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The Boundaries of Moscow

Eleevsky Shop in Moscow

I read that the building on Tverskaya street, 14 can be considered the architectural expression of the description of Chekhov's playwright “Вишнёвый сад” (the Cherry Orchard).



A bit of history

Дом 14 по Тверской стоит на углу с Козицким переулком (the house stands on the corner of Tverskaya street and Kozitsky lane). As a rule, alleys and lanes in Moscow are named after home-owners and the palace erected on this corner belonged to the widow of State Secretary Kozitsky. And at the time, it was a real palace построенный великим Матвеем Казаковым (built according to the plans of the great architect Matvei Kazkov).

After the death of Kozitsky's widow, the house was passed to her daughter, princess Beloseskaya-Belozersky, and still later to her granddaughter, the famous Zinaida Volkonskaya, “царица муз и красоты” (the queen of music and beauty) according to Pushkin.

A literary and musical salon

The house hosted a literary and musical salon that was frequented by eminent poets and writers. After the Decembrist Revolt and the exile of the protagonists to Siberia, Zinaida threw a farewell party for the wives who decided to follow them. This brought her under suspicion and she decided в 1829 году уехала жить в Рим (to move to Rome in 1829), leaving the palace empty.

The house had different owners until the end of the 19th century. It was re-built entirely and the palace lost its facade, though the hall and staircase of marble were preserved. Then in 1898, the palace was bought by a rich merchant from St. Petersburg.

Eleevsky shop


Owner of the largest grocery store on Nevsky avenue, in St. Petersburg, Grigory Eliseev, issued of an old serf settlement, was specialised in trading wine and colonial produce. The house was protected by a wooden fence and guarded by fiery dogs, the cherry orchard was cut down, and in 1901, “Магазин Елисеева и погреба русских и иностранных вин” (The Eliseev shop and cellar of Russian and foreign wines) opened its doors.



G. Eliseev had the famous staircase destroyed but according to visitors, the shop, decorated with huge mirrors, beautiful paintings and amazing electric lights, offered mountains of seafood, pyramids of fruits, various sorts of tea and coffee, butter, cheese, sausages from different countries of the world. The shop opened solemnly with a church service and priests who were invited specially for that ceremony.



For the story, you couldn't enter the wine cellar from the main door on Tverskaya street, but from Kozitsky lane. And Gilyarovsky has a theory about the separate door: будто бы померил чиновник-буквоед расстояние от ближайшей церкви и выяснил, что надобных сорока двух сажен от входа в неё не насчитывается (it is supposed that a pedant official measured the distance from the nearest church and found out that the required forty-two sazhen - one sazhen is an ancient measure equivalent to 2.134 metres - wasn't respected).


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Eliseev emigrated from Russia when the revolution came. But fate was against him, and falling in love with a married woman, he brought misfortune to his wife, who committed suicide.



After the revolution, the shop was nationalized, but never lost its popularity. The new rulers abolished the law of the church and the measure and the store stayed on Tverskaya Street only with a new name. It was renamed “Гастроном № 1” (Gastronome N°1), but people would still called it “Eliseevsky”, and was considered as a great attraction, because of its famous interior.



Nowadays, supermarkets all over Moscow provide us with the best international food and drinks, but the Eleevsky shop is still, undoubtedly the most beautiful shop in our capital.

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I read that the building on Tverskaya street, 14 can be considered the architectural expression of the description of Chekhov’s playwright “Вишнёвый сад”…