Maxim Gorky is known for being the father of socialist realism and one of the few writes to ever come from Russia’s working class prior to the revolution. Gorky spent most of his childhood in the city of Nizhny Novgorod living with his relatives, the Kashirin family. During this turbulent period in his life, he and his grandparents moved frequently between houses, as his grandfathers status and wealth from his artisan-dying trade died off. While ten or so buildings are preserved as “Gorky homes,” I visited and can recommend two of the most important ones. First, is the Kashirin house itself:
The Kashirin house has been restored using period pieces to become the home described in Gorky’s autobiographical novel “Childhood.” The guided tour was interesting and informative, but for my group the tour was entirely in Russian at our request. The main floor, basement, and yard with dying station are all included on the tour, which was modestly priced. If you have read “Childhood” or simply want to see how the merchant class lived during the latter half of the 1800’s, this is a good museum to see.
After the Kashirin house we visited the final apartment Gorky lived in while in Nizhny Novgorod. He purchased this home after his rise to popularity as an author. By comparing this home to that of the Kashirin house you can see the rift between the affluent aristocracy and those of the poor and merchant classes. The home is beautifully maintained, containing actual artifacts from Gorky and his family.
For those interested in seeing either museum, the street address for the Kashirin House is:
ul. Pochtovyj s’ezd, d.21, Nizhny Novgorod 603109, Russia
And the address for the Gorky Museum is:
ul. Semashko, d.19, Nizhny Novgorod 603005, Russia
Both have cheap admission prices and are within walking distance of the Gorkovskaya metro station.