I understand the phrase as metaphoric gates you want to enter but cannot:

Б. Гребенщиков, "Дуй":

Сколько ни стучись у этих пряничных ворот...

I cannot find an origin of the phrase

  • 2
    Origins of Grebenchikov's images often derive strength from the quality of the stuff he's smoking ;-) Trying to find a straight meaning is akin to looking for a black cat in a dark room with no windows: it gets especially hard when the cat's not there. Oct 13, 2012 at 12:49
  • I think I also would like to know the meaning of this expression.
    – Olga
    Oct 13, 2012 at 14:36
  • I guess it's meant "decorated as тульский пряник" Oct 13, 2012 at 14:44
  • I don't think it means "decorated". I think it means that people are hoping to get 'пряник' behind these the gates, but (according to the song) these gates will never open and they will never get 'пряник'.
    – user507
    Oct 13, 2012 at 18:00

3 Answers 3


"Пряничные ворота" - may be considered as gates to the "Пряничный домик" - in common fairy tales might be a good place, where the life is sweet. But... The Grimm's brothers' story about Hansel and Gretel interprets the "Gingerbread house" as a temptating, but deathly dangerous place. This meaning should be counted too.


You are not the first person who've been puzzled with this phrase. Going by the link provided you can find following quote (and quote in quote actually).

Непосредственное же упоминание пряничных ворот встречается у Степана Григорьевича Писахова, русского писателя и художника, (1879–1960). «К нам коли хороший человек поколотиться, мы пряничные ворота отворим, с поклоном принимаем, с упросом угощаем. Накормим, напоим, с собой запас дадим» говориться в его книге «Сказки». Последнее наиболее полное издание Писахова вышло в 1959 году.

I'm not big proponent of above mentioned hypothesis. Moreover, I'm not sure we should try to generate any kind of hypothesis here, and here's why. The indisputable facts are following:

  • Пряничные ворота is a very rare phrase, which actual meaning is not clear (out of context) to the overwhelming majority of modern native speakers.
  • A less known russian writer once mentioned this term in a novel which has been reprinted last time years and years ago. (The last claim in the quote is wrong, but actually yes, Pisakhov gets republished not that often)
  • There lives a prominent Russian singer, Boris Grebenshchikov (born in 1953), who is well known for his love to complex metaphors, complicated allusions and contrived, sometimes almost paradoxical language constructions.
  • Phrase пряничный домик is relatively well known.
  • One of common poetic methods is to take two (or more) different concepts and to combine them in order to produce new layers of meanings, to generate new perception experience. For example: мусорный ветер. Or - дом жёлтого сна. Or - пряничные ворота))) And so on, and so on, and so on :)

    So, to conclude, it is very unlikely that this phrase is Grebenshchikov homage to Russian writer Pisakov, and it is very, very likely that he reinvented this phrase by himself. In Russian there is a term for to difficult and, especially, wasteless work - неблагодарное дело. Believe me or not, in almost all cases trying to guess what something actually means in song lyrics is "неблагодарное дело".

As for the meaning of the phrase, I, as well as you, believe that it is about gates to some place "full of candies", a good, a nice place to be. You can find some other examples of usage of this very phrase, for example:

Даже вопреки исторической логике. В одном амерском фильме 50-х даже Жанне Д'Арк удалось проскользнуть в пряничные ворота хэппи-энда.

But, once again, it is very rare, so, I guess, each time it had been reinvented independently.

PS I guess the best think you can do here - is to ask the author himself. Though there is no guarantee his answer won't be even more confusing )))

  • +1, from the other song - И все хотят знать:Так о чем я пою? А я хожу и пою, И все вокруг Бог; Я сам себе суфий И сам себе йог. В сердце печать Неизбывной красы, А в голове Туман над Янцзы.
    – user507
    Oct 14, 2012 at 4:40

пряничные ворота, это метафора. Означает открыть ворота в сладкую жизнь, где хочется жить и удовлетворен этой жизнью.

  • 1
    Welcome to Russian Language and Usage Beta! Please don't repeat existing answers. Invest some time in the site and you will gain sufficient privileges to upvote answers you like, which is our way of saying "thank you, I like this answer, I agree with it". You may also consider extending your answer to make it stand out and be different from answers that already were given by other people, if you don't fully agree with them.
    – Olga
    Nov 8, 2012 at 7:29
  • Welcome to Russian.SE. As @Olga pointed out, please refrain from repeating existing answers. In addition, please make sure that you are actually answering the question. In this case, the question was about the origin of the phrase, not about its meaning.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 8, 2012 at 10:38
  • Добро пожаловать на Russian.SE. Как @Olga уже сказала, не стоит повторять существующие ответы. Также, пожалуйста, убедитесь, что вы отвечаете на заданный вопрос. В данном случае, вопрос был о происхождении этой фразы, а не об ее значении.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 8, 2012 at 10:40

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