Наш Чехов
One of the streets in Taganrog is named after Anton Chekhov, the famous Russian writer, he brought glory not only to our country, but also to our region. We are proud that his life is closely connected with our town. Chekhov was born on the sea of Azov in 1860. His grandfather was a serf who had saved money to buy his freedom and that of his three sons. One of them, Pavel by name, opened a grocer's shop at Taganrog, married and had five sons and one daughter. Anton was his third son. Pavel was uneducated, vain, selfish and deeply religious. When Anton was 16, his father crippled with debts and fearful of arrest, fled to Moscow, where his two elder sons were at the university. Anton was left at Taganrog to continue his schooling in the gymnasium and he supported himself as best as he could by tutoring backward boys. When after three years he matriculated and was granted a scholarship of 25 roubles, he joined his parents in Moscow. Having decided to become a doctor, he entered the medical school. He was then a tall young man with light brown hair and brown eyes. He found his family living in a slum. Anton brought with him two school friends and fellow students to board with the family. Their payment and his scholarship were enough to provide food for nine people and pay the rent. Anton had the gift of improvising funny stories which kept his friends in fits of laughter. He sent off his story to a Petersburg weekly called "The Dragon Fly". To his surprise it was accepted. From 1880 to 1885 Chekhov wrote 388 stories. While he was writing, he was working at the medical school to get his diploma. He could only write at night after his hard day's work at the hospital. The conditions after which he wrote were difficult. In his stories Chekhov defends the insulted dignity of a "small man". After his final examinations Chekhov became a qualified doctor. But intelligent persons in Petersburg found in Chekhov a talented writer and invited him to contribute to their journals. Chekhov was impressed. But he had never intended to become a professional writer. "Medicine", he said, "is my lawful wife and literature only my mistress". Tuberculosis was in the family and later Chekhov understood that he had been at death’s door. In 1887 after graduating from Moscow University Chekhov came back to Taganrog and was depressed by the spiritual poverty of the narrow-minded people. The journey about our native Don region gave him material for writing the story "The Steppe", which is penetrated with the love to our native nature. Chekhov fought courageously his illness and at the age of 44 he died. Chekhov's work is immortal. On his initiative there was erected a monument to Peter the Great on a high steep shore of the sea of Azov in Taganrog. Many places in Taganrog are connected with the name of the outstanding Russian writer A. P. Chekhov, among them the Chekhov memorial museum - a small house, where in 1868 Chekhov was born. The Chekhov literary museum was founded in the 30-ies. The Taganrog Drama Theatre was given the name of Chekhov in 1944. In 2004 celebrating Chekhov's 100th anniversary the people of Taganrog sent to Baden-Weiler in Germany, where Chekhov died, young cherry-trees to commemorate the memory of this great writer. As «The Birthplace of Anton Chekhov», Taganrog offers remarkable sites dedicated to childhood and youth of the Russian playwright and short-story writer. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, considered the father of the modern short story and of the modern play, was born in Taganrog on January 29, 1860 in a very small outbuilding on Politseiskaya Street, now Chekhov Street. The future world-famous playwright writer spent 19 years, nearly half of his life, in the home city where many streets and houses still look the way Chekhov saw them more than a century ago. Taganrog City has been protecting all memorial sites related to the years of Anton’s childhood, adolescence and youth. First of all, this is the oldest (1809) Gymnasium in the South of Russia, where the Russian writer spent 11 school years and which is now a literature museum carrying his name. You can see Anton’s desk and his classroom, the assembly hall and even the punishment cell, sometimes visited by the whiz kid. Another stop on your Chekhov tour might be the Merchant Moiseev's house, rented by the large family of Chekhovs, which is now opened to visitors as Chekhovs’ Lavka (Shop or "Colonial Stores"). The Theater (1866) standing on the main street of Taganrog, Petrovskaya Street is the very theater Student Anton Chekhov frequented while studying Russian and World Drama. The outbuilding on the territory of a property on Chekhov Street in Taganrog was built in 1859 of wattle and daub, was plastered and whitened. The area taken up by the small outbuilding is 30.5 sq. meters. The house and the land were owned by the merchant Gnutov in 1860, and by petit bourgeois Kovalenko in 1880-1915. Pavel Yegorovich Chekhov and his family (his wife Yevgeniya Yakovlevna and their two sons-4-year old Alexander Chekhov and 2-year old Nikolay Chekhov) rented the outbuilding in December 1859. Anton Chekhov was born in this house on January 17, 1860. In 1910, a memorial plate was placed on the birthhouse of Chekhov thanks to the initiative of the Chekhov Circle in Taganrog, formed by the writer Yevgeny Garshin in 1905. In 1916, the Taganrog City Council supported the initiative of the Chekhov Circle and acquired the house and grounds on Chekhov Street 69 to conserve the birth house of Anton Chekhov. In December 1920, the house was freed from all tenants and was renovated in 1921. In 1924, the first exhibition telling of the writer's youth was opened. From that time, the Chekhov House stands as one of the hallmarks of the Russian culture. The Chekhov family rented this building from 1869 to 1874. The family moved into this building due to commercial interests of Anton Chekhov’s father. The shop’s entry featured a sign "Tea, sugar, coffee, and other colonial goods". When Anton's father was away on business, he had to replace him serving as shop assistant and keeping the accounting records. It is on the first floor of this house that the future world-famous playwright wrote his first stones and staged amateur theatricals with other Chekhov family children or with gymnasium fellow students. The Chekhov Gymnasium in Taganrog on Oktyabrskaya Street 9 (formerly Gymnasicheskaya Street) is the oldest gymnasium in the South of Russia. Playwright and short-story writer Anton Chekhov spent 11 years in the school, which was later named after him and transformed into a literary museum. Visitors can see Anton’s desk and his classroom, the assembly hall and even the punishment cell which he sometimes visited. The Boys Gymnasium was founded in 1809 and this building was completed in 1843 by the plans of the French architect Buffeau. Students of the Boys Gymnasium benefited from various grants, most of them being introduced by the Greek-Russian merchant and benefactor Varvakis (1745— 1825). In 1975 opened as "The Literary Museum named after Anton Chekhov", more commonly known under the short name Chekhov Gymnasium. At the age of eight Anton Chekhov was sent to this school (Gymnasium) where he proved an average pupil. Rather reserved and undemonstrative, he nevertheless gained a reputation for satirical comments, for pranks, and for making up humorous nicknames for his teachers. He enjoyed playing in amateur theatricals and often attended performances at the Taganrog Theatre. As an adolescent he tried his hand at writing short «anecdotes,» amusing or funny stories, although he is also known to have written a serious long play at this time, «Fatherless,» which he later destroyed. He received an annual grant of 300 rubles which had been introduced by the Taganrog City Council after the failed assassination attempt on the tsar Alexander II of Russia. After the business of Anton Chekhov’s father failed, the whole family left for Moscow in 1875-1876. Anton was left in Taganrog to care for himself and finish school. The future world-famous playwright survived selling off household goods and tutoring younger school students at the Boys Gymnasium. In 1879, Chekhov passed his final exams and joined his family in Moscow, where he had obtained scholarship to study medicine at the Moscow University. The math’s rating on Chekhov’s school-leaving certificate was signed by Edmund Dzerzhinsky, father of the revolutionary Felix Dzerzhinsky. Dzerzhinsky gave lessons of mathematics in two of Taganrog’s gymnasiums - the Girls Gymnasium of Empress Maria in 1868-1873 and in the Boys Gymnasium from 1873 until late seventies. Another contemporary instructor was Fyodor Pokrovski, who taught Chekhov theology and gave him the famous nickname Antosha Chekhonte. Today the Gymnasium is open to public as The Literary Museum named after Anton Chekhov. After the famous Pushkin House museum in Saint Petersburg, this is the second-largest literary museum in Russia both in terms of space and unique funds. The exhibition includes the library that consists of the antique books of the time and books later sent by Anton Chekhov, his personal belongings, photographs, documents, autographs by Chekhov and other famous people - friends of the writer. The Monument to Anton Chekhov, designed by G.A. Zakharov, sculpted by Julian Rukavishnikov. It was unveiled on January 29, 1960, to coincide with the writer's centennial birth anniversary. The idea to erect a monument to Chekhov first came from the authorities in 1910. In 1944 the Council of People's Commissars decreed to erect a monument to Chekhov to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the writer’s death. By October 1954, 18 projects of the statue were submitted, and all of them were exposed to the public in the Local Lore Museum of Taganrog. Three years later the Second Nationwide Contest was held in Moscow, where 30 projects of the statue were submitted. After the second round the best works were sent to Taganrog where the statue by lulian Rukavishnikov earned universal approval. The monument comprises a granite pedestal and a bronze statue showing Chekhov impeccably dressed, sitting on the stone, looking into the distance and holding a book in his right hand, his forefinger between pages as though the writer is reflecting on something deep. The height of the monument is 3 m (9.84 f.). The Chekhov Square was planted in front of Alexandrovskiye Trade Rows in Taganrog in 1935 to mark the writer's 75th anniversary. The Monument to Chekhov acts as a tribute paid by the people of Taganrog to their most renowned fellow townsman. The Taganrog Chekhov Drama Theater was established in 1827. The theater was subsidized by the City Council since 1828, and its first director was Alexander Gor. The first group of Russian drama ansts was directed by Perovsky and toured around the region, giving performances in Rostov, Novocherkassk, Bahmut. The repertoire consisted mainly of dramas, melodramas and vaudevilles. Since 1861, Italian opera regularly performed in Taganrog. In 1865 was created a stock company to finance the construction of the new theater building. Forty-five thousand silver rubles of stocks were issued, for the total budget of 55,000 rubles. In 1866, Taganrog established its very own Italian opera in a new opera theater building by the project of the architect Londeron from Odessa. The interiors of the theater were designed after the image of the Milano opera theater La Scala. The repertoire of that time included Giuseppe Verdi, Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, Jacques Offenbach, Vincenzo Bellini, Mikhail Glinka, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and others. In 1874, the Municipality acquired the theater building by the purchase of its stocks. The newly established theater commission decided to dissolve the Italian opera in 1875 for commercial reasons. One of the Taganrog Italian opera's directors and choirmasters - Gaetano Molla - stayed in Taganrog after the opera theater was closed and contributed to promotion and development of music culture in the city of Taganrog. Anton Chekhov was in love with theater and literature from his childhood. The first performance that he attended was Offenbach’s operetta «Elena the Beautiful» onstage Taganrog City Theater on October 4, 1873. Anton was a thirteen years old Gymnasium student, and from that moment on, Chekhov became a great theater lover and spent there virtually all his savings. His favorite seat in the theater was at the back gallery for it was cheap (40 silver kopecks), and because Gymnasium students needed a special authorization to go to the theater. The permission was given not often and mostly for the weekends. Sometimes, Anton Chekhov and other fellow students disguised themselves and even wore some makeup, spectacles or a fake beard, trying to fool the regular school staff who checked for unauthorized presence of students. In 1935, during the 75th Anniversary Celebrations of Anton Chekhov, the famous artists of the Moscow Art Theater performed onstage of Taganrog Theater: Olga Knipper, Tarasova, Vishnevskaya, Moskvin and others. In 1944, the Soviet of People's Commissars of USSR named the Taganrog City Theater after Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. In 1977, the theater was decorated with the Order of Honor. The public library along with a small bookstore were officially inaugurated on May 23, 1876 by the Governor of Taganrog Admiral Johan Hampus Furuhjelm. The City Council gave to the library some of its vacant offices on Grecheskaya Street. Before, there were only private libraries and libraries at the Boys Gymnasium, Mariinskaya Girls Gymnasium and the Taganrog Naval School. In March 1878, the Public Library moved into another building granted by the City Council on Petrovskaya Street. Among the first subscribers were the future world-famous writer Anton Chekhov, historian Pavel Filevsky, Vladimir Bogoraz, artists Seraphima Blonskaya and Dmitri Sinodi-Popov. Andrei Drossi, the classmate of Chekhov wrote later in his memoirs: ...every Sunday and every holiday we came early in the morning in the city library and spent there hours and hours, forgetting about food, sitting and reading magazines.... At that time, Anton Chekhov lived in Taganrog alone, as the whole family had moved to Moscow. According to archive records, the first books read by Chekhov were books on travel and adventures, then Miguel de Cervantes, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ivan Turgenev and Ivan Goncharov, later - Dimitri Pisarev, Vissarion Belinsky and Nikolay AJeksandrovich Dobrolyubov. Thanks to the library of his home city, Chekhov being a gymnasium student learnt about the periodicals that later published his short stories. In 1890, mayor of Taganrog Konstantin Foti asked Chekhov to send his books with author’s dedications to the Taganrog Public Library. Anton Chekhov considered this request as recognition from the home city, and replied I am happy to be helpful to my home city, to which I owe a lot and that I love very much. The first three books were collections of his stories and a hook by Leo Tolstoy with the author's dedication. Anton Chekhov kept the tradition of sending his books, rare books, books with autographs and foreign books with every opportunity from 1890 up until his death in Badenweiler in 1904. In 1904, following Chekhov's death, the library was named after the world-famous playwright and short-story writer. A room of the library was also dedicated for the first Chekhov Museum in Russia. In 1906-1907, the City Council discussed the construction of a new building that would house both Chekhov Library and Chekhov Museum. After thorough analysis, the council decided to build a library, paying tribute to the late author Anton Chekhov, assigning for this purpose 25,000 rubles. The commission addressed the friend of Chekhov, architect Fyodor Schechtel in March of 1910. He gave his agreement along with the library project in July 1910. The small house built in 1878 was demolished and the new library was officially laid down on September 14, 1910. It was completed in August 1911 and opened its doors in 1912.