It’s not wise to go sightseeing at -21 C / -6 F, but you can’t really stay home until the spring either, so last Sunday with a friend we gathered up courage and went to the newly opened Moscow’s Jewish Museum. (See my previous entry for more on the museum.)
We took the tube to the Moscow’s “gloomiest station” named after Dostoyevski and dubbed by Telegraph ‘the suicide mecca’.
Of course, the reality is quite less sensational and the station – albeit not as shiny & awe-inspiring as most of them, is rather pleasing aesthetically.
How to get from the station – which is listed as the nearest to the museum – to the exhibition itself, is everyone’s guess; directions are not listed anywhere and no one we asked around knew of a museum of the kind (not even the person at the tube’s information desk.)
The way out, as usual, was to stop a bombilo, Moscow’s (in)famous gipsy cab driver in hope that he has a GPS; the bombilo who gave us a lift didn’t have the GPS, but he knew where the Jewish Community was, and from there helpful Chabadniks showed us to the very museum. (It’s actually in some 100m from the community – if you know Moscow, it’s where Marina Abramovic’s exhibition was, only that the entrance is now from the other side.)
The cool thing about the museum is that they give all kinds of discounts, so if you have some kind of student’s ID, or are retired – you pay only 100 rubles to get in (full price is 400ru -some 10euros.)
The 4D movie about creation of the world is breath taking, it’s the first time ever i saw something of a kind and at some point i thought my jaw will literally hit the floor – your chair rocks as you, led by Moshe Rabeinu, approach the Red Sea, and as it opens – you feel the wind blowing into your face and are sprinkled with water! Too cool!
I won’t expand on the contents of the museum, just briefly – there is a documentary about genocide in Babiy Yar, watching it will wrench your heart and make you weep; also, there is an amazing ‘simulation’ of a synagogue, all together with sounds of cantor chanting and wax figures in prayer.
There are numerous Soviet-Jewish jokes all over, and funny stories are told by hologrammed actors (wording?), another jamais vu moment for me. Taobabe writes of holograms in her latest blog entry - i have no idea how that stuff works, but it’s awesome!
At the museum’s souvenir shop there is a great selection of book titles – and many of them are sold at great prices, other than that the merchandise is ridiculously overpraised. Adjacent to it coffee shop is kashrut supervised, so if you are willing to wait over half an hour for your pastry, you can dig into it without slightest remorse; my friend and i gave up on on our order somewhere after that time had elapsed – and went to the Le Pain Quotidien at Belorusskaya instead.
I took couple of pictures for you of the station itself and of sandwiched between it and the nearby skyscrapers Church of Saint Nicolas.
Oh, and just in case we make it through yet another apocalypse tomorrow… (One is rather taken aback by the fact that Mayans predicted the end of the world, but didn’t see the Spanish coming, but anyway…)
I wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!