Mikhail Bulgakov is my Russian literary bae.
Today is my second day in Moscow, and I went on a mission to go find the Bulgakov House. Yesterday was our first day, so we had to go see the Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral and all that—but I found the Bulgakov House to be much more exciting.
I read “The Master and Margarita” about a year and a half ago, and it blew my mind into outer space and left the pieces scattered throughout the universe. I love that book. I read “A Country Doctor’s Notebook” and it made me admire Bulgakov so much—a writer and a doctor; and the diary entries show his sense of humor that I find so witty and smart. “A Heart of the Dog” is the gnarliest one, but the funniest. And “Fatal Eggs” is enjoyable too, although more heavy on the satirical/political side. I still need to read all his other works, but those four are enough to make him one of my top favorite writers.
I couldn’t find the place at first, so I asked this Russian woman who couldn’t speak English—but I had my guidebook so I showed her the address. She told me to keep walking straight ahead. So I thanked her, and kept walking, but still couldn’t find it—and Google Maps said I had already passed it.
And then that kind woman came back—actually came back—to tell me that she had mistaken the direction and then she told me to follow her and she walked me to the right address instead. So kind and so nice of her.
When I got there, the first thing I saw was a red bus/tram with the numbers 302 and a statue of Woland’s entourage in “The Master and Margarita”. There is no entrance fee to the museum. The museum’s not too big—I spent maybe around half an hour there.
This is the house where MIkhail Bulgakov used to live and where a lot of the scenes in “The Master and Margarita” are based. Below are some photos of the rooms and his various belongings.
Above: I’m guessing that those are his medical tools—check out his book, “A Country Doctor’s Notebook”
Above: There’s also a cafe inside the museum. It has that eerie, mysterious feel, just like in the story of “The Master and Margarita”. You can also purchase his books, postcards, and other souvenirs at the counter.
Above: The old man with the black cap was really sweet. He first asked where we are from—asked in Russian, and struggled a while before we both understood each other. When we went outside the museum, he was having a cig outside and beckoned for me to follow him into the courtyard. Of course, all in Russian—so I was unsure of where we were going. But turns out, he wanted to show me that there’s another Bulgakov Museum. Apparently it’s like the “rival” museum, just a few doors down. Unfortunately it’s closed on Mondays (and today is Monday), so we couldn’t enter the museum. There were Bulgakov-related graffiti on the walls, so the man seemed to want me to photograph them. Then he just left us there and that was the last i saw of him. Just thought it was such a nice gesture of him to do that.
Above: This black cat is a permanent resident of the museum—and its name is “Behemoth”, after the character in “The Master and Margarita”. It was so chill—didn’t even flinch when I went near it. I guess it’s used to visitors cooing over it. And it didn’t even seem to mind when I just kind of put my book next to it as a photo prop.
I really had so much fun there, even though I couldn’t really understand what a lot of things were/meant—there were no English descriptions and no one I could really ask for information from. If you are a Bulgakov fan, this is a must on your Moscow itinerary. It’s a bit off the main touristy bits and there’s nothing much else to see around it—but it was so worth the walk there. So memorable!