Balakhna museums: multifaceted history

Kindergartens in Balakhna

Along with Gorodets and Arzamas, Balakhna is deservedly included in the first hundred historical cities of Russia. This is no coincidence, the history of the city is long and full of various events. Back in the 3rd-2nd millennium BC. e. the tribes of the Balakhna Neolithic culture lived in these parts. Confirmation - the results of excavations in the vicinity of the city. Judging by what archaeologists have found, the Balakhna residents were not only hunters and fishermen, they worked stone near the shallows, smelted metal, weaved canvases from plant fibers, made pottery, were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. In general, their life was not so primitive.

The name of Balakhna has been found in chronicles since 1536, but the city is characterized as rich and populous, with a wooden fortress built to protect against Tatar raids.

In the Middle Ages, Balakhna became a notable center of the salt industry, and later - an important city in shipbuilding. One of the brightest pages that Balakhna wrote in the history of Russia is associated with a native of the city, Kuzma Minin, who was named the First Citizen of Russia. However, throughout history, Balakhna residents have shown themselves to be brave and honest defenders of the fatherland.

And also under Peter I, here, in quiet Balakhna, they built military sailing ships and merchant ships for the Caspian Sea.

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Balakhna is a small town in the Nizhny Novgorod region, located on the banks of the Volga not far from Nizhny Novgorod. It still keeps the memory of bygone times, enclosed in cultural monuments. Many objects of architectural heritage become museums that allow us to plunge into the atmosphere of the past centuries.

Balakhna museums are closely related to each other and form a single complex (Balakhna Museum Historical and Artistic Complex). This is reflected not only in the proximity of the location of the buildings, but also in the topics that are touched upon by the guides. Each of the branches strives to show visitors more than one page of history, but to fully experience the atmosphere of the city.

Khudyakov's Estate

There are a lot of old buildings in Balakhna, the idea and construction of which belong to unknown masters. Walking around the city, tourists involuntarily begin to compare one old house with another.

One of the most beautiful and incomparable buildings preserved in Balakhna is the house of the merchant Alexander Khudyakov. The manor was built according to the wishes of its future owner at the end of the 19th century by an unknown architect.

The estate is not only a two-storey building of the museum, but also the nearby territory, which houses a stable, an outbuilding and a park, where the merchant and his family may have walked after fruitful work in his office. Now the only thing that reminds of the well-to-do tenants is the stucco molding in the house on the ceiling of each room, striking in its beauty and variety, as well as perfectly preserved parquet flooring.

The only thing that can be said with certainty about the architecture of this house is that it is made in the style of "provincial" baroque, which by the end of the 19th century had already lost its popularity and inspired builders only in small towns and country estates. At the beginning of the last century, Alexander Khudyakov and his wife moved to Nizhny Novgorod for permanent residence - this was probably due to the death of his only son. At the behest of the merchant, a nursing home was built in his former dwelling for people of church rank.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the building began to change hands. The October Revolution made itself felt by the nationalization of significant buildings - the merchant house was one of the first to be transferred to state use in Badakhna. For a short period of time, the branch of the Emergency Committee and the Communist Party were located here. Subsequently, the estate was transferred to an orphanage, which in the 30s of the last century turned into a sanatorium-type kindergarten and existed until the mid-90s. Only in 2001, the building was officially considered a museum. A consequence of the frequent change of owners was the plundering of furnishings and household items left by Alexander Khudyakov, therefore all the furniture presented in the rooms of the estate is the finds of museum workers. It fits into the general interior of the building and was made, like the house, at the end of the 19th century.

When the house was a merchant, its entire first floor was occupied by servants, so the atmosphere there was modest. The museum workers tried to convey it with the help of shelves with dishes, a long wooden table with benches, a stove, a loom, a spinning wheel and other suitable items of that time.

Carved staircase decorations, stucco moldings on the walls and ceiling tell the visitor that seven rooms on the second floor belonged entirely to a merchant family. The first room is Khudyakov's study, the main decoration of which is the coffered carved ceiling, passing into the stucco decorations of the stove, and parquet. The second room is a large living room. Here Alexander Alexandrovich received guests and arranged dinner parties. Now this room is dedicated to the Balakhna Drama Theater, which, unfortunately, did not last long, from the 30s to the 60s of the XX century. His troupe consisted of actors disliked by large theaters during the repression.

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