Annushka Has Already Spilled the Oil

Nikolay Galkin/TASS
After walking along Sadovoye Koltso (Garden Ring) to the corner of Malaya Bronnaya Ulitsa (Malaya Bronnaya Street) and turning left, you will find yourself at the intersection of Malaya Bronnaya Ulitsa and Yermolayevsky Pereulok (Yermolayevsky Lane), where the novel begins. It was at the Patriarshiye Ponds (the pond is actually just one, but the name has kept the plural in memory of the three ponds of the 17th century) that one of the novel's characters – an atheist editor Berlioz – lost his life. In the 1920s the Patriarshiye Ponds were encircled with a tramline and there was a cargo streetcar terminal, which is why, as the novel describes it, "the tram suddenly switched its inside lights on" (this happened as the tram left the terminal and went onto the tramline).

There are several signs around the pond, warning people to "never talk to strangers." It is up for debate as to which of the benches on the path that runs in parallel to Malaya Bronnaya Ulitsa was taken up by the Moscow literary men Berlioz and Bezdomny who were later joined by Woland.