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Winter 2013 in Tarusa

A small town in Kaluga Region scattered along the Oka River, Tarusa has long been loved by the creative folk. The Tsvetaev family used to live here, including Marina Tsvetaeva; their house museum is open to the public nowadays. Konstantin Paustovsky, one of the principal Russian authors who had been considered for the Nobel Prize but “lost” to Mikhail Sholokhov, resided here and was buried at the local cemetery. Viktor Borisov-Musatov, an outstanding Russian painter, died and was also buried in Tarusa. Marina Tsvetaeva, as a matter of fact, also wanted to be laid to rest here, and to complete her wish, someone local had set a stone on the spot she had once chosen for her grave. Nikolai Zabolotsky, a wonderful Russian poet, spend the last two years on his life in Tarusa, the house where he lived still standing, although looking half-forgotten.

Across the Oka is the famous Polenovo, an estate named after the painter Vassily Polenov. Tarusa thus overlooks Tula Region which is ever easily accessible in winter: now that Oka sleeps under the shield of ice and snow, people cross it on snow-mobiles, skies, and on foot.
I discovered Tarusa and first visited it in August 2012. I made a few wonderful friends here, artists, writers, sculptors, and the place’s fresh air never ceases to inspire. The sonnet you read recently was composed on the first night of my recent stay in Tarusa.

Poetry: Those Sleepless Nights

Those sleepless nights when ceiling is like a sky,
Heavy with floods of never ending thoughts,
Hiding the long-forgotten thunderbolts
Of memories and regrets that never die –

Those sleepless nights, with feelings running high,
When you’re but forced to re-enlist your faults;
When Fear creeps under the dingy vaults
Of splendid palace of your passing Time, –

Let those nights be blessed with your pain
And every loss, untimely and vain –
To err is human, have you never known?

Let rain pour down and flood your corridors,
Let thunder break the windows, walls and doors,
So you rebuild all that was overthrown.

Julia Shuvalova 2013

The House Where Tsiolkovsky Created His Seminal Work

To visit Kaluga takes 3 hours by train from Moscow. It’s quicker on an express train which is predictably more expensive and sought-after.

I went to Kaluga during the Days of Europe event, previously celebrated in several other cities in Russia. I didn’t even try to follow the map of the event; instead I went to specifically attend the walk around the historic centre of the city. We were guided by an excellent guide Larisa who in the end walked me to a small blue wooden house where in 1902 the outstanding Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky composed his seminal work on rocket science. It is often assumed that it was composed at what is now his house-museum; in truth he only did editing work there, the writing happened in this little building opposite St. George Cathedral Church where a miraculous icon of Our Lady is stored.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky house


Tsiolkovsky’s first house in Kaluga stood opposite the blue one,
between the two houses in this photo


Tsiolkovsky lived in this house between August 1893 and March 1902


Yet another house opposite Tsiolkovsky’s


The Church of St. George Across the Top houses a miraculous icon of Our Lady

Kaluga Region Dancers (Video)

The video was recorded during the Moscow Autumn Tourism Industry Week. This annual event traditionally attracts professionals in the sphere of Luxury Travel, Spa and Hospitality services, with a special section on Moscow tourism. And in the video (which is 8mins long) you can see a dancing collective from Kaluga Region. Apart from watching the dance, you may also give some estimate to my filming skills. This year I took a course in film-making, so I hope I put zoom to a good use here.

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