Sochi: A Museum Lover’s Delight

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Sochi, thanks to the Winter Olympic Games, is now a recognizable name place, but it also contains many museums for the lover of the arts. Located on the coast of the Black Sea, the city of Sochi draws not only Russian jetsetters looking for salt air, palm trees and pebble beaches, but it also attracts artists, singers and writers who stay in the “Russian Riviera” for inspiration aside from the climate.

Located in the heart of the city is The Town History Museum of Sochi on Vorovskogo Street. Opened in 1920, the museum contains 14 exhibition halls with an eclectic assortment of artifacts, political history, wildlife, culture and arts. History buffs will find an archeological collection, a space room with 1970 Soyuz 9 capsule accompanied by the story of cosmonauts, local hero and engineer, Vitaly Sevastyanov and pilot Andrian Nikolayev. The museum also houses objects related to the region’s everyday life.

Literature fans can discover the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary-Memorial State Museum on Pavel Korchagin Street, named after the protagonist in Ostrovsky famous novel.  Opened in 1937, the writer’s house turned museum highlights Soviet-era history commemorating the revolutionary Soviet writer, Nikolai Ostrovsky. Bedridden, Ostrovsky wrote his literary work, How the Steel Was Tempered in Sochi about his life “packed with events of the epoch” that became a must-read for Russian teenagers. The museum has two buildings that show Ostrovsky’s rooms and library with furniture, books and photographs. It also houses the writer’s manuscripts, Sochi’s literary life and ephemera such as photographs and postcards related to the period donated by local residents.

The Museum of the Bedrak Artist Family located on Platonovaya Street is a unique museum-studio in Sochi. The family of artists in the applied arts has amassed a splendid collection that contains graphics, paintings, watercolors and drawings. The museum also incorporates applied artworks such as Easter eggs, painted boxes and Russian nesting dolls to name a few.  The exhibits encompass the periods from 18th century to today.

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For the opera lover, there is a visit to the summer house of Russian opera singer, Valeria Barsova on Chernomorskaya Street.  Much loved by Joseph Stalin, Barsova was given a piece of land where she erected her dacha after her retirement from the Bolshoi Theater in 1947. Today her house is considered a city monument, as well as a museum. Throughout the year, chamber concerts and poetry readings are held on site.

The Sochi Art Museum’s history began in the late 1930s, first as an administrative building for the Authority of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union. Later, it was the headquarters for the city’s committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1988, the building was turned into an art museum. It original collection consisted of artwork “that hung in Soviet sanatoria,” according to the Moscow Times. Over the years, the art museum has amassed more than 5,054 pieces. Located on Kurortnyi Prospekt, the museum boasts paintings by Russian landscape painter, Vasily Polenov and Russian portrait artist, Valentin Serov among other renowned artists. Additionally, visitors can view antique silver, weapons, traditional crafts and applied arts from the 19th century to the 21st century. Statues created from water pipes are found on the museum grounds and include the Bremen Town Musicians.

by Dawn Levesque

Sources:

My Olympic Sochi: Travel Guide

Russia Beyond the Headlines

Russia Travel

The Moscow Times

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