(Alexandra Guzeva’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, 8/11; Photo:  Spasskoye-Lutovinovo/Legion Media.)

Russians love to spend time in nature’s lap and escape from the stuffy city to their dachas and country homes. Writers, of course, are no exception. The fresh country air has inspired many literary masterpieces. These dachas are now museums.

1. Boris Pasternak’s dacha at Peredelkino, Moscow Region

Peredelkino, outside Moscow, is essentially a writers’ village, set up, it is said, at the initiative of Maxim Gorky, having told Stalin about his experience of out-of-town residences abroad. Many writers settled here in Soviet times: Korney Chukovsky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Bulat Okudzhava and others.

But its most famous inhabitant was Boris Pasternak, who settled in this wooden house in 1939. Here he wrote poetry, translated literature and worked on his masterpiece, the novel Doctor Zhivago. In this same house, in 1958, the writer learned that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; in 1960 he died here after two years of harassment following the award (which he was forced to decline) and publication of the novel abroad.

Read more: ‘Didn’t read Pasternak, but condemn him’: What’s behind the Soviet phrase

2. Anton Chekhov’s dachas in Moscow Region and Crimea

During his relatively short life, Chekhov managed to live in several cities. As for dachas, he had at least three of them.

Melikhovo estate in the Moscow Region

Chekhov lived at Melikhovo near Moscow for just seven years, yet there he penned more than 40 works, including the short story Ward No. 6 and the plays The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. In addition, as a practicing physician, the writer opened an outpatient clinic on his estate and treated the local peasants for free. Read more about Melikhovo here.

The White Dacha in Yalta, Crimea

In 1898, Chekhov bought a house in Crimea near Yalta. By this time, he was suffering from tuberculosis and needed the healing air. At the “White Dacha” (as Chekhov called it), he wrote the plays Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard, as well as the “most Crimean” story in all of Russian literature, Lady with Lapdog.

Chekhov's house in Gurzuf

There in Crimea, in the resort town of Gurzuf, he had another, secret dacha, which he bought in 1899 to hide from the crowds of fans who came looking for him.

(Read more)

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