My travels in Moscow have been confined to the central area—including long walking distances from The Hotel Metropol and Bolshoi Theatre area. Today I took an extended walk to Gorky Park which I couldn't resist visiting, so famous was the novel and film of that name in my teen years.
There wasn't much to the park—at least in the winter, when many of the flower beds and decorative trees had already been wrapped-up in plastic sheeting. But I did see many interesting sights (modest and grand) along the way. And I purposely took different routes in both directions.
Moscow, or the limited part that I saw, was a blend of handsome buildings from the 16th Century through the present. Nineteenth Century Neo-Classical apartment and office buildings were painted in soft, melon colors like honeydew, cantaloupe and canary melon, just like I had seen previously in Saint Petersburg (perhaps an attempt to brighten the bleak winter months?). Art Nouveau architecture (sometimes called "Moderne" or "National Revival/Romantic Style") was plentiful, too. Boldly angular (and very muscular) "fascist" architecture from the Soviet years punctuated the landscape—much of it a stylized "Gothic Art Deco" derivative. And then there were the very old buildings, some of them wood-framed from the 1500's (like Saint Basil's Cathedral).
On the way back to the hotel, I ran across this recently-renovated Art Nouveau house on Ostrozhenka Street. It was a large, single-family house built between 1901 and 1903. It was certainly special in its day, perhaps an upper middle class home—though it was not palatial or aristocratic. Heavy, carved limestone trim was clustered abundantly upon the modest red-brick structure—resulting in a very handsome, nearly storybook castle effect. Like the Arts & Crafts or Art Nouveau design in other countries, there seemed to be a fairytale revival at play. It was a handsomely compelling structure—and I'm so glad I took a different route home from Gorky Park.
More from Moscow tomorrow.
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