Day 2: Tretyakov Gallery, Tolstoy’s House & Bolshoi Ballet
In the morning we visited the Tretyakov Gallery, one of the country’s two main collections of Russian art, with over 130,000 pieces. The Tretyakov Gallery offers insight into the origins of Russian national culture and its development as seen in art. Below is a photo from the Tretyakov.
In the afternoon, was one of the trip highlights for me, a visit to the Tolstoy house-museum in the Khamovniki (Weavers) district in south central Moscow. It is the home his family lived as their winter estate starting in 1881. It demonstrates the unpretentious version of upper-class urban life in Russia toward the end of the 19th century. An interesting thing about this house was the lack of hallways. There were some, but on the main floor, for example, there was a dining room and then a door straight into a bedroom. I learned that Tolstoy’s wife was basically his editor. He would handwrite his drafts and she would type them and help him revise. Over the course of the trip, I learned that at many tourist sites, visitors have to pay a fee to take photos. I wanted to focus more on taking in my surroundings, seeing as I’m not much of a photographer, so I decided to forgo that option. However, if you want to see photos of the interior, click here.
In the evening we went to a performance by the Bolshoi ballet company. They performed Anyuta, but not at the Bolshoi theater. I’m really embarrassed to say I saw part of it but fell asleep in a few spots. I tried SO hard but I was incredibly jet lagged. It’s a beautiful ballet, they don’t dance pointe, and it’s not a particularly uplifting story. A synopsis can be read here.
Above is a photo of the GUM (pronounced goom) 19th century mall lit up at night in Red Square. It was built in the late 19th century. The interior features three floors with a glass roofed central courtyard. It was gorgeous, kind of like the Rodeo Drive of Russia. A photo of the interior is below.
There’s a video here with a tour and explanation, or click below.