The Hermitage GardenRussian: Sad Ermitazh, or Сад Эрмитаж is one of Moscow’ most romantic places. It is a small, quiet and cozy park, walking distance from the ChekhovskayaRussian: Чеховская Metro Station. Keep walking from the monument to Alexander Pushkin right through a garden square on Strastnoy BoulevardRussian: Страстной бульвар where you can also take a look at the monuments to the writer Aleksandr Tvardovsky, the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and the poet Vladimir Vysotsky, and then turn to Karetny Ryad streetRussian: ulitsa Karetnyi ryad or улица Каретный ряд. Three metropolitan theatres – the HermitageRussian: Эрмитаж, the Novaya Opera TheatreRussian: Новая Опера and the Sfera TheatreRussian: театр "Сфера" – are located in this seemingly low-key garden.
HERMITAGE GARDEN: ITS STORY
The Hermitage Garden was founded in 1894. A patron of arts, Yakov V. Shchukin, turned a wasteland with a run-down plant into a highlight of the capital. He had a park laid out with flowerbeds, paths and newly planted trees, an old building became a fashionable theatre and the park was equipped with running water and a pool. It was also one of the first places in Moscow to get electric lighting!
The Hermitage Garden has always been famous for its innovative events and premieres. The Moscow Free Art TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy hudozhestvennyi obschedostupnyi teatr or Московский художественный общедоступный театр opened its doors in October, 1989, and visitors came here to attend the premieres of Anton Chekhov’s plays, The Gull and Uncle Vanya. The theatre has since become one of the centres of Moscow’s theatre scene. Today, three theatres (the Hermitage, the Novaya Opera Theatre and the Sfera Theatre) are located in the garden, along with an open-air performance venue. Other theatres – the Lencom TheatreRussian: театр Ленком, the Young Actors Theatre of MoscowRussian: Teatr yunogo aktyora or Театр юного актёра and the Rossiya TheatreRussian: teatr "Rossiya" or театр "Россия", which is famous for its musicals, are a stone’s throw away from the garden. Interestingly, the Hermitage Theatre building, the oldest in the garden, is a late 19th-century historical landmark. The first electric torch, a one-of-a-kind “technological sensation”, made at the Yekaterininsky PlantRussian: Ekaterininskiy zavod or Екатерининский завод and installed in the garden, has also survived to this day. The garden has undergone several reconstructions, the most recent one having been carried out for Moscow’s 850th anniversary in 1997.
THE HERMITAGE GARDEN TODAY
Today, the garden is one of the best places to relax in Moscow, and visitors of all ages succumb to its charm. It’s a great place to come and relax with your family or enjoy the silence all by yourself reading a book on a bench or listening to music. The garden features playgrounds, stylish cafés and cozy pavilions. Everything in the garden is arranged in such a harmonious way that the garden does not look overcrowded despite its considerable number of facilities. In hot weather, have a rest by the fountains or in the shade of one of the many trees. Free Wi-Fi is available in the garden.
Come and enjoy a quiet moment in Chekhov’s houseRussian: domik Chekhova or домик Чехова, an old outbuilding located on Malaya Dmitrovka Street Russian: ulitsa Malaya Dmitrovka or улица Малая Дмитровкаwhere the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov lived for about two years and wrote part of his novel, Sakhalin Island, and the story Ward No. 6, whose title has become a household name in Russia. Today, Chekhov’s house combines a memorial museum and an exhibition hall.
The Hermitage Garden is one of Moscow’s best places for romantic dates. If you come here with your sweetheart, don’t fail to have your picture taken in front of the monument to all those in love, called Heart of LoveRussian: Serdtse lyubvi or Сердце любви. Small bells tinkling softly to the slightest puff of wind are attached to its metallic base. Though the monument was put up there not so long ago, in 2006, it has already acquired its own legend. According to popular belief, if a love-struck pair kisses for the first time by the side of this sculptural installation, their love will be deep and last for years.
The ‘I love Moscow’ logo, loved by locals and tourists alike, is another great place to have pictures taken. Two more sculptures deserve special attention: a bust of Victor Hugo by Laurent Marqueste gifted to the city by the Administration of Paris and a sculpture of Dante Alighieri by Rinaldo Piras, a gift from the government of Italy.
Open air yoga spaces, dance workshops and various master classes are regularly held in the garden, and concerts are held on the summer stage. Kids will be delighted to visit a pigeon- and squirrel-house and have a close encounter with these cute animals. Several kids’ clubs offer activities including music, painting, dancing and much more.
In wintertime, the Hermitage Garden features the Russian capital’s most romantic ice rink! Two venues are generally on offer: one with natural ice and another with synthetic ice. You can rent skates here and change your clothes in warm pavilions. After skating, you are welcome to have a bite to eat and a hot drink here. A figure-skating school is also open on the rinks.
Have a tasty meal in one of the site’s cafés or restaurants. For those who are fond of exploring different cuisines, the Food Bazaar food court offers a store, street food and traditional Russian and Indian cuisine. The cost of a typical meal in the garden’s café is 500-1500 rubles.
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