The estate of Bolshiye VyazyomyRussian: Большие Вязёмы in Moscow Region is part of the A. S. Pushkin State Historical and Literary Open-Air MuseumRussian: Gosudarstvennyi istoriko-literaturnyi muzey-zapovednik A. S. Pushkina or Государственный историко-литературный музей-заповедник А. С. Пушкина; it is truly one of the most enchanting places associated with the Russian author. From 1804 to 1810, Pushkin spent every summer in the village of ZakharovoRussian: Захарово, 5 km from the estate, and these places were echoed in many of his literary works, including his novel in verse, Eugene OneginRussian: Евгений Онегин.
Located on the bank of the VyazyomkaRussian: Вязёмка River, 54 km to the west of Moscow, the estate of Bolshiye Vyazyomy is a beautiful area dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. On its territory are the Golitsyn Palace Russian:Golitsynskiy dvorets or Голицынский дворецwith several annexes, the Transfiguration CathedralRussian: Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy sobor or Спасо-Преображенский собор, a distinctive bell-gable, an old dam and other landmarks. In Bolshiye Vyazyomy, the well-groomed park and picturesque forests surrounding the estate complement numerous historical and cultural monuments.
History of the estate
Bolshiye Vyazyomy is first mentioned in early 16th-century chronicles as a settlement along the Big Smolenska city located on the Dnieper River, 360 kilometers west-southwest of Moscow road. In 1585, Tsar Ivan the Terribleruled from 1533 to 1584 granted it to his brother-in-law Boris Godunovwas elected tsar of Muscovy (reigning 1598–1605) after the extinction of the Rurik dynasty, who transformed his new domain into a small fortress. In one year, Godunov’s architects constructed a wooden tereman upper story of a home or castle, often with a pitched roof with annexes and a Transfiguration Church, a rampart and a dam, all of which still exist today.
During the Time of Troublesperiod of political crisis in Russia that followed the demise of the Rurik dynasty (1598) and ended with the establishment of the Romanov dynasty (1613), a period of political unrest in early 17th-century Russia, the estate was used for a short period of time as the countryside residence of the False Tsar Dmitry Ithe first of three #pretenders# who claimed to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible and his Polish wife Marina Mniszech. At the end of the 17th century, Tsar Peter Iruled from 1682 until 1725 granted the estate to his companion-in-arms, Prince Boris Golitsyn, whose great-grandson Nikolay Golitsyn rebuilt the palace in 1784 – it is this construction dating from 1784 that we admire today.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1812the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812, the military commander Mikhail Kutuzov stayed at the estate of Bolshiye Vyazyomy, as did Napoleon. A great many notable personalities visited the estate throughout its history, including Emperor Pavel, Nikolay Gogol, Valery Bryusov, Leo Tolstoy, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva and Nikolay Przhevalsky. The estate is closely associated with the outstanding Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin grew up not far from Bolshiye Vyazyomy and would often visit the local church and the Golytsins. Pushkin’s brother Nikolay, who died at the age of six, was buried in the local cemetery.
The Golitsyns owned the estate until 1917. In Soviet times, the mansion gradually fell into disrepair, and it was not until 1980 that the building was turned into a museum. In 1994, the estate was declared a state museum, and restoration works began.
All the buildings located on the estate are worth visiting, but the cathedral, the bell-gable and the mansions with with their two annexes are the most popular sights. The rooms in the mansion are lavishly decorated with pieces of furniture and household items (late 19th – early 20th centuries), brought here from similar estates to add to the museum’s collection. The interior of the Golitsyn Palace recreates the atmosphere of Pushkin’s times, with the apartments restored in such a way that one can easily imagine what they were like when Pushkin visited the mansion in his youth and later years.
The state dining room is where Emperor Pavel Ireigned as Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801 – and perhaps even the unwanted guest Napoleon – were served dinner during their stay here. The library temporarily hosted the headquarters of the Russian army. The Masonry Hall features portraits of the high-rankings members of a Masonic lodge and the mosaic Masonic symbols. The (rather coquettish) boudoir recalls the life of Natalya Petrovna Golitsyna, who inspired the main character in Pushkin’s work The Queen of SpadesRussian: Pikovaya dama or Пиковая дама. It was on the Golitsyns’ estate that Pushkin based the countryside estate of Eugene Onegin, neighboured by the more modest mansion belonging to the Larins, Zakharovo.
In the adjacent alleys, paths and terraces stand obelisks dedicated to notable people and to memorable dates of the 16th to 20th centuries. The park and the pond provide insight into the art of landscape designers of the past. The museum carries out ongoing work, restoring the service buildings and the stable and organising new exhibitions.
One of the most exciting things that take place at the museum are festivities devoted to important historical dates and those related to Pushkin, as well as regular Musical Events at the Russian EstateRussian: Muzykalnyie vechera v russkoy usadbe or Музыкальные вечера в русской усадьбе held in the Chimney HallRussian: Kaminnyi zal or Каминный зал. The children’s centre affiliated with the estate of Bolshiye Vyazyomy welcomes young listeners and viewers to special classes, concerts, games and festivals.
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