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Datchas on the Karelian Isthmus, Leningradskaya oblast, Russia

Location
Yelena Guro's datcha, Poljany, 70 km north-east of St. Petersburg, on the way to Wyborg
Edith Södergran's memorial stone, Roshchino, 2 km from the Railway station, 53 km north-west of St. Petersburg
Former »Villa Golicke«, Primorskoye shosse 430, Zelenogorsk, by railway from Petersburg Anna Akhmatova's datcha, Primorskoye shosse, Komarovo, 45 km north-east of Petersburg

Content
The Karelian isthmus as a borderland is the literary landscape for writers of different languages: Finnish, Russian, and even Swedish.

Yelena Guro (1877 – 1913), both a painter and a prose writer from St. Petersburg, was fascinated by “Finlandija”. While her avant-garde companion Velimir Khlebnikov orientated towards Hylea, i.e. the Crimea, she lived at her wooden datcha in Finnish Uusikirkko (today's Polany on the isthmus), where also Malevich dwelt, when he was not in Petersburg or Moscow, and made it to a meeting place for the literary modernist movements. In one of her poems she even imitated the strange sounding of the Finnish language. Her husband Mikhail Matyushin wrote in his diary in 1915: "In the North beauty is more subtle, you need longer time to discover it”

In the same landscape, just 18 kilometres away, in Raivola (Roshchino), the Swedish-speaking Edith Södergran (1892-1923) lived and died early, from tuberculosis. Her poetry has only during the last 3 years been translated to Dutch, Russian and German (for the third time), after it has been the starting-point for modernism in whole Scandinavia since the Thirties. The villa of the Södergrans and Edith Södergran's grave were destroyed by Finnish troops at their withdrawal, but a new memorial stone has been raised by the Society of Finnish-Swedish writers. Before the WW II her grave also became the goal for a literary pilgrimage by Swedish and Finnish-Swedish poets like Gunnar Ekelöf and Elmer Diktonius who used to stay at his friend's summer cottage »Villa Golicke« in Kuokkala. The house on the beach is preserved in the same shape as in Finnish times as a private home in today's Zelenogorsk.

Anna Akhmatova (1889 – 1966) was born on the Black Sea and spent her youth there, but had a great fondness for the Karelian isthmus, the writers' association gave her use of a small cottage in Komarovo (Teriyoki) which she referred to as budka, “booth”, and many of her poems were written there, inspired by the proximity to the Baltic Sea. Lines from poems written in different years such as “I hear the ships' masts creaking” and “And this air, the air of spring, which came flying over the sea” are linked by the theme of The Sea.

Anna Akhmatova's datcha as well as her grave on the Komarovo cemetery can be visited.