Famous Art Cafe Re-Opened in Russia

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At the turn of the 20th century, visitors of St. Petersburg's best restaurants would dine while listening to poems of famous Russian poets or looking at pictures of famous artists. There were evenings designated to performances, lectures, music and poetry. The exhibition "Lunch with a Writer" revives this tradition.

Some visitors come for fun… others for inspiration.

[Lidia Vasilyeva, Visitor]:
"I want to walk in these places. To see what is there now and maybe even to use some ideas for my own activities."

The Art cafe "Stray Dog" was a favorite in those years. It opened on New Year's Eve of 1912 near Nevsky Prospect. Crowds often gathered around midnight and left the restaurant in the early morning. Many famous poets such as Akhmatova, Gumilev, and Mandelstam read their poems in the "Stray Dog". Mayakovsky's voice was heard here for the first time.

[Marina Skoblova, Member of a Literary Club]:
"I wanted to discover something interesting for myself and to share my findings with the members of the club and invite them here. Perhaps, to hold a regular meeting of the club here."

Art cafes have been regaining popularity in recent times. Stray Dog re-opened in 2001. The original interior of its three rooms was completely restored. Famous poets, writers and artists can be seen here again. As tradition goes, they leave their signatures on the walls of the cafe.

[Vladimir Sokolov, Actor]:
"Some of the visitors come here to see the atmosphere, as it was in 1914 and 1915, as it was at that time."

Perhaps, one of these young artists will become popular in the future.

NTD, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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