsky’s friend and performer of his symphonies) came to visit and his brother Vladimir lived here permanently. However, this place was once visited by Alexander Pushkin (as an 11-year-old boy on his way to Tsarskoselsky Lyceum), a number of writers from Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin and Sergey Aksakov to Andrey Bely, different painters, musicians (such as Alexander Alyabyev or the Gnesins), and scientists. Apollinary Vasnetsov had his fine arts workshop here, and Kliment Timiryazev even ran a laboratory at the manor.

Nowadays, the huge and partially unkempt park hides the ruins of the Taneyevs’ house, a wooden outbuilding with a tuberculosis dispensary, a small summer cottage of the Bugaevs (Andrey Bely’s family), hardly distinguishable remains of Vasnetsov’s summer cottage, and the Church of the Assumption with a rich necropolis, dating back to the 1740’s. From Sportivnaya Street, closer to the center of the town you can see a waterfall – a tall dam on the Sestra River, with a pond behind it separating the wild manor park from the town’s well-kept garden, the favorite leisure spot of Klin citizens. A bit farther, at the corner of Tikhaya Street – near the historic entrance to the town – stand a former holding prison and the Church of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1907).
3. Boblovo
  • Mendeleev’s house burned down, but it has been very carefully restored
He surely was a great scientist, even if we leave aside the legend of how he invented vodka. During Mendeleev’s time, a hot-air balloon was flying here and his friend Alexander Popov was broadcasting his radio waves.
Another manor that once belonged to outstanding people is located 30 kilometers away from Klin, closer to Rogachyov. In 1865–1906, Dmitri Mendeleev, the author of the periodic table that each and every one of us has seen in chemistry classrooms at school, would spend his summers here, at the Boblovaya Hill. He surely was a great scientist, even if we leave aside the legend of how he invented vodka. During Mendeleev’s time, a hot-air balloon was flying here and his friend Alexander Popov was broadcasting his radio waves. Other scientists, like Beketov, Lyudvigovsky, and Timiryazev, also stopped by. The picturesque scenery of the Boblovaya Hill attracted artists like Kuinji or Repin, who flew a hot-air balloon together with the host and watched a solar eclipse. Mendeleev’s daughter Lyubov was married to Alexander Blok, and Blok, in his turn, was Andrey Bely’s friend, and that is why masters of symbolism were frequent guests here as well. The manor burned down during the Civil War, but the scientist’s modest house was restored in 1987, and a museum was opened here – it’s not big, but quite interesting, just like the history of this place. Around the manor, on the slopes of the Boblovaya Hill, there is a well-groomed and stunningly beautiful park.
4. Shakhmatovo manor in the village of Tarakanovo
  • Shakhmatovo, a very intimate manor
One more manor, which is small and quiet, is located in Solnechnogorsky District. Andrey Beketov, a botanist, bought it in 1874; in 1881–1916 his grandson Alexander Blok made it his favorite place, and in 1903 he married Lyubov Mendeleeva at the local Church of Archangel Michael. The house built here in 1910 based on a sketch by Alexander Blok burned down during the Civil War and was restored in 2001 as a museum. A church, dating back to the middle of the 18th century, lies in ruins. All in all, the mystical longing for this place that we find in Blok’s poems suits this properly maintained area perfectly well.

Where to eat

Klin offers numerous public catering services, including the trivial McDonald’s. Klin residents are fond of the café Alex (4 Dzerzhinskogo Street) with Pan-European cuisine and modest prices compared to Moscow. Best pizzas are served at Dolce Vita (26 Gagarin Street). Moreover, it’s worth remembering that about 10–15 years ago, local beer was popular all over the country (and it’s still being brewed here).

Where to stay

There are not so many hotels in Klin. You can choose among a few mini-hotels and apartment hotels. The most popular ones are Klever and Akvamarin (but they aren’t cheap – 2,700 rubles a night or more) or apartment hotel Uyutny Dom (although the road that leads there is not so nice).

How to get here 

By car: 86 km along М10 Highway to Klin, then 27 km along the Outer Ring Road: (Dorshevo) – Boblovo – Popelkovo – Tarakanovo – Solnechnogorsk – Leningradskoye Highway.
By public transport: 
– Commuter train from the Leningradsky Railway Station. The trips takes 1 to 2 hours
– Bus from the Vodny Stadion Metro station – running roughly every 30 minutes, but there’s a risk to get stuck in the infamous traffic jams on Leningradskoye Highway. If the traffic is good, the bus trip will take about 1.5 hours
– To Boblovo – bus No. 42 from the Klin Bus Terminal at 6.25 a.m., 1.05 p.m., and 3.05 p.m. The ride takes about 40 minutes
– To Tarakanovo – bus No. 24 from the Solnechnogorsk Bus Terminal, every hour or hour and a half. The journey takes about 30 minutes. The only way to get from Boblovo to Tarakanovo is to hitchhike (through Popelkovo), or walk about 6 km along the Sestra River.

Written by Ilya Buyanovsky
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