VorontsovoRussian: Воронцово is an old Russian country estate, the first mention of which dates back to the 16th century. It is the birthplace of the famous 18th century artist Fyodor Rokotov, who created a great range of remarkable portraits of his contemporaries. The Vorontsovo estate suffered losses in the Patriotic War of 1812the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812 and the October Revolution of 1917a revolution in Russia led by the Bolsheviks with Vladimir Lenin as a leader that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. But thanks to state protection and high quality restoration work, this natural reserve has been revived and today pleases its visitors with ancient architecture and landscape art. Here, you will find preserved various 18-19th century buildings as well as cascades of ponds, rare plants and ancient oak forests aged at over 100 years old. The estate is located on the territory of Vorontsovo ParkRussian: Vorontsovskiy park or Воронцовский парк a short way away from Leninsky ProspektRussian: Ленинский проспект opposite the Goethe German Cultural CentreRussian: Nemetskiy kulturnyi tsentr im. Gyote or Немецкий культурный центр им. Гёте. Its total area amounts to 40.7 hectares. The area is well groomed and equipped, which makes it a perfect recreation area for the whole family at any time of year.
The first written record of the name Vorontsovo was made in the spiritual testament of Ivan the Terribleruled from 1533 to 1584 in 1572. It is derived from the name of the boyara member of the highest rank of the feudal society in Russia Fyodor Voronets who owned the estate. For a long time, the estate retained its “state” status and passed from one ruler to another. It was only in the middle of the 17th century that it became the property of the royal favourite Prince Repninan Imperial Russian statesman and general from the Repnin princely family. At that point, the construction of the main buildings commenced. This construction gave the estate the appearance it has today. There are Gothic barbican towers, living quarters, and a brick manor. A lot of work went into the park too. Legend has it that it was in this park that in 1812 engineer Leppik attempted to create a “miracle weapon” which was meant to defeat Napoleon. It was a hot-air balloon intended to cause panic to the Great Army of the French. In addition, it was part of the plan to fire on the enemy from above. The plan was approved by the Governor-General of Moscow, F. Rostopchina Russian statesman, who served as governor of Moscow during the French invasion of Russia. However, such an enormous balloon failed to be built, and the estate suffered a great deal of damage during the war. This historic episode is narrated in “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy.
After the war with Napoleon was over, the estate was restored. Its owner Prince Pyotr Repnin built the Church of St. TrinityRussian: tserkov Svyatoy Troitsy, or церковь св. Троицы and implemented an alley layout. In the park is a cascade of five ponds which integrate with the local landscape. The large pond accumulates flood and spring water and discharges its excess down into the smaller ponds. You can see some buildings which used to be part of the splendid Vorontsovo estate: the northern building, the greenhouse, two annexes, and two outbuildings dating from the 18-19th centuries. In 1991-1995 the Orthodox church of St. Trinity was also restored. In fact, it is believed to be a converted 18th-century park pavilion. The church was almost razed to ground a few times during its history, but every time it was brought back to life. Today the Church of St. Trinity has been reopened to worshippers.
After the revolution of 1917, the former estate became a site for a sovkhozSoviet collective farm based near Moscow and gradually fell into decay. The interiors were looted and the houses were burned down. For a long time, it housed a biological field station, which later served as a basis for a laboratory of the Soyuzvitaminprom research instituteRussian: laboratoriya NII rasteniy Soyuzvitaminproma or лаборатория НИИ растений Союзвитаминпрома, however In 1948, the whole complex earned a place on the list of state-protected landmarks.
VORONTSOVO PARK TODAY
The park covers an area of almost 40 hectares. It is well equipped and landscaped, with numerous flower beds. You will find a few playgrounds and sportsgrounds here; there is a yoga lovers’ club, cafes, bike and boat rental, and plenty of gazebos. The park features a preserved part of an old forest which is virtually untouched by man. Many trees in Vorontsovo Park are over a hundred years old. At the entrance to the estate you are greeted by two oaks which are over 250 years old. There is an oak grove with nearly 7000 trees, home to squirrel colonies, and ponds where ducks nest.
In Soviet times, the Vorontsovo pondsRussian: Vorontsovskie prudy or Воронцовские пруды were known as a meeting point for ice swimmers, i.e. lovers of winter swimming. At the same time, a chess club opened in the park. This chess club still meets today.
In the middle of the park (in the ‘court of honour’) there is an obelisk to defenders of the Russian land located near a pond on the site of Prince Repnin’s long-lost house. It was installed in 2014 to honour the great military leaders who used to live in the estate at various times. A few years ago, a Memorial CrossRussian: Poklonnyi krest or Поклонный крест was placed in the northern part of the estate in memory of Moscow residents killed in the Chernobyl post-accident clean-up.
In winter you can go to one of the park’s skating rinks, and in summer volleyball courts are available. Do not be too surprised if you see some Nordic walking enthusiasts: it is a recent fad in Vorontsovo Park!
What you can see in the park?
A lot of people come here to see the Vorontsovo “Chinese GardenRussian: Kitayskiy sad or Китайский сад” with miniature landscapes and several mazes: the Secret Room Maze, the Spiral Maze, the Forest Maze, the Maze of History, and some more. Some follow a classical pattern while others are arranged according to patterns that once existed in the Vorontsovo estate.
Visitors with children can work out on one of its sportsgrounds, take fun rides on the Game AlleyRussian: Alleya igr or Аллея игр, go horse riding, or play the traditional Russian game gorodkian ancient Russian folk sport which Tsar Peter the Greatruled from 1682 until 1725, Suvorova Russian military leader, considered a national hero, and even Soviet leaders are said to have loved playing.
From time to time, the park runs exhibitions, themed events, and workshops for visitors of all ages. In summertime, outdoor activities are held in the park on Sundays where, for instance, you can dance Latin American dances (e.g., salsa, bachata, merengue, and son).
Vorontsovo Park has long been the hallmark of the south of Moscow. Most of the park buildings still keep memories of their noble owners, which makes this park not just a recreational area for metropolitan dwellers but also a place where one can encounter history.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com