West Wing, East Wing

Victor Lugansky / Abramtsevo Museum

Mamontov's Bathhouse

There's nothing Russians love more than a good scrap. After the writer Sergei Aksakov bought the Abramtsevo country estate in 1843, it soon grew into an informal club for Slavophiles — intellectual gentry who demanded that Russia shun Western capitalism and return to her Slavic origins. But Aksakov, best known for his trilogy, A Russian Gentleman , extended his hospitality to pro-Western thinkers too, ensuring lively debates involving such literary luminaries as Fathers and Sons author Ivan Turgenev and writer Alexander Gertsen. The writer Nikolai Gogol, whose works reflected Russia's vagaries and antagonisms, was a regular participant. It was here that...

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