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Tsaritsyno Park

This amazing estate of manors, a museum and reserve has a simple name – Tsaritsyno (tsar-it-seeno). But it had had many different names during its long history.

During the reign of Ivan the Terrible this area was called the Black-Dirty Wasteland (or the Black Dirt) and it was for the first time mentioned in history as part of the Tsar’s patrimony in 1589. In 1711 Peter the First gave the Black Dirt to his companion-in-arms the Moldavian lord Dmitry Kantemir who had joined Russian military forces after the Russian-Turkish war.

The estate got the name “Tsaritsyno” in 1775 when the Empress Catherine II decided to make it her residence. The construction work in Tsaritsyno lasted for almost twenty years. During the first decade the works were headed by the architect Vasily Bazhenov. It was decided from the very beginning that the manor would be built in Gothic style so that it could remind Catherine of her native Germany. Bazhenov had managed to construct almost all of the manor’s buildings including the Khlebniy House, the Maliy Palace, the Opera House, the Kavalerskiy Bulks, bridges and Vinogradniye Gates that have been preserved to this day. The architect had erected two similar palaces instead of one big palace, one – for Catherine and the other – for Pavel I, the successor to the throne. In his architecture Bazhenov used pointed Gothic windows, national symbolic ornaments, figured brickwork where he utilized the ancient Russian brick-laying technique.

Baznenov’s role as architect of Tsaritsyno ended very unexpectedly. The Empress visited the site in 1785 and, having had a look, ordered to break everything down and start the construction over. Bazhenov fell into disgrace and was suspended from the work. Another architect, Matvey Kazakov, set to work in Tsaritsyno. He disassembled some of Bazhenov’s buildings and started to materialise his own projects. Kazakov had managed to finish the Great Palace but without the interior work.
As the construction continued one of Moscow’s best landscape parks was being settled there. In the late 19th century there was a theatre, a public garden, shops, taverns, state schools and weekend cottages.

Tsaritsyno village finally joined the official territory of Moscow in 1960. In 1993 it was granted the status of reserve museum. The complete restoration of Tsaritsyno reserve began only in 2005 and was finished in 2009.

At the present time the Tsaritsyno reserve consists of an architectural ensemble, created by Bazhenov and Kazakov, the English landscape park, one of Moscow’s oldest cascades of ponds (the Tsaritsyno ponds and Borisov ponds) all of which contribute to this unique and beautiful location which many people call by its simple and noble name, the Tsaritsyno. Moscow tours