A walk through Taganrog

A merchant city full of Chekhov places, well-preserved mansions and interesting museums. A city which was once a powerful military fortress and the place where Peter the Great's Azov flotilla used to reside ... You shoud spend at least one full day in Taganrog. All the main sites are located within the historic center.

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The residential multiple-apartment house on Aleksandrovskaya street is a constructivism monument built in 1932. The architect Mikhail Kondratiev built it within the frames of an experiment: maximum durability with minimum construction materials. A specific feature of the house, along with the great acoustic particularities of the closed courtyard, is the balcony, which is accessible from all the apartments of the higher floors.

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You cannot miss one of the first Chekhov places in Taganrog. The visitors of a small museum face a sing "Tea, sugar, coffee and other colonial goods". Pavel Chekhov, the father of the writer, brought his family to that building in 1869, opening a shop on the first floor, where people could buy perfume, sweets, soap, smoked food and even icons. Tea and coffee by weight in the store can be bought in the store even now. The museum exposition is located on the second floor. It is the place where Chekhov’s childhood and early years passed.



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The Taganrog Art Museum is also connected with the name of Anton Chekhov. According to contemporaries, in 1896 he for the first time got the idea of creating a museum in the city displaying collections of works by Russian painters. Two years later with the participation of Chekhov himself and the Taganrog public figure, phylantropist and the future city mayor Pavel Iordanov a gallery was created, which soon had four dozens of paintings by famous artists. They were given to the funds of the museum with the cooperation of Chekhov‘s friend, the artist Ilya Repin.

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One of the most famous architects of the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century Fyodor Shekhtel worked in different architecture styles – neoclassicism, eclectics and even gothic style but his real masterpieces are created in a modernist style. One of the projects is a house, which was built in Taganrog by the order of a wealthy bread trader Evgeny Sharonov. The right part of the building is decorated with the panel picture "Sea battle", which was created based on the sketch of the famous Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel. Since 1981 in Shavronov’s house the Museum for Town Planning and Daily Life is located.

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Taganrog is famous for a great number of well-conserved buildings of the second half of the 19th century. The fans of antiques and eclectic architecture should pay attention to the house of the merchant Nikolay Rafailovich. The Rafailovichs bought the building constructed in the 1860s at the end of the 1880s. At present the house needs restoration but keeps at the same time details interesting for the public. The asymmetric nature of the façade goes back to the baroque style and classicism, while a whole number of architecture elements decorating the building are created based on the project of the famous Taganrog sculptor Leonid Egorov.

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The owner of one of the most concrete mansions in Taganrog Nikolay Alferaki was a descendant of a participant of the Russian-Turkish war in 1768-1774 – the Greeak Dmitry Alferaki, who settled in the Priazov region, receiving a noble title from empress Catherine the Great. His ancestors hired Andrei Shtakenshneideru to construct the house and lived there nearly 30 years – from 1848 until 1878.

In 1927 the building the building hosts the Museum of History and Regional Studies with a big collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic and Sarmatian antiquities.

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The monument to the Russian emperor Alexander I, who ended his days in Taganrog, was put there after his death in 1831. The prominent Russian sculptors Ivan Martos and Avram Melnikov started the project, which was financed by the imperial Romanov family. The emperor’s widow ordered to put it in the centre of Alexandrovskaya square. It was the place, where was located the monastery, where the funeral service for the Russian emperor took place.

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Faina Ranevskaya monument is one of the newest sights in Taganrog. The legendary actress, who had the title "merited actress of the USSR", was born in Taganrog in 1896. Before moving to Moscow she played in provincial Russian theatres, as well as in Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Ranevskaya became popular not only because of her theatre roles but also with her cinema works (the comedy "Door-bell baby", "Wedding", "Spring", "Sky slow walker"). She was also famous for her quotes, many of which became aphorisms. The bronze statue of the actress made by the Rostov sculptor David Begalov is located opposite to the house of Nikolayevskaya street (currently Frunze street). Faina Ranevskaya spent her childhood there.

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The house of the famous composer’s brother, the retired navy officer Ippolit Tchaikovsky was built in 1871 upon the project of the architect Mikhail Petrov. Tchoikovsky himself lived in that mansion from 1883 until 1894. It was during that period that he hosted his famous brother Piotr. The house was partially destroyed during an earthquake, which took place in 1927, but later it was restored and currently is nearby one of the main places in Taganrog – the Stone Staircase, which unchangeably attracts the tourists attention and the city visitors by its small tower with a spire and a wind vane in the form of a sail.

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Another business card of Taganrog - the Stone Staircase – is less known in comparison to its twin-sister – The Potyomkinskaya staircase in Odessa. However, it doesn’t make it less beautiful. The author of both projects was the Italian architect Frans Buffeau. The stone stairway was built on the funds of the Taganrog patron of arts Gerasimo Depaldo and had its name for some time. It is 12 years older than the Odessa staircase. Since 1823 Taganrog residents and city visitors go down the stairway to reach the Pushkin embankment. The staircase remembers and treasures the fame of Russian arms. During the heat of the Crimean war in 1855 on the stairs of this stairway the Don Kazaks stopped the Englishmen, who were ready to take the city by storm after an artillery fire from the seaside.

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The main embankment of the city built in the early 19th century was initially named after count Mikhail Vorontsov, a great statesman and general overnor in Novorossiya. In 1952 it was renamed to Pushkin embankment in memory of the great Russian poet, who passed by Taganrog in 1820. Up to the beginning of the 20th century, while Taganrog was still an important trading port in the south of Russia, there were warehouses and a railroad was located along the sea shore.

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The monument to the Russian emperor and the founder of Taganrog Peter the Great was established in 1903 and created by the famous sculptor Mark Antokolsky. It is said that one of the authors of the idea to the reformer Tsar was Anton Chekov. Antokolsky worked on the project for a very long time and very meticulously. He based his work on the sketches of the artist Ivan Kramskoi, which he created from Peter the Great’s death mask, he also worked with an original uniform of a Preobrazhensky regiment officer from the early 18th century. It is interesting that it is the Taganrog monument, which is an author’s work by Antopolsky. Many other famous Peter the Great monuments, which are in the Tretyakov Art Gallery in Moscow, Peterhoff, Saint Peterburg or Arkhangelsk, are all copies of the Taganrog sculpture.

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The legendary circus dynasty of the Durov’s gave the world a great stellar cast of actors, one of the brightest of them was Anatoly Anatolievich Durov, animal trainer, clown, and a nephew of the dynasty founder Vladimir Leonidovich Durov. When he got back from a successful tour in the European countries, Anatoly Durov settled in Taganrog, where he lived and worked from 1926 since 1940. Among the exhibit items in the memorial house there are historical documents, photos, billposters, letters, as well as fragments of documentary movies of the 1920s showing the performances of the great artist.

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The main orthodox church in Taganrog is the architectural monument of the 18th century – several legends relate to it. According to the legend, during the first crusade to the Azov sea Peter the Great set up a camp exactly on that place. The second story relates to the so-called "misty" or Hersoness bell of the church. It is said that it was produced in Taganrog in 1778 from trophy Turkish riffles. In the early 19th century the bells was brought to Sevastopol on the order of Alexander I but after that during the Crimean war it was taken to Paris as a trophy by the ally troops. Thanks to the efforts of the Russian diplomats in 1913 the Taganrog bell was sent back to Russian and is currently in Hersoness.

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Walks in the old Taganrog cemetery, which was opened in 1803, may be combined with a visit to the chapel and the grave of Saint Pavel from Taganrog. This sight attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the country. Along with the saint of the city at the cemetery are buried the famous circus actor Anatoly Durov, the children’s writer Ivan Vasilenko, the Russian generals Nikolay Krasnov and Pavel Rennekampph, the traveler and historian Alexander Lakier.

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One of the business cards of Taganrog is the museum-house of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov has celebrated recently its 100th anniversary. The building was created in 1850, while the Chekhov family moved there in 1859. A year after that the famous playwright was born there. The Museum House is not big but the exhibition are located on 30 square meters is impressive – there are objects of everyday life, books, icons for the first half of the 19th century, photos and documents of the Chekhov family.
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The Taganrog dramatic troupe was organized in 1827. After nearly 40 years the theatre artists, who have been successfully touring the cities of Rostov-on-Don and Novocherkassk, received their own building. The two-storey building in a neoclassical style was built on public donations in 1866. The authors of the project were the Italian architect Londeron and the achitecrute academitian Nikolay Trusov. The theatre played a great role in the cultural life of the whole Russian south.