Meeting of Master and Margarita

Nikolay Galkin/TASS
After walking along the boulevard to the Pushkinskaya Ploschad (Pushkinskaya Square) and turning to the odd-numbered side of Tverskaya Ulitsa (Tverskaya Street), we will see a large archway on the intersection of Tverskaya Ulitsa and Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky Pereulok (Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky Lane). This is where Margarita and Master met for the first time. Although in the novel the lane is not given a name, it is described as being extraordinarily winded – and this just how Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky Pereulok is, unlike all neighbouring streets. Also, it was here, at the Nirnzee House (Pereulok Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky, 10) that on February 10, 1929, Bulgakov met his third wife, Elena Shilovskaya, who became the prototype for Margarita.

Connection with Bulgakov and his life is not the only interesting thing about this building with inexpensive apartments that was constructed in 1913 by the architect and entrepreneur Ernst-Richard Nirnzee. For several years this 40-meter (131 feet) house was the highest residential building in the capital and for the lack of the word "skyscraper" in the Russian language of that time, it had a more poetic name – tucherez (cloud-cutter). In the basement of the building was a cabaret show, a Gypsy theatre and a theatre studio, while on the roof one could find a sun terrace, a garden and a movie theatre. The air defence guns that were installed on the roof during World War II were not taken down until the 1960s, and were used for celebratory gunfire.