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Discover Khvalinsk
December 21, 2015 02:48


Kuzma Sergeevich Petrov-Vodkin is perhaps the most famous native of Khvalynsk. It is not surprising that there is a real cult of the author of “Bathing the Red Horse” in this town, and the name of Petrov-Vodkin was given to the Khvalynsk artistic and memorial museum.

This name combines two museums: the memorial house of the artist and the town art gallery. The house-museum and the gallery are located on the same Lenina Street, but in different places and buildings. The first building is a wooden house on a stone foundation built in the late XIX century, with windows on all sides of the world, with a view of the Volga River and a small garden.

Petrov-Vodkin bought it for his parents in 1905, when he received the first serious money, and they have lived there for forty years. Kuzma Sergeevich himself came here to work every year in summer, and the large room with an arch served as his workshop. The museum was opened at the end of XX century, in 1995, but some genuine things that belonged to the family have survived until that time and are presented on display. The main interior, of course, is recreated, such as the working room with the small interior garden. The museum has the originals of the early works of Petrov-Vodkin.

The picture gallery occupies another house which is also related to Petrov-Vodkin. This is a red-brick house in Art Nouveau style which belonged to the family of Radishchevs well-known in Khvalynsk. (Another museum - the National History Museum – appeared in the town thanks to Radishchevs.) After the revolution it housed a school, then a library, and in 1960 the house was transferred to the art gallery. The paintings of Lev Radishchev are presented in the gallery. The main part of the exhibition, of course, is presented by the pictures of Petrov-Vodkin. The gallery contains a collection of works of the Khvalynsk artists close to Petrov-Vodkin - Zinovy Sukontsev, Illarion Elatontsev, Vasily Orekhov, Guriy Platonov. More famous authors of the Soviet era are also shown: Favorsky, Lentulov, Udaltsov, Pimenov, Redko, Vereysky, Kukryniksy. One of the most impressive paintings is “Stikhiya” (“The Element”) by Aivazovsky painted in 1898. Another important part of the collection is made up by icons, including those that belonged to the Old Believers.


When the ski resort in Khvalynsk was opened, a large flow of tourists rushed to the town, and it was absolutely not ready to this fact. There was only one working hotel on the territory of the complex.

But local residents quickly found a way, so now you can rent a house from townspeople or live in small hotels - such as  “Versta” or “Akbars”. There is also an old Soviet option – “Volga” hotel. However, travelers do not recommend it: it is too noisy, bathrooms are present only in two rooms, the service leaves much to be desired.

There are many resorts near the town - such as “Rodnik” (“Spring”) or “Peshchera Monakha” (“Monk’s Cave”). But, unfortunately, they are far from the European standards, there are often mice in the rooms, and the breakfast is not fresh. Volga is very broad near Khvalynsk, the town would not exist but for this river. Actually, it’s already not a river, but the Saratov Reservoir, almost a sea. The quay cannot boast of architectural decorations, but it has enough amenities and is a great place for walking. Ferry runs regularly to the other side of Volga.

The “Khvalynsky” National Park is located not far from the town: relict pines, chalk mountains (outcrops of chalk on the tops make you think that they are snow caps), caves, mounds, rare curative plants and healing springs. One of the most amazing phenomena is Cheremshanskiye fogs, not continuous, but emerging in islands, for example, around a single tree. They are also considered to be healing.


Khvalynsk apples are incredibly popular in Saratov Oblast: they are juicy, soft and very sweet.

Petrov-Vodkin describes them this way: “And our apples are not like Antonovka apples from Tambov, you can hit those with bricks and will not ruin them - our fruit is delicate: anise apples are like velvet, they need a lot of care, if you shake them from the gardens to the sands, there will be enough defective fruits on the Shchukin market”.

By the way, the book of Petrov-Vodkin is also a popular souvenir. The books can be purchased either in the art gallery of his name or in the house-museum, and they cost about twenty roubles each.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Khvalinsk     

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