The Neskuchny GardenRussian: Neskuchny Sad or Нескучный Сад is a favourite recreational area among Muscovites. Together with Gorky ParkRussian: Park Gorkogo or Парк Горького and Sparrow HillsRussian: Vorobyovy Gory or Воробьевы горы, Neskuchny Garden is an integral part of natural oasis in the city. Shadowy walkways, flower beds, fountains, ponds, and summer houses cover an area of 60 hectares. You can spend a peaceful day here seeing several well-preserved architectural monuments from different epochs. These include Trubetskoy’s “Hunting Lodge”Russian: Okhotnichiy domik Trubetskogo or Охотничий домик Трубецкого (18th century), Alexandrinsky PalaceRussian: Aleksandrinskiy dvorets or Александринский дворец, grotesque bridges (19th century), Count Orlov’s Summer (Tea) House and grotto (19th century), and a rotunda commemorating the 800th anniversary of Moscow dating back to Stalin’s era.
At the dawn of history
The history of the park dates back to 1756. It was set up by P. Demidov, who planted 2000 rare species of plants in the shape of an amphitheatre, levelled the ground, and built greenhouses and glasshouses with tropical trees. Numerous legends have spread about his estate. He kept rare animals and birds in the poultry house and loved showing them off to visitors. Summer houses, grottos, small bridges, and a riding house with stables appeared in the garden when it belonged to Demidov’s successor Count Orlov. In 1830, Emperor Nikolas Ithe Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855 bought out Orlov’s estate together with the neighbouring estates belonging to the Golitsyns’ and Trubetskyoys-Shakhovskoys’. Since that time, the manor house has been named Alexandrinsky Palace, while the whole plot of land adjacent to the present Vorobyivy Gory (Sparrow Hills) has been called Neskuchny Garden (“Neskuchny” in Russian means “not boring”).
Neskuchny Garden is astonishing with its rugged terrain. It is located on the glacial terrace of the river, crossed by numerous gullies of various sizes. These features make the garden even more attractive. In the mid-18th century, architect D. Ukhtomsky was able to use these features to create numerous grottoes, bridges, pavillions, etc. In the 20-21st centuries, the mysterious look of Neskuchny Garden coupled with its unusual architecture made it a perfect gathering place for J.R.R Tolkien fans. The territory of Orlov’s estate has been turned into the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of RussiaRussian: Prezidium Akademii nauk Rossii or Президиум Академии наук России. The riding hall which had also belonged to Orlov is now occupied by the Fersman Mineralogical museumRussian: Mineralogicheskiy muzey im. A. Fersmana or Минералогический музей им. А. Ферсмана.
Architecture and park ensemble of Neskuchny garden
The best-known spot in the park is Count Trubetskoy’s “Hunting Lodge” (built in the 18th century). It is the only building that has survived from the time the Count owned the estate. The famous TV quiz show “What? Where? When?” has been filmed here since 1990 (it is a popular TV game show which first appeared in the Soviet Union as a contest in intellect and mental aptitude between TV viewers and game participants, or “the experts”. It is still popular in Russia). A library, a small zoo, and the oldest table tennis arena in Moscow are also located here.
The “Green theatreRussian: Zelyonyi teatr or Зеленый театр” was opened in the park in the mid-1930s. It seated 20,000 spectators and various events were held in the open air venue. However, it is now more frequently used as an open-air cinema. A unique screen called GiantRussian: Gigant or Гигант measuring 15m x 17m in size was designed and produced specially for this theatre. It was at this venue that the premiere screening of the legendary Soviet film “The CircusRussian: Tsirk or Цирк” starring Lyubov Orlova took place in 1936. The theatre is in excellent condition and is frequented by visitors during the summer months.
Count Orlov’s Summer (Tea) houseRussian: Letniy (Chaynyi) domik grafa Orlova or Летний (Чайный) домик графа Орлова was constructed in 1804-1806 in the Classicist style with four Corinthian columns. It is set on the high bank of the Moskva RiverRussian: Moskva-reka or Москва-река and boasts magnificent views over downtown Moscow. Right in front of the house the park descends down to the pond, where the Bath HouseRussian: «Vannyi» pavilon or «Ванный» павильон and the Mysterious GrottoRussian: «Tainstvennyi» grot or «Таинственный» грот were built. After the estate was purchased by the royal family, this was the place where tea ceremonies were usually held.
The beautiful Katherine pondRussian: Ekaterinensky prud or Екатерининский пруд with its cascade fountain is close by. In the centre of the pond is the so called “Isle of solitudeRussian: Ostrov uedineniya or Остров уединения” – an artificial structure which is said to bring peace and tranquility. The best samples of the fountains in Peterhof a municipal town under jurisdiction of St. Petersburg, where the palace complex is locatedand Tsarskoye Selothe town containing a former Russian residence of the imperial family and visiting nobility, located 24 km from Saint Petersburg are the prototypes of the fountain; the water flows gracefully down the steps of the cascade, reflecting the Boys with Carps sculptures. The Bathing Woman sculpture by I. Shadr crowns the fountain; in fact, a female swimmer is a typical feature of Soviet art. Sculptures like this used to decorate every park in the USSR half a century ago.
“Count Orlov’s GrottoRussian: Grot grafa Orlova or Грот графа Орлова”, a monument of 19th century park and garden art, is a grotto you can walk through. Thick bushes and trees kept it from prying eyes. For this reason, it has been a popular place couples’ rendezvous. Legend has it that if two sweethearts walk across the grotto bridge hand in hand, they will live a long and happy life together.
The summer house commemorating Moscow’s 800th anniversaryRussian: Besedka imeni 800-letiya Moskvy or Беседка имени 800-летия Москвы was built in 1951 to mark the capital’s anniversary. It is ornately decorated with moulding depicting battle scenes, because the anniversary of the capital was celebrated in 1947, soon after World War II was won. This place was chosen deliberately – Natalia Petrovna Golitsyna’s estate, (she is the woman who inspired Pushkin’s Queen of SpadesRussian: Pikovaya dama or Пиковая дама), used to occupy the site. Bands perform and recitals are held in the summer house today.
Active passtimes in Neskuchny
The park offers sports grounds, tennis courts, cycling lanes, a football pitch, a gym, and a “Panda-parkRussian: Панда-парк” with rope courses in summer. There is a kids’ club and a mini-zoo for the youngest visitors; the cages are placed along the central walkway of the park. Squirrels also abound in the park; when planning a walk in the Neskuchny Garden, it’s a good idea to take some nuts or other food to feed the animals with.
An entertainment club for adults and kids called ShardamRussian: Шардам is only a three-minute walk away from Leninsky AvenueRussian: Leninskiy prospekt or Ленинский проспект in a green area. It offers various workshops, games, recreational activities, and hands-on training on plant care. There is a café nearby where you can have a pizza, pancakes and other refreshments.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com