Patriarch’s Ponds hark back to Soviet days, when the parks were populated with children and babushky. Today you’ll see grandmothers pushing strollers and lovers kissing on park benches. In summer, children romp on the swings, while winter sees them ice skating on the pond. The small park has a huge statue of 19th-century Russian writer Ivan Krylov, known to Russian children for his didactic tales.
Patriarch’s Ponds were immortalised by writer Mikhail Bulgakov, who had the devil appear here in The Master and Margarita. The initial paragraph of the novel describes the area to the north of the pond, where the devil enters the scene and predicts the rapid death of Berlioz. Contrary to Bulgakov’s tale, a tram line never ran along the pond. Bulgakov’s flat, where he wrote the novel and lived up until his death, is around the corner on the Garden Ring.