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Artistic Inspiration of Tarusa

With wide open fields, scenic hills, and lush forests stretching from the banks of the Oka River out to the horizon, the town of Tarusa and its picturesque surroundings has been the inspiration for many poets and artists over the years. This tranquil little town has even been dubbed by artists as the Barbizon of Russia – a reference to the renowned Barbizon art school in the French village of the same name. Visitors to the town, which is located around 130 kilometers from Russia's capital city, Moscow, soon agree that it is an idyllic setting.

Historical features of Tarusa include a huge sculpture of Vladimir Lenin on a pedestal dominating the town's central square – a familiar sight throughout Russia – with Lenin Street leading from the square up a hill. To the left of the Lenin sculpture is an ancient cathedral, restored to its original state following damage done by the Bolsheviks.

The town center boasts a number of 19th century, double-story buildings and ancient rowan trees. Rowan trees are found throughout northern Europe, often around ruins of stone circles and ancient settlements, and are believed to have been used as medicine and in magic rituals. In Tarusa they cast dappled shade and add character to the town. Traditional wooden and peasant houses, many of which were built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are other features of Tarusa.

A large artistic community is found in Tarusa and visitors will find an abundance of original arts and crafts in local souvenir shops. Moreover, an exhibition is held in the town's central square every month, with artists displaying and selling their works. Famous people who have drawn inspiration from Tarusa include Russian painter Victor Elpidiforovich Borisov-Musatov (1870-1905) who died and was buried outside Tarusa, his grave marked with a sculpture of a sleeping boy, created by his friend and fellow artist, Alexander Matveyev. A statue of Russian poet Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) is found along the bank of the river, a place where she spent many hours soaking up the beauty and tranquility of Tarusa and putting her thoughts and impressions into words in her memorable poetry.


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