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Pearls of Russia

Museums and memorial estates

Rozhdestveno Memorial Estate

The Rozhdestveno estate preserves a memory of the famous writer Vladimir Nabokov. Here he spent his childhood and youth not boding an emigre fate for the future author of "Lolita" that, despite its irreproachable literary style, language and humour, scandalized the public in the 50-ies.

The happy places of childhood were later described in his novels. Those peaceful and enjoyable days were divided between Rozhdestveno then belonging to his grandfather, gold manufacturer Ivan Rukavishnikov, and two other nearby estates - Batovo owned by another grandfather of him, Dmitry Nabokov, and Vyra where parents of Vladimir raised their children. The whole area is truly very attractive with picturesque bends of the Oredezh River, springs in the forest and caves. Rozhdestveno built back in the late 18th century is the only estate of the three that remained up to our days, though suffered a lot in the fire of 1995.

The museum started in 1957 as a small exhibition depicting the history of Rozhdestveno village basing mostly on donations from local residents. Later on the display was reorganized into the community museum of the history of the collective farm named after Lenin then existing in the area. Materials on the activities of Young Communist Leaguers of the 1920-ies and World War II period supplemented the display expanded with the support from the Museum of the History of Leningrad.

The section of the exhibit related to the estate owners - the Rukavishnikovs and Nabokovs was introduced thanks to T.Vyacheslavova initiatives. The first display showed photos from the family album presented to the museum by the Nabokovs' cook.

Since 1974 the museum funds have been displayed in the Rukavishnikovs' manor previously occupied by the local school.
In 1987 the Museum of Local History and Tradition was finally transformed into the Rozhdestveno Historic Literary and Memorial Museum of Vladimir Nabokov.

The first Nabokov readings were held in 1988, now being a traditional event.

In 1992 the Nabokov room was arranged in the museum displaying photos, personal belongings and furnishings from the Nabokovs' estate Vyra.

Now, when the estate building is under repairs after the fire, the museum funds are placed in the temporary depository. The restoration is headed by the director of the museum, architect A.Siomochkin. After the work is done, the memorial museum will include not only the manor but other estate buildings and represent private life of the Russian nobility of the 19th-20th centuries with the special exhibits devoted to Vladimir Nabokov and other prominent people of the area.

Rozhdestveno, Gatchinsky district, Leningrad region; phone (271) 621 49

Open hours
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

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