The geography of cultural life and leisure in Moscow is centripetal, which is actually typical to the whole country. Living in different parts of the city, people usually meet somewhere within the Boulevard Ring (in extreme cases Garden ring), whether for negotiation, friendly gatherings, or dates…
The process of exploring the outskirts and dormitory districts of the city started only very recently. I decided to get accustomed to them a little better, and have found that there are hidden gems among the monotony of residential blocks… One of those gems is the Kuryanovo microdistrict.
No, in the grayness of Moscow’s outskirts there are no life-giving substrates for the emergence of some mass cultural life or high-quality social interactions. There are no museums or galleries, no fancy restaurants or even ugly taverns. However, it turns out that an interesting and quite different life (comparing to our boulevard-gardens lives) still runs somewhere there.
The insulation of the Kuryanovo area originally secured its disrepute. Kuryanovo is located in south-eastern Moscow near the Pechatniki district, on the left bank of the Moscow River, inside a giant complex of treatment facilities, near the industrial zone and dump, 35 minutes from the nearest metro station. The cheapest housing in the city–all here.
A tiny little world was formed here due to transport isolation. It’s very special and really different from any other place in Moscow. The way in which urban space works here is amazing, and I recommend you to visit Kuryanovo at least for that amusement.
Many modern things appeared in Moscow’s residential areas during recent years: cafe chains, pizza delivery, service infrastructure… None of this appeared in Kuryanovo. Thank God! Oh, you want to organize your leisure time here? –Improvise! Exactly like all Muscovites were doing twenty years ago–arranging barbecues behind the garages and grilled kebabs. 20 years ago in Moscow–today in Kuryanovo.
Here it feels like these years when neighborly relations were disintegrated, and computer games gradually replaced backyard mischief, never existed. Children still run around the streets, ride bicycles, play hide&seek and cops&robbers. Honestly, I have seen it with my own eyes!
And while being there, in a remote and disadvantaged area, even with a shabby “Shokoladnitsa” district, you can keenly feel the nostalgia for past times. People walk slowly, barely moving their feet, and meet neighbors somewhere near the monument of Lenin…
The only store with fresh pastries in the entire area could offer you a whole plate of the simplest local cake for just a ridiculous amount of money. Soviet billboards that weren’t removed since the 70-80s of the last century (give that a thought!) still hang around.
Time flows differently in Kuryanovo… as if it didn’t flow at all. They’ve got a special world. When the frantic pace of Moscow life becomes completely unbearable, remember that somewhere in the midst of treatment facilities, you can safely go in search of Shambhala…