The Museum of Merchant life in the village of Epifan
The interior of the house is typical of a provincial townhouse at the turn of the 19th/20th century. The drawing room features a divan for guests and a gramophone. In the basement is a cellar where provisions were stored for the winter. Nowadays the granaries stock goods made from the museum orchard: sweet-smelling jams, cucumbers in brine, medicinal herbs for making tea. You can have a taste of all of this at one of our special merchant lunches here at the museum.
An important part of your visit is the merchant’s shop, where the lavish range of goods is something to behold. This is a place where negotiation was the name of the game; our experienced guide will tell you all the tricks that wily Russian merchants got up to and how our forebears conducted their trade – whether measuring out lengths of calico or acquiring a pound of raisins or a new door latch and hooks. The museum’s souvenir shop is also located here.
The Museum at Epifan has a private area: a bedroom with a huge bed, a pile of cushions and the owner’s office.
Our tour of the museum is called “At home with Baibakov the merchant.” We’ll show you around the house, although tradition demands that we keep some of its secrets to ourselves. Visitors are often interested in the office; this was a special place, a little world where strangers were not welcome. This is where Baibakov did all of his accounting, keeping his papers and securities in a hidden recess. It is also where he whiled away the evenings playing chess. Baibakov was interested in photography: an ancient camera and some old photographs of Epifan and its inhabitants create the atmosphere of days gone by.