Mytishchi and its Surroundings: Pipes, Tanks, and Papier-Mâché
Mytishchi – Center of Nature and Falconry – T-34 Tank History Museum – Fedoskino factory of miniature painting – Marfino manor
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“Over the valley of Mytishchi / The blue sky has grown dark / A sudden peal of thunder from the raincloud / Hit the vale – and a seething fount / Burst out... Drink it, Moscow!” The poet Nikolay Yazykov dedicated these lines to the town north-east of Moscow. It’s true that this area has long been famous for its remarkable spring water – “clean and very good,” as Karamzin noted in his travel journal. In 1779, Mytishchi became the source of water supply to Moscow. Upon an order of Catherine II, construction of pipelines and countless aqueducts began. The system was feeding the capital with water until the mid-20th century. Is there anything else remarkable about Mytishchi?

1. Mytishchi
  • The water pipeline monument is commonly known as “pipes on fire”
Locals call this wonderful landmark a “monument to a deceased plumber,” or simply “pipes on fire.”
Nowadays, the water pipeline past of the town is reflected in an odd, if not bizarre, monument, erected at the intersection of Yubileynaya and Mira Streets in 2004: a “bunch” of three giant pipes, topped with colorful valves. Locals call this wonderful landmark a “monument to a deceased plumber,” or simply “pipes on fire.” We could write a separate guide on monuments in Mytishchi, as they are available here in abundance, including the monuments to a street cleaner and a tailless cat in the central park, the futuristic subway train car near the buildings of Metrowagonmash, and the monument to pilots of the local aviation club with a yellow biplane on top. 

Other attractions of the town include a number of extant ancient churches, some museums, including the museum of nature protection with a profuse collection of bird eggs, and an art gallery. Trying to search the gallery for the famous painting by Perov, depicting a Pope with a cup of tea, is acknowledging your own ignorance. It’s true that the canvas was created at the order of the local government, but it’s exhibited at the State Tretyakov Gallery, not here. After a tour of the town, let’s move on beyond its borders.
2. Center of Nature and Falconry
  • At the Center of Nature, one can meet an owl
We will commence our journey in Mytishchi woods and take part in an absolutely real hunt with a falcon.
To find the falconers, either go to Dmitrovskoye Highway (but in this case you will have to find your way around multiple junctions of the Moscow Ring Road), or right from Mytishchi via Volkovskoye and Ostashkovskoye Highways (and don’t miss two left turns – first to Belyaninovo and second to Afanasovo). It’s better to book this excursion in advance. Most of the times, it’s an interactive game-like trip, transformed either into an easy quest or into a tea party with a samovar in the woods. Most falcons living within the natural reserve area are ex-military, with a glorious track record of crow-hunting at the Moscow Kremlin, but now retired. After you have learned everything about falconry, you will have an opportunity to meet these dignified birds in person – hold one on your arm, protected with a special glove, send it flying, and feed it with raw meat. Children will be thrilled to have a photo shoot with a long-eared owl or a peregrine named Dusya, while grown-ups will experience an exciting encounter with an eagle called Black. The museum itself is quite compact, but the modest exhibition is more than compensated by the enthusiasm of its founders, Konstantin and Alyona Sokolov, as well as by the opportunity to watch birds in their natural habitat, away from cages and aviaries.
3. We will commence our journey in Mytishchi woods and take part in an absolutely real hunt with a falcon. T-34 Tank History Museum
  • ДThe Sholokhovo village promises a thorough study of the “victory machine”
Let’s go to Dmitrovskoye Highway and drive about 16 kilometers, moving away from the town. Near the Sholokhovo village, take the right lane, wait until you see the sign pointing to Fedoskino, turn right and then left, under the overpass. After diving under Dmitrovskoye Highway, make a right turn and take the road that goes through Sholokhovo. 400 more meters, and you made it.
The museum complex called T-34 History Museum is dedicated entirely to the legendary “combat machine.” This is a perfect choice for adults and kids who make their first encounter with armored vehicles. Two floors of the building are occupied by drawings, cross-sections of armor, models and battle dioramas. Under the staircase, there is a tank simulator. Anyone can take the seat of the tank driver and push the levers to find out how hard it is – even physically – to drive this vehicle. Outdoors, near the walls of the museum, there is a tank park. Children will most likely appreciate the T-54A tank “for the curious.” A special gangway is welded to the tank, so it’s very convenient to crawl over the armor and touch everything – from the hatch cover to the caterpillar track.

Where to eat

In the nearby village Aksakovo, there is an unexpectedly nice restaurant Suvorovsky Bivak, which means “Suvorov’s bivouac” (Aksakovo, 5A Parkovaya Street). 

 

 
4. Fedoskino factory of miniature painting
  • Jewelry boxes are sold at wholesale prices at the Fedoskino factory outlet
On the other side of Dmitrovskoye Highway, only four kilometers from the road, the Fedoskino village is situated – the center of Russian lacquer miniature painting.
Painted jewelry boxes from Fedoskino are not made of wood. Just like it used to be three centuries ago, the local factory makes them from papier-mâché – sheets of cardboard, permeated with linseed oil, tightly pressed, and painted with lacquer. The Russian merchant Pyotr Korobov “borrowed” the technology for snuffboxes and bead boxes at the factory of Johann Stobwasser in Braunschweig, whereas the painting technique involving three or four coatings of oil paint was developed by local artists. The first craftsmen, former painters from icon workshops in Sergiyev Posad and Moscow, also established traditional themes: sleighs riding through the snow, round dancing, tea parties, and scenes from peasant’s life. If you want to see the themes depicted on Fedoskino boxes nowadays, visit the famous factory. You can also take a glazing class here or buy a jewelry box, portraying three fiery horses with heads thrown back, at its wholesale price at the factory outlet.
5. Marfino manor
  • The Marfino manor is occupied by a military health resort
The final destination of our journey is the Marfino manor. Let’s go back to Dmitrovskoye Highway and drive about four kilometers away from the town until the first right turn (watch for the road sign).
Young Goths will shed their dark tears of delight once they behold Marfino – a two-story palace with oblong vaulted windows and sharp steeples, standing on a high hill, looks more like a medieval castle or a home of a wealthy and stylish vampire. The steps descending to the pond are guarded by two sinister gryphons. The bridge over the murky pond transforms into a roofed gallery. Its arched entrance is decorated by shields with Maltese crosses. Marfino is first mentioned in chronicles as early as 1585, but the Neo-Gothic style of Nicholas’s epoch appeared much later – in the mid-19th century, thanks to the talent of the architect Bykovsky and the fortune of the then owner of Marfino, the daughter of Count Orlov Sofya Panina. Since 1944, the buildings of the manor have been occupied by a military health resort. The main palace has been renovated, but all the facilities closer to the outskirts of the manor are decaying and deteriorating. Such sceneries are especially appreciated by movie artists: for instance, Nikita Mikhalkov filmed an episode of At Home among Strangers at the stable yard of Marfino, and in Yuri Kara’s The Master and Margarita Woland’s guests ascended the endless stairway to the ball. The manor is officially closed for visitors, but there are two ways to get in – either get a pass after showing your passport to the guards or climb inside through one of the many holes in the fence. 
 

How to get here

By car: you can reach Mytishchi either via Yaroslavskoye or via Ostashkovskoye Highway.
By public transport: the fastest way is to take the Sputnik express at the Yaroslavsky Railway Station. The trip lasts about 20 minutes. If you take a regular commuter train, the journey will be twice as long. You can also take bus No. 169 or 177 from the Medvedkovo Metro station or bus No. 578 from the VDHKh station – but in this case, get ready for traffic jams.


Written by Daniil Kolomiychuk 
Photo: Kirill Chovrin, Panoramio, Center of Nature and Falconry
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