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Top Cultural Attractions in Taganrog

Museum of Architecture and Urbanism (Ulitsa Frunze 80) presents its exhibit "A Time-Lapse Portrait of the City", which focuses on the development of Taganrog's town-planning, historical buildings and its residents' modes of life from 17th century up to present times.

The new vision for the city-owned museum is a thoughtful combination of unique authentic exhibits and modern interactive features. Its creation resulted from the expansion of our knowledge about three centuries of city - many unexplored facts of its history are now brought to light.

The Birth House of Anton Chekhov in Chekhov Street (Ulitsa Chekhova 69) was made of wattle and daub, plastered and whitened. Pavel Yegorovich Chekhov started to rent this small outbuilding in December 1859. He moved in together with his wife Yevgeniya Yakovlevna and their two sons - 4-year old Alexander Chekhov and 2-year old Nikolai Chekhov. This is the place where Anton Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860.

In 1904, soon after the death of the writer, Alexandrovskaya Street in Taganrog was renamed Chekhov Street. In 1910 a memorial plaque was placed on the birth house of Chekhov thanks to the initiative of Taganrog Chekhov Circle, which was formed in 1905 by the writer Yevgeny Garshin. In 1916 Taganrog City Council supported the Chekhov Circle's initiative and acquired the house and grounds on Chekhov Street 69 to preserve the birth house of Anton Chekhov. The first exhibition dedicated to the writer's youth was opened in 1924. From that time, the Chekhov Birth House stands as one of the hallmarks of the Russian culture.

"The Chekhovs' Shop" (Ulitsa Alexandrovskaya 100) is another part of Taganrog group of museums. Anton Chekhov's family rented this house from 1869 to 1874. They moved into this building due to commercial interests of Chekhov's father. The shop's entry still features the sign "Tea, sugar, coffee, and other colonial goods".

When Anton's father was away on business, he had to replace him serving as shop assistant and kept accounting records. It was on the first floor of this house that the future world-famous playwright wrote his first stories and staged amateur theatricals with other Chekhov family children and gymnasium fellow students.

The Chekhov Gymnasium in Taganrog is the oldest secondary school in Southern Russia, where playwright and short-story writer Anton Chekhov spent 11 school years. Later it was named after him and transformed into a literary museum. Visitors can see Anton's desk and his classroom, the assembly hall and even the punishment cell, which he sometimes visited.

At the age of eight Anton Chekhov was sent to this school, where he proved an average pupil. Rather reserved and undemonstrative, he nevertheless gained a reputation for satirical comments, for pranks, and for making up humorous nicknames for his teachers. He enjoyed playing in amateur theatricals and often attended performances given at Taganrog Theatre. As an adolescent he tried his hand at writing short "anecdotes", amusing or funny stories, although he is also known to have written at the same period of time a serious long play, entitled "Fatherless", which he later destroyed.

When business of Anton Chekhov's father failed, the whole family left for Moscow in 1875-1876. Anton was left in Taganrog on his own to care for himself and to finish school. The future world-famous playwright survived selling off household goods and tutoring younger school students. In 1879, Chekhov passed final exams and joined his family in Moscow, where he obtained scholarship to study medicine at the Moscow State University.

The history of Chekhov Library began on May 23, 1876 when along with the first public library was officially inaugurated by Governor Admiral Johan Hampus Furuhjelm. Among its first subscribers were the future world-famous writer Anton Chekhov, historian Pavel Filevsky, writer and anthropologist Vladimir Bogoraz, artists Seraphima Blonskaya and Dmitri Sinodi-Popov. Andrei Drossi, the classmate of Chekhov wrote later in his memoirs: "...every Sunday and every holiday we came early in the morning to the public library and spent there hours and hours, forgetting about food, just sitting and reading magazines....". At that time, Anton Chekhov lived in Taganrog on his own, as the whole family had moved to Moscow. Thanks to his home city's library, gymnasium student Chekhov learnt about periodicals that later published his own short stories.

In 1890, mayor of Taganrog Konstantin Foti asked Chekhov to send his books with author's dedications to the Taganrog Public Library. Anton Chekhov considered this request as recognition from his home city, and replied: "I am happy to be useful to my home city, to which I owe a lot and that I love very much". The first three books were collections of his own stories and a book by Leo Tolstoy with author's dedication. Anton Chekhov kept the tradition of sending book donations - rare books, books with autographs and foreign books using every opportunity from 1890 up until his death in Badenweiler in 1904. In total about 2000 volumes were sent to Taganrog. They are now carefully preserved as part of the museum's collection.

In 1906-1907, Taganrog City Council discussed the construction of a new building that would house both Chekhov Library and Chekhov Museum. After thorough analysis, the council decided to build a library, paying tribute to the late author Anton Chekhov, assigning for this purpose 25,000 rubles. In March of 1910, commission addressed a friend of Chekhov, the famous architect Fyodor Schechtel. He gave his agreement and in July 1910 designed a new library, which was completed by August 1911 and opened its doors in 1912.

Taganrog Museum of Art was officially inaugurated in 1968, but the starting point for its collection was made by the end of 19th century, when the art department of Taganrog's city museum was established. Renowned playwright and short-story writer Anton Chekhov played a major role in establishing the art collection of his home city through his connections in St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and his friends like Mark Antokolski et al.

The collection's uniqueness favored its inclusion into Federal exhibition project "The Golden Map of Russia", when more than 50 artworks from top 25 leading regional museums were exhibited at Tretyakov Gallery. In 2006, three masterpieces from Taganrog Museum of Art collection - "Carrara" by Nikolai Ge, "Evening Shadows" by Isaac Levitan and "Girl in the Carnival" by Apollon Mokritsky were featured at the exhibition project "Russian Realism of the second half of 19th century", presented in art museums of Guizhou province and in Beijing within the framework of the year of Russian Federation in People's Republic of China.

The Alferaki Palace is a mansion in Taganrog, Russia, originally the home of rich Greek merchant Nikolai Alferaki. The building is decorated with a portal featuring four Corinthian columns and stucco molding in baroque style. Inside was a suite of rooms, and a spacious hall with ceiling painting. The first owners of the palace was Nikos Alferakis and his family. In 1870s it re-opened as Commercial Assembly. Anton Chekhov, being a student of the nearby school for boys, frequently visited concerts given at the commercial club, and later mentioned it in three of his novels: Ionych, The Mask and My Life.

From February to April 1918, the mansion became headquarters of the Soviet Workers' council of Taganrog. Later, during German occupation in 1918 it housed a German war hospital, and in 1919 - general Anton Ivanovich Denikin's staff. After establishment of Soviet power in Taganrog, the building accommodated various institutions and starting from 1927 it has housed the Museum of Regional Studies (founded in 1898 by Anton Chekhov).

Anton Chekhov Monument was designed by Grigory Zakharov and sculpted by Iulian Rukavishnikov. It was unveiled on January 29, 1960 to mark the writer's centennial birth anniversary. The idea to erect a monument to Chekhov at Taganrog's Red Square came from local authorities as early as in the beginning of 20th century. The cornerstone was first laid down on May 31, 1935 by Anton's sister Maria Pavlovna Chekhova. In the same year, Chekhov Square was set out in front of Alexandrovskiye Trade Rows to mark the writer's 75th anniversary.

However, Soviet authorities could return to this subject only after the end of Great Patriotic War. By October 1954, 18 plans of the statue were submitted, and all of them were publicly displayed in the Local Lore Museum of Taganrog. Three years later the Second Nationwide Contest was held in Moscow, where 30 projects of the Chekhov monument were submitted. After the second round four best works were sent to Taganrog, where the concept by Iulian Rukavishnikov and Grigory Zakharov earned universal approval.

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Taganrog Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms, originally adopted
on Apr. 10, 1808; reintroduced on

Taganrog City Flag

Flag, adopted in 1991