Speaking of toys

Moscow’s main toy market is Savelosvky (Metro Savelovskaya). Haunted by the question of where are Russian made toys I’ve inspected numerous toy kiosks today while waiting for my computer’s screen to be replaced. None. All China. The Koptevo Toy Factory in Moscow remains the only source I know of but they make board games and puzzles, not old-fashioned metal things. None of Soviet era mechanical sets, airplane models with rubber band or even tiny internal combustion engines, make-yourself electric motors, true-to-life copies of construction equipment and other toys that teach skills and core principles of mechanics and physics. I’m disappointed with what Savelovsky, probably the biggest toy market in Moscow, has to offer.

Winter and snow in Soviet cartoons

While looking for inspiration to consolidate and upgrade my “Winter is the Soul of Russia” travel proposal (now scattered across several places: cheap-moscow.com,  staritsa.info, russian-horse-rides.com etc.) I noticed an exhibition of cartoons and movies dedicated to winter and snow.

Exhibition dates: Dec. 20 to Feb.  10 2013. Location: Solyanka Gallery, Ulitsa Solyanka 1/2, stoyeniye 2, entrance from Ulitsa Zabelina, nearest Metro Kitay-Gorod.  It is by the monument in memory of children who died in the Beslan hostage crisis in September 2004(?) that ended with the Russian military bursting in using tanks and flame rockets.


Gallery’s site: http://solyanka.org/ (Russian only).  Checking the site.. the gallery seems to be largely oriented towards children.

Tel.: (495) 621 5572 and 628 4109.

I’m putting the Solyanka Gallery on the list of places to visited.  You are welcomed to join.  By default Wednesdays is my going out day.

Jewish History Museum

Since a sizable % of travellers to Russia – at least those who entrust themselves to my care – are of Jewish descent I’m sharing the news with you about the recently opened “Museum of Jewish Culture and Tolerance”.

Ulitsa Obraztsova 11, building 1A
+ 7 495 645 0550

Open Sunday to Thur. 12 to 10pm, and Fridays 12 to 3pm. The closest metro station are Prospekt Mira, Rizhskaya, and Savelovskaya.  Still a longish walk.

Some of the museum’s sections: Jewish history in general, East European Shtetl, Jews in the Russian revolution, Jewish culture during the Soviet period, Holocaust, 1980s emigration wave.

Next door to the cultural center, synagogue, and two ultra-expensive Kosher restaurants at Vtoroy Vysheslavtsev Pereulok 5a and to the Kosher store at Trifonovskaya that may now be closing..

PS. Inspected Jan. 7 2013.  Fully trilingual: Russian, English, and Hebrew. Good balance between information density and usability.  Even I, a card-carrying techno-peasant, was not overwhelmed but the multimedia nature of the museum. The entry fee is 400 roubles but I was for some reason charged the “invalid” rate of 200, possibly thanks to a slight hangover, or my new froggy hat that, in solemn Russian culture, servers as a certificate of mild-to-medium insanity.  Since I was presented this thing on my 4Xth birthday the security people at airports stopped checking the content of my pockets, and bureaucrats became more patient than ever before. Traffic cops too have stopped stopping me.  Silliness as a a refuge may deserve a special short essay, possibly under the Survival category.


PPS. I would also remark on Museum’s suitability for children. The format is child-friendly except perhaps the abundance of images of dead bodies. Lots of space. Chairs. Cafe. Numerous workshops for children.  The exposition is also easy for someone with failing eyesight. A proper Jewish place in the good sense of the word.