Wednesday, 16 June 2010

French Embassy

I want to start a new series of photos, presenting foreign embassies in Moscow. It is wonderful that during that revolutionary construction in Soviet Russia, the buildings provided to the embassies could keep their unique appearance and inside decorations, they were not turned into warehouses, offices or simply destroyed.

The magnificent mosaic-style mansion in the exaggerated Russian style belonged to merchant Nikolai Igumnov and was constructed in 1888. That time the location was far from the centre of the city and the bright decoration of these "Terema" met incomprehension of the public.

The young and talented architect Pozdeev was made fun of by Moscow crowd, the owner followed the crowd and refused to pay when the architect announced the excess of the cost estimated for construction. Pozdeev could not survive disgrace and committed suicide.

Another legend says that the mansion was built for the mistress of the merchant, handsome dancer who was unfaithful to her patron and was punished by bricking up alive in a wall of the house. Its ghost is still haunting the corridors of the mansion.

The floor in one of the rooms, according to legend, was made of gold coins as a symbol of Igumnovs' prosperity. The emperor, whose image was minted on the coins, disapproved this kind of the floor covering, and the rich man fell into disfavor.

After the revolution the estate belonged to Goznak club factory,  then  to Laboratory of Brain Research, Lenin later renamed it to the Institute of the brain. Here were the brain research of many famous Soviet people: Zetkin, Lunacharsky, Mayakovsky, Bely, Stanislavsky, Gorky, Kalinin, Kirov, Kuibyshev, Krupskaya, Michurin, Tsiolkovsky. They say the Institute was tasked to create a brain superman.

After the relocation of the Institute, the mansion was acquired by the French Embassy in 1938.

I can not confirm the story is 100% true, but it sounds so intriguing.... 

Look at the gorgeous interiors of the French Embassy (click here).

Posted by Irina.


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