The Alexandrian Palace in Neskuchny Garden

Neskuchny Garden is the oldest park in the city, situated at the right bank of the Moscow River. The term “Neskuchny” translates as “merry” or, literally, “not sad”. There is a manor in this park which is called the Alexandrian Palace. At first it was named after Demidov, Russia’s richest businessman at the time. Because of Demidov’s all-consuming passion for gardening he became friends with a famous botanist Academician Pallas. On Demidov’s demand he made a scientific description and design of the garden. There were four thousand plants in the garden, most of them exotic ones.

The Counts Fyodor and Alexey Orlov, who were the next owners of the manor, made their fortune and received their titles and honors owing to their help to the Empress Catherine II during the insurrection in 1762. Their high position was largely due to their third brother Grigoriy who was the Empress’s favourite until 1775. He was the foremost statesman and combat leader of the second half of 18th century as well as the most gifted and active of the Orlov brothers. During the Russian-Turkish war he was the head of the Russian foreign corps acting in the Balkans; he also was the Commander-In-Chief of the Mediterranean Squadron.

The Count never refused visitors to participate in open-air parties in his garden; the atmosphere was always joyful and hospitable. Grigoriy Orlov attained the fame of a bounteous landlord: 150-300 people had dinner at his place every Sunday. He was the first man who had appraised Gypsy singing and created a Gypsy choir. The Count arranged fist-fighting tournaments and participated in them himself. The Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, wife of Nicholas I, was presented with the manor as the 25th Wedding Anniversary gift.

It was during the reign of the Emperor Nicholas I that the Palace got the name “Alexandrian” in honour of the Empress and was rebuilt. The Palace acquired an austere and official look: it was a classic three-storey manor with arched windows on the first floor. Since that time the Alexandrian Palace remained an Imperial Residence.

Among all of the royal family members, the Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich and his spouse Elisabeth were the longest living habitants of the manor. In 1891-1904 the Grand Duke was the Governor-General of Moscow. During the Soviet era the palace was nationalised. The unique historical monument was turned to a museum where the richest collection of exquisite furniture was gathered. A short time later the museum became a scientific centre, as in 1936 the Alexandrian Palace was made the headquarters of the Academy of Science of USSR, now the Russian Academy of Science. Tour to Moscow