This prosperous little village of colourful dachas just half an hour from the centre of Moscow is most famous as being the countryside retreat of the author of Dr Zhivago, Boris Pasternak. Pasternak is not the only Russian luminary to have settled here, the village also contains the former home of celebrated Soviet translator and children’s author Korney Chukovsky as well as the summer residence of the late Patriarch Alexei II.
As you alight the train at the Peredelkino stop, cross over the tracks and head up the small hill. You will soon find a colourful new church being constructed, followed by an older, yet equally brightly decorated church which is part of Patriarch Alexei II’s residence. With the old church to your back head diagonally right across the square and you will reach the graveyard which contains Pasternak’s final resting place - it won’t be hard to spot his gravestone as there always seems to be somebody passing by to pay their respects. When Pasternak died, despite state efforts to keep the details of his funeral secret, hundreds of his fans turned up to recite lines of his poetry at the graveside long into the evening. Continuing down the hill you will hit a large road, head up this road for around half a kilometre to reach the museum homes of Pasternak and Chukovsky (Chukovsky’s home is signposted down a lane to the left and Pasternak’s to the right). Pasternak’s impressive dacha is said to resemble the prow of a ship and with its spacious garden and tranquil interior it is not difficult to understand why he enjoyed spending so much time here writing. A visit here is a real pilgrimage for Pasternak fans, although sadly there is scant information in the museum in English, fans cannot help but be moved to know that this is the room in which most of Dr Zhivago was written. The celebrated children’s author Chukovsky’s house, stands in stark contrast to Pasternak’s and shows evidence of his great imagination. Outside the little dacha is a tree decorated with shoes, in homage to one of his popular stories. Inside the house is filled with books, some of which were gifts and many of which he translated. There are various toys and drawings of his iconic characters such as Doctor Aibolit (based on the Dr Doolittle stories) as well as drawings and photographs of his many famous friends who stayed here such as Mayakovsky and Solzhenitsyn.
GETTING THERE: Local trains (elektrichki) leave approximately every half an hour from Kievsky station. The journey to Peredelkino takes around 35 minutes.
The Pasternak house-museum is open Tue, Wed 10:00 - 16:00, Thu, Fri 10:00 - 17:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon and last Tue of month. Admission 250Rbl. (adults). Excursions for foreigners 3,500Rbl. per group up to 15 people and 4,500Rbl. per group up to 25 people. Call in advance to make an appointment. Tel. (+7) 495 934 51 75, www.pasternakmuseum.ru. The Kornej Chukovsky house museum is open Tue - Sun 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon. Admission 50 - 150Rbl. Call in advance to make an appointment. Tel. (+7) 495 593 26 70. www.peredelkino-land.ru.