Extract

Chekhov’s ‘Warm Siberia’

Like many writers, Chekhov made his way to Crimea to nurse his tuberculosis in a milder climate. His house, now a museum, became a magnet for artists

  • Chekhov's White Dacha, photographed by Fritz von der Schulenburg

The success of his play The Seagull enabled Anton Chekhov to build his house overlooking the sea in the hills above Yalta, not far from where he was born, by the Sea of Azov. He moved in in 1899 and stayed until 1904, when he left to spend his final days in Germany.

The view of the seafront from his first-floor study inspired the story The Lady with the Dog, and the garden, where Chekhov planted mulberry, almond and peach trees, cypress and birch, as well as cherry trees, became the inspiration for The Cherry Orchard.

Despite a stream of visitors, including Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Maxim Gorky and Isaak Levitan, whose paintings hang in the dark study, the consumptive Chekhov felt depressed and isolated at the White Dacha.

The house has a ground-floor veranda and a covered balcony on the first floor. A contemporary photograph shows that the trees he planted had not yet obscured the view in 1901. The garden, which he laid out himself, is made for pacing, with long winding paths edged with box.

For more on Chekhov in Crimea on cornucopia.net, see Victoria Khroundina’s blog article Chekhov’s Summer of Love

To read the full article, purchase Issue 49

Issue 49, April 2013 Travels in Tartary
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Other Highlights from Cornucopia 49
  • Heavenly Berries

    Mulberries come in an array of hues: black, white, pink, purple; some enticingly sweet, others astringent and healing. As Berrin Torolsan can testify, having grown up with them in her Istanbul garden, all are adored – by man, mallard and pine marten alike. Here she traces the history of this lucious fruit

  • Nine Days in Crimea

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  • Parisian Panache

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  • The Dutch Orientalist

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  • Palaces of Silk

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  • Crimea: the South Coast

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  • The Crimean War: Into the Mouth of Hell

    Balaklava, Sevastopol, Inkerman, the Valley of Death – in Britain, where the savage toll was so acutely felt, these names still have the power to arouse pride and fury. Algernon Percy travelled to Crimea to visit the evocative battlefields

  • Crimean War: The Empire Strikes Back

    From the Danube to the Caucasus, conflict raged. The Ottomans were fighting for their territories and their lives, but the full story of their courage is only now being told, says the military historian Mesut Uyar 

  • The Crimean War: The Real Reason Why

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    With its healing brine baths and golden beaches, its wealth and variety of architecture, and its layers-deep history, this resort offers something for everyone – from hedonist to hypochondriac

  • No surrender for Anna

    Yevpatoria in Crimea was the home the young Anna Akhmatova, an icon of Russian literature, who fell foul of Stalin

  • Into the silence

    By any standard, Hüsamettin Koçan’s mountain-top Baksı Museum, in the northeastern Anatolian village where he was born, deserves a place among the world’s top ten remote museums.

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  • Connoisseur 49

    This silver goblet was one of more than 600 medieval treasures from Central Asia crowding Bonhams’ elegant rooms in Edinburgh for six days in January.

  • The Unlikely Saviour of Sancta Sophia

    Thomas Whittemore, the American scholar and philanthropist, was instrumental in restoring the Byzantine treasures of Ayasofya. Robert S Nelson delves into his enigmatic life

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Issue 49, April 2013 Travels in Tartary
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