Another absolutely fascinating private museum project can be found in the depths of Saratovskaya region, a small village of Popovka (around 1000 km from Moscow). The Lion-House museum was founded by Yulia Terekhova, a passionate explorer of folk wood painting traditions. In 2009 Yulia discovered an early XX century peasant house with unique painted interiors, among them the impressive mural of a lion (supposedly representing Mark the Evangelist) . The paintings were supposedly made by an Old Believers’s master in 1910s and cover the entire walls and ceilings of the house. It is a fine example of Russian naïve folk art, a mixture of religious symbols and secular images.

This was indeed an extremely rare find as very few peasant houses with murals of such scale have survived from pre-revolutionary Russia. Yulia purchased the house from its owners and set up a private museum in 2009. In 2012 the project received a prestigious grant from the Potanin foundation which made it possible to create a the museum’s website and carry out renovation works. Over less than a decade the museum has gained quite a reputation for itself, and has become a major local landmark.

You can check out the museum’s official English and Russian website and explore it for yourself at To visit the museum, follow the travel guidelines on the website.
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