Ten to fifteen minutes’ walk from the Lyceum, on the corner of Pushkinskaya (Kolpinskaya) and Vasenko (Kusmin Road) Streets stands a small single-story house with a semi-circular glazed veranda and also a semi-circular glazed mezzanine floor. The memorial plaque on the façade reads “Alexander Pushkin lived here in 1831”. Today the cottage houses the Pushkin Museum.
The cottage, which belonged to Anna Kitayava, the widow of a court valet, in 1831, was built in 1828. At that time, the whole of the corner part was taken up by a spacious open veranda with columns, and above it, on the mezzanine floor, there was an open balcony. Nestling amidst the luxuriant greenery of trees and bushes, this cottage was typical of those in Tsarskoye Selo in the first half of the 19th century.
In spite of its closeness to the capital, Tsarskoye selo breathed the coziness and tranquility of the countryside. Pushkin asked his friend, Pyotr Pletnev, to rent a cottage just like this one for him where he could enjoy “inspiring seclusion”. The poet was very pleased with the cottage. When he had settled down in Kitayeva’s cottage, he wrote in one of his letters: “We live quietly and cheerfully here as if we are in the depths of the countryside.”
The summer of 1831 was a happy one for Pushkin. On February 18, 1831, he married Natalia Goncharova, the belle of Moscow society, with whom he was passionately in love (“I am married and happy,” he wrote to Pyotr Pletnev a week later). On May 25th, the young couple moved to the cottage at Tsarskoye Selo. It was not accidental that Pushkin chose this place to start a new life, for he wanted to experience this welcome change in his life “amidst pleasant memories” of the Lyceum and his friends here.
The fourstoried house, which stands close to the Church of the Miraculous Apparition, is still called the Lyceum. From 1811 to 1843 it was occupied by the Imperial Lyceum of Tsarskoe Selo. The great Russian poet Pushkin ,was educated here. His room is in the fourth story with a window facing the garden, and bears the number 14. Pushkin finished the school among 29 other pupils, one of whom was the prince Gorchakov, the Imperial Chancellor in later days. The Lyceum was founded, by the Emperor Alexander I, with the object of educating youths of the best families, who should afterwards occupy important posts in the Impe rial service.
Pushkin rented a suite of seven small rooms from Kitayeva and a room on the mezzanine floor which he made his study. The walls of the rooms were painted green, dark and light blue, gray and pale yellow, thus adding them space and light; the furniture was arranged freely, and the cottage was cozy and quiet.
Today six of the rooms have been made to look just as they did back then, including the study. Your tour of the poet’s house begins in the entrance hall where there is a small exposition telling you something about the memorial part of the house beforehand.
The next room is the Pantry, which has redwood furniture. On the little table in the corner stands a copper-plated nickel samovar, and the sideboard holds chinaware of the end of the 18th century. On the table by the door you will see a book containing hand-written recipes of the beginning of the 19th century.
The door from the pantry will take you into the Dining-Room, a small room with two windows looking into the street. There is a mirror in the pier, and on the wall to the left of the door hang portraits of Pushkin’s parents and his sister Olga. On the needlework table in the far corner from the door stands china vase dating from the end of the 18th century. There is a white tablecloth on the dinner table, and the arm-chairs and chairs upholstered with dark-red brocade.