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Tsaritsyno Park in Moscow

Tsaritsyno Park in Moscow

TsaritsynoRussian: Tsaritsyno or Царицыно is a reserve in the southern part of Moscow, a unique historical, natural and architectural ensemble with a palace and park complex dating back to the second half of the 18th century. Presently, this major park within the boundaries of Moscow  (with an area of almost 400 ha) is one of the most-loved attractions for tourists as well as Muscovites. Tsaritsyno ParkRussian: Park Tsaritsyno or Парк Царицыно is neighboured by Biryulevsky ArboretumRussian: Birulyovskiy dendropark or Бирюлёвский дендропарк, boasting some rare species of trees and bushes. The Tsaritsyno architectural monuments are ranked among the world’s major attractions, and large-scale expositions presented in the museum reserve will immerse you in the spirit of the 18th century. The palace and adjacent facilities are in a neo-gothic fantasy style, imitating the architecture of medieval catholic cathedrals of the 13th–15th centuries.

The history of the mansion of Catherine the Great

Panorama PalaceThe palace and park ensemble was founded in 1776 by the order of Empress Catherine the GreatEmpress of Russia from 1762 until 1796 to replace the old mansion of the 16th century. The mansion was owned by representatives of the most affluent and powerful aristocratic dynasties of Russia: the Godunovs, the Streshnevs, the Golitsyns, and the Cantemirs. Archaeological surveys show the land had been previously inhabited by ViatichiRussian: вятичи, an ancient Slavic tribe of the Moscow region (10th–12th cc.).

The history of the palace is extraordinary. Catherine the Great didn’t like the (nearly completed) colossal complex designed by famous architect Vasily Bazhenov and ordered it to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. Originally, Bazhenov’s ensemble consisted of 17 buildings including two symmetrical ones for the Empress and her son Pavel Petrovich, future Emperor Paul I. According to one version of the tale, the main reason for Catherine’s discontent was the architectural equivalence between the two buildings, as she had begun to disapprove of her royal heir by the end of construction. The Empress never lived in Tsaritsyno palace, and the construction was finished the year she died by another architect, Matvey Kazakov. From 1796, the palace had no interior finishing and was deteriorating. Tsaritsyno became a popular attraction in the 18th–19th centuries and walking through the majestic ruins was one of the favourite amusements of idle strollers.

The reconstruction plans for Tsaritsyno were developed from the beginning of the 19th century, but they only began to take shape in 2007, when the fully renovated Grand Palace of TsaritsynoRussian: Bol’shoy Tsaritsynskiy dvorets or Большой Царицынский дворец was reopened. The reconstruction also embraced the park, the fountains, the alleys, the pavilions, and many other monuments. Today, it is not only an excellent historic palace and park complex but it also contains huge exhibition halls with the total area of 6,000 sq. m.

The architecture of the palace complex and design of the palace complex

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The complex is designed in the style of fête galante. Each building is unique in its own way, altogether making a luxurious palace ensemble, worthy of being a residence of an 18th-century European monarch. The straight alley stretching from the central entrance turns into the majestic Figured BridgeRussian: Figurny most or Фигурный мост (1776) connecting Tsaritsyno Upper and Middle pondsRussian: Verkhniy i Sredniy Tsaritsynskie prudy or Верхний и Средний Царицынские пруды. From a distance, it resembles a fortress gate framed with robust towers on solid white stone abutments and with walls crowned by swallowtail teeth (just as on the Kremlin walls). The bridge will take you from the Great and the Small Palaces to the church and the greenhouses. As you go up the bridge, you will find yourself in a chiseled gallery, and the bridge towers will turn into semicircular alcoves.

The central space in front of the palace opens to a beautiful panorama of the Tsaritsyno ensemble: the Grand Palace with the Bread HouseRussian: Khlebny dom or Хлебный дом and the three Courtiers’ QuartersRussian: Kavalerskie korpusa or Кавалерские корпуса. The Grand Palace is a three-storey building, flanked by greenish-roofed towers. Just as almost any other Tsaritsyno building, this one combines red brick with white stone. The steeples on its towers, the lancet windows and arches can be seen from far away. The building consists of towered square side structures connected with galleries. The overall layout design resembles those of the palaces in Tsarskoye SeloRussian: Tsarskoe selo or Царское село and PeterhofRussian: Petergof or Петергоф. During the renovation works, the great YekaterininskyRussian: Екатерининский and TavricheskyRussian: Таврический Halls were also reconstructed.

1811_image6_sThe wonderful gallery between the Grand Palace and the Bread House was constructed together with the latter in 1784–1785 to Bazhenov’s design and consists of two highly decorated walls. The Bread House is the conventional name coming from the loaf of bread and the saltcellar depicted on two facades of the building. This is one of the largest structures in the ensemble. Its giant gate was designed to let through trucks with fuel wood, food stuffs and kitchen utensils. The Imperial Palace housekeeping activities were humming in the kitchens and cellars of the Bread House, which represented around 40 vaults grouped in two parallel enfilades, specifically designed by Bazhenov. Nowadays, this cube-shaped building is topped with a glass dome, which hosts an atrium and a concert hall.

Apart from the central ensemble, the Tsaritsyno Palace complex has a number of other amazing structures. The Figured (Grape) GateRussian: Figurnye (Vinogradnye) vorota or Фигурные (Виноградные) ворота (1777–1778) is one of the mansion’s landmarks. It is as if the whole spirit of Tsaritsyno is embodied in this structure. The gate is located at the end of the Birch PerspectiveRussian: Beryozovaya perspektiva or Берёзовая перспектива, an alley leading to the palaces along the pond shore. The Grape Gate represents towers with lancet windows and arches, serving as a symbolic border between the palace and the park. There is a “bunch of grapes” carved in the middle lower part of the arch, which gave the gate its alternative name. In addition, the park part of Tsaritsyno features the Big Bridge over the RavineRussian: Bol’shoy most cherez ovrag or Большой мост через овраг, a massive structure above the ravine leading to the pond. Its heavy frames impresses the eye at a distance, with some of its elements evoking associations with catholic cathedrals. The facades are adorned with strange symbols which have not yet been deciphered.

1804_image11_s The winding paths lead to the so-called Temple of CeresRussian: Khram Tserery or Храм Цереры (Golden SheafRussian: Zolotoy snop or Золотой сноп Summerhouse) decorated with a statue of Ceres, ancient Roman goddess of fertility (1804, architect Ivan Yegotov). The southern island of Tsaritsyno Upper Pond is home to the Mermaid’s GateRussian: Rusalkiny vorota or Русалкины ворота, a ruined arch thought to be a symbol of ancient architecture. The high hill is topped with an odd structure designed by Yegotov to resemble a ruined Scottish tower, which is used as a lookout today. In addition, numerous small figured bridges and grottos are scattered around the park.

The Tsaritsyno park ensemble also includes the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Life-Giving SpringRussian: Khram ikony Bozhiei Materi “Zhivonosny istochnik” or Храм иконы Божией Матери «Живоносный источник» (18th century). It was founded in 1722 by prince Dimitrie Cantemir, Peter the Greatruled from 1682 until 1725’s companion. Like many other cathedrals, it was closed in 1932 and later brought to ruin. The church was restored and consecrated in the 1990s.

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The museums and exhibition halls of Tsaritsyno

1809_image4_s You can take a walk around the park or visit its museum complex, which includes the interiors of the Grand Palace, an archaeological exhibition, historical and artistic expositions devoted to Catherine the Great’s era and the richest museum of applied and decorative arts. The latter holds a vast collection of oeuvres from around the former Soviet Union: glassware, pottery, decorative fabrics, chinaware, folk art products, etc. This museum opened in 1984, marking the beginning of the history of the modern Tsaritsyno Museum and ReserveRussian: Muzey-zapovednik “Tsaritsyno” or Музей-заповедник «Царицыно». You can enter The Moscow Tsaritsyno Museum and Exhibition Complex through a special glass pavilion near the Grand Palace. The museum is connected with the Grand Palace and the Bread House by an underground tunnel and an atrium housing a cloakroom, ticket offices, a bookstore and bathroom facilities. After the reconstruction, the Grand Palace was equipped with lifts, so today it is accessible to all visitors.

The Grand Palace currently offers some interesting themed exhibitions. One of them is Tsaritsyno Antiquities. Archaeology of Tsaritsyno. This is an exhibit of artifacts from different epochs discovered during reconstruction works and excavations; there is also a model of the ruined Tsaritsyno Palace. Another is called Memories of the Great Ruin, which showcases the history of both the Grand Palace’s demolition and reconstruction. Silver Storeroom contains items made of precious metals held by the museum, which include works by the houses of Sazikov, Ovchinnikov, Fabergé, Khlebnikov, etc. The Old and the New Tsaritsyno, a local history exhibition, presents the history of Chernaya GryazRussian: Chyornaya Gryaz’ or Чёрная грязь village from 1775, when it was bought by Catherine the Great, up to the early 20th century.

1810_image5_s The first floor of the Grand Palace hosts a permanent exposition called Catherine the Great: The Golden Age of the Russian Empire devoted to the Empress, her life, her fortune and her fate. You will also see authentic portraits, furniture, chinaware, weapons and everyday objects of the era here. The permanent exhibition Tapestry for the Palace will also draw your eye, presenting masterpieces of West-European weaving art of the late 17th and 18th centuries. Paintings and furniture contribute to the spirit of the Golden Age palace interiors. A 900 sq. m area is occupied by the permanent exhibition The Art of Grand Style which describes both applied and decorative arts and their history during the era of the Soviet Union spanning from 1961–1991 (sections: On Guard for the Motherland, Holidays and Weekdays, Our Great Motherland, Youth and Sports, Art to the People, Earth and Space).

From the Grand Palace, you can use the underground tunnel to reach the Bread House. The spacious rooms of the Bread House also host permanent and temporary exhibitions. In particular, Art within the Soviet Union presents the best part of the collection owned by the Museum of Applied and Decorative ArtsRussian: Muzey dekorativno-prikladnogo iskusstva or Музей декоративно-прикладного искусства: clay toys, metal and wooden handicrafts, national costumes, woven fabrics, embroidery, and objects of applied and decorative arts of the 20th century.

The landscape park

PondsTsaritsyno is not only a monument of architecture but also a gorgeous landscape park. It reflectsthe personal tastes of the Empress and the charm of the 18th century with its passion for illusions and interplay of architectural forms. The park looks very romantic and sometimes even mysterious, having preserved its natural topography and flora, which features some rare native species. There are also renovated structures and pavilions, restored and purified ponds, waterfronts, berths and dams. As you walk around the park, you will see a lot of sculptures. Tsaritsyno Middle Pond has an animated fountain, the largest in Moscow, which operates in summertime.

The park houses annual flower festivals, a stable yard and a boathouse, electric car tours and historical costume photo shoots. The greenhouses are home to tropical plants, fruit trees and herbs. All exhibits have been selected to match the assortment of Tsaritsyno greenhouses of the 17th century. The surface area of the greenhouse complex is over 2,700 sq. m.

Tsaritsyno is outstandingly picturesque. Its beauty and mysterious history won’t leave you indifferent, and you will definitely want to come back here again!!

Temple
Fountain
Shulgajte l. a. decorative composition Flowering field

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total number of grades: 4, average rating: 4.50 (from 5)
Location

Between Third Ring Road and Moscow Ring Road

Nearest Metro Station

Tsaritsyno, Orekhovo

Address

Bld. 1 Dolskaya Street, Moscow

Website

http://tsaritsyno-museum.ru

Museum Opening Hours / Ticket Office Opening Hours

Museum:
Tu: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
We: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
Th: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
Fr*: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
Sa: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ticket office till 7.30 p.m.)
Su: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ticket office till 6.30 p.m.)
* Except last Friday of the month
Greenhouse complex:
We: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
Th: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
Fr: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ticket office till 5.30 p.m.)
Sa: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ticket office till 7.30 p.m.)
Su: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ticket office till 6.30 p.m.)
The Park is open from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. every day.

Days off

Monday, last Friday of the month, Tuesday (in the greenhouse complex)

Ticket Price

From 80 to 650 rubles depending on visitor category and programme of visits.
Photography is included in the ticket price.

Visiting Rules

Entrance to exhibitions and permanent expositions of the Museum in beachwear, with backpacks and large bags is not allowed. Things should be left in the cloakroom.
Shoes with sharp heels and metal-toed shoes which can damage the parquet are not allowed.
It is forbidden to carry and drink alcoholic beverages, including beer and low alcohol drinks, to smoke, to visit the territory of the Museum with pets.
It is forbidden to swim in ponds, to move about the park using cars, bicycles, scooters, longboards and roller skates.

Additional Information

Adjusted for persons with disabilities.
Audioguide in Russian, English and Chinese languages.

Gallery

Monument to V. Bazhenov and M. Kazakov. Photo by shutterstock.com
Tsaritsyno Map
Museum exhibit
Museum exhibit
Museum exhibit
A Blooming Field, a decorative composition
Flower gardens
Flower gardens
Church of the Icon of the Theotokos Life-Giving Spring
House of Bread
Fountain
Fountain
Falcon sculpture. 1957
Restaurant
Park
Tsaritsyno Map
First Cavalry Corps
Milovida Pavilion
Small Palace
Small Palace
Catherine Hall
General view of the palace
Gallery
Gallery
Historical costumes
Big bridge
Ruin Tower
Monument to V. Bazhenov and M. Kazakov
Old Tsaritsyno, 19th century
Third Cavalry Corps
Second Cavalry Corps
Ponds
Left Right

Featured reviews

Visitor rating:   5.0

November 2016
It's a romantic park in summer. Fountains, lighting and everything else create a great mood on summer evening. In winter, it's a good place for skiing, especially as there is a parking. Even though the Empress didn't live in Tsaritsyno Palace, the buildings were built by a great architect! Very nice, and if you read more about the history of this place, it will also be interesting. Exhibitions and concerts take place there, so you always have stuff to do!

August 2016
This wonderful place did not leave anyone indifferent, fascinating by a protected park. It's heartening to see clean, well-kept park plenty of flowers and plant compositions. The ornament of the park is a pond with clear, transparent water. On the shore of the pond you can rest, admiring the snow-white swans and gliding pleasure boats. No moods of weather can prevent you from enjoying...

November 2016
For those who are going to visit Tsaritsyno Park, it would be better to set aside a whole day. The viewing of palace will take you about three hours. The park is very beautiful. There are greenhouses with amazingly beautiful plants.

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