At the end of April 1997 I visited Moscow and had, among
others things, a walk through Tsaritsino Park.
A beautiful place. Some commentaries to the photos were supplied by the
In the 17th century the Black Dirt estate
belonged to the Streshnev boyar family. In 1712 it passed to Prince
Dimitrie Cantemir who built the Trinity Church there. Having acquired
the estate in 1775, Catherine the Great had it renamed Tsaritsa's
estate, or Tsaritsino.
On Catherine's order most of the park
buildings were designed by Vasiliy I. Bazhenov, one of the greatest
Russian architects of all time.
Ruined towers and other architectural
follies were at the peak of their popularity in 1780s.
In 1786 the
Empress ordered some of the buildings to be demolished. Catherine was
particularly irritated with Bazhenov's abundant use of masonic symbols
(solar and planet signs, spears, crescents, trefoils, etc). Bazhenov was
also censured for having equated her palace with that of her son.
The current restoration works have been
in progress since 1970s when it was decided to implement Bazhenov's
project in its entirety. Every park building (except the Grand Palace)
has already been repaired.
Finished in 1778, the Opera House was
intended for state receptions and balls. The highlight of the edifice is
the great double-lighted hall. The lateral facades are crowned with
double-headed eagles in order to emphasise the building's social
The same edifice
The gates in front of it
The Little Palace
The Grand Palace. After Bazhenov's
original palace had been destructed, Mikhail Kazakov was commissioned to
build a new palace on its site. It has never been completed.
The belfry and refectory were added to
the Trinity church in 1883.
The Little, or Figured, Bridge was
erected over the main entrance to the estate in 1776-78. You should
notice several built-ins in the form of Maltese crosses.
Bazhenov and Kazakov, the architects Eugraph Tyurin and Ivan Yegotov
were responsible for the park's architecture.
The large bridge over the ravine was
designed by Bazhenov.
Its length is 100 yards or so. Three pointed
arches in the centre are profusely decorated with white tracery
resembling folk embroidery.
The same bridge
The Trinity church (1722)
The system of Tsaritsino ponds also dates back to the 18th century.
The steep shore contains three ruined grottos which are said to be
connected by underground passageways.
The crescent-shaped islet in the lower pond was arificially created
as a "mock labyrinth" for boats floating around the pond. It was also
used as a bivouac area for imperial horse guards officers.