The sublime charm of the Russian dacha throughout history

The dacha was also a paradise for those seeking privacy. / Drinking tea at the dacha, 1900s.

The dacha was also a paradise for those seeking privacy. / Drinking tea at the dacha, 1900s.

Unknown author, Multimedia Art Museum / Moscow House of Photography
Photos show what these summer homes looked like at the beginning of the 20th century.
In summer, many Russian city dwellers escape to the dacha — rural cottages that occupy a deep place in the national psyche. / The Sokolov-Borodin family at their dacha, 1900s.
In the early Soviet era, only cultural and scientific luminaries and top officials were given dachas. / A family at the dacha, 1900s.
In winter, people mostly would move back to the city. / A walk in Petrovsk-Rasumovskoye, 1900s.
In the beginning of 20th century, before the 1917 Revolution, dachas were like estates, as depicted in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. / At the dacha in Samsonovo, 1908.
Dacha consisted of an old wooden house with a terrace, a butler, postprandial promenades, family concerts, and readings in the evening. / Drinking tea at the dacha, 1908.
Dachas have taken many forms, from summer estates built by Petersburg aristocrats, to wooden shacks rented by the imperial middle class, to palatial “kottedzhi” constructed by today's new rich. / With roosters, 1910s.
After World War II, the Soviet government distributed plots of land. They were tiny pieces of land (600 square meters, or 6,500 square feet), commonly known as “six hundredths.” Dacha owners built small houses on their plots and used the remaining land for subsistence agriculture. / Celebrations at the dacha, 1900s.
A lot has changed in the 21st century. Now you can buy as much dacha land as you want, and some dachas no longer look like typical wooden houses in Russia, but more like cottages. But they are still called dachas and many families spend their summers there. / In front of the dacha, 1910s.
After the Revolution, everything changed. Such estates were branded as “bourgeois” and confiscated by the state. / Dacha residents, 1900 - 1903.
Life in the new Russia required everyone to work, not sit around sipping tea and strolling along leafy paths. / At the dacha: Group portrait, 1896.
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