School trip to Kolomna!
“Everything here is unlike other parts of Petersburg; it’s not the capital and it’s not the provinces. It’s all about silence and retirement here.”
– Nikolai Gogol on Kolomna
Some of you who missed the trip organised by the school last Wednesday have asked me how was Kolomna. And what’s better than a blog post to talk about it? So here we go!
I must say that I really enjoyed the visit.
Saint-Petersburg is a city that overflows with amazing places to visit, and Kolomna does not usually figure in the cannot-miss sights listed for three days visitors. This is perhaps a fortune, because it allows Kolomna to retain a very unique atmosphere. The words of Nikolai Gogol hold true to this day: Kolomna still present itself as a quieter area, somewhat like a sleeping village inside the city. It’s quite remarkable, if you think that after all it is still located in the city centre, not far away from the buzzing Nevsky Prospect.
Kolomna is associated with the classics of Russian literature, because the characters Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Gogol and lived here, as did their authors at some point in their life. There is probably no other area in the whole of Russia from which so much great literature has flown. So if you want to follow the footsteps of these great authors, and try to grasp the atmosphere they felt, that’s where you should be heading.
Kolmna is mostly visited for the Mariinsky theatre, the very temple of Russian (world!) ballet, and I don’t think I need to add to that. But the sights of interest are many more. There is the only perfectly preserved Stalinist building of Saint Petersburg, as well as the only synagogue (2nd largest in Europe) and Estonian Lutheran Church of the city, making the neighbourhood a surprisingly diverse religious ensemble.
I appreciated that the tour was guided. Nikita, who also teaches Russian at Liden & Denz, knew many interesting facts about the area and pointed out things, such as ‘where lived which author’ that I could not have possibly figured out, had I come on my own. So, if you are up for some ‘Saint Petersburg off the beaten track’, make sure you sign up next for the next edition of this trip!