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Klin, Russia

Experienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyager Joshua Brook
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Although there is little to see in the small city of Klin, for lovers of Tchaikovsky the small museum dedicated to the composer there is an essential visit if you have a spare afternoon. The settlement of Klin dates back to 1234, when it was founded on the banks of the River Sestra, a tributary of the Volga. Featuring a Kremlin at its nucleus, it became one of the forts separating the principalities of Moscow and Tver and eventually became a major stopover on the overland route to the ancient city of Novgorod, and later to St. Petersburg. From 1885 onwards Tchaikovsky chose to spend his summers in there and wrote of it in his diary "I can't imagine myself living anywhere else. I find no words to express how much I feel the charm of the Russian countryside, the Russian landscape and the quiet that I need more than anything else."

Visitors can see the composer's former residence, deep in the woods just outside the town, which he rented for the few years before his death in 1893. It was here that he composed his famous ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker and his magnificent Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. After his death the composer's brother, Modeste, inherited the house and converted it into a Tchaikovsky Museum, which has remained there ever since.

The house itself is charmingly painted a soft blue with a white trim and has a veranda opening onto the back garden, where the composer liked to stroll with his dogs. The interior is warm and cozy and features wood-paneled walls hung with portraits of famous composers, musicians and members of Tchaikovsky's family. Visitors can wander through the house's grandiose library and the composer's plain and homely bedroom. On his birthday, May 7th, the winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition is given the honor of playing the composer's grand piano in the sitting room where he wrote his Sixth Symphony. You may also hear recordings, watch films and attend the odd live music performance in the small concert hall that was built in the house grounds in 1964. More info on: www.moscow-taxi.com

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