One of St. Petersburg's most eloquent and prolific chroniclers, Akhmatova watched her city survive revolution, civil war, political terror, and world war. From the 1920s to the 1950s, she lived in this apartment in the "Fountain House" (Fontanny Dom), a former palace with a history as troubled as her own. The four-room museum is rich in detail despite its small size, and English-language printouts in each room provide the depth and context you need to make this a worthwhile visit. The audioguide provides more ambience but not much more information. The museum is hard to find: Enter through the arch on Liteiny Prospekt and head for the small park; turn left and head to the apartment entrance at the southwest corner of the park. Akhmatova struggled here to write freely under the budding Soviet state while avoiding arrest. From here she prepared the care packages she sent to her son when he was imprisoned for political reasons, some of which are on display. Her tangled love triangle with Nikolai Punin and his wife played itself out here, with all three sharing the apartment at one point. The most vivid part of the museum is the photo album through which visitors can leaf, showing Akhmatova and her family growing up through the turbulence of early-20th-century Russia. The building, which once belonged to the family of Count Sheremetev, was transferred to the state after the revolution. It became an Arctic research institute, and though some residents were allowed to continue living here, they could enter only with special ID cards. Akhmatova's is shown here, with the renowned poet's profession listed simply as "resident." Allow an hour for the visit.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010