Moscow has a plethora of beautiful estates across the vast area that it covers. It is fitting that the capital of the largest country in the world has such grand sites making it one of the greenest cities anywhere with over a hundred parks to its name. Moscow’s estates, rich with gardens and parks that dramatically change form and colour throughout the seasons, are definitely an attraction to be experienced. It is well worth some planning to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre for some real fresh air and places that will have you wander off into fairy-tale land.
A prime example is the overwhelming beauty of the old Tsarist village of Kolomenskoe, a former royal estate situated several miles to the south-east of Moscow city-centre on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna. Kolomenskoe is a complex of significant structures pertinent to Russian history and culture. Twelve 16th to 19th century remains of architectural importance from the royal manor, four wooden structures brought from different regions of Russia and the Ascension Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) make up a total of seventeen great attractions in this one estate alone.
Some of Moscow's most beautiful things to see are found in the suburban estates of the 19th century aristocracy like Kuskovo - one of the earliest examples of summer country residences in Russia. The estate, built by the order of the noble Sheremetev family, was intended for magnificent receptions and festivities that in its hey-day drew up to twenty-five thousand guests on glorious occasions. The twenty-six room palace and its grounds are today the home of the Russian State Museum of Ceramics, and the park with its monuments, ponds and canals is a favourite place of recreation for Muscovites to revive old Manor celebrations.
Another unique shrine of Russian architecture is the 18th century Ostankino Estate situated in the northern part of the Russian capital. Once considered to be outside of Moscow, the mansion is now a mere 20 minute drive from the Kremlin and attracts lovers of stringent forms of classic architecture, exquisite interiors of the palace and the solitary silence of the old park. Another jewel in the Sheremetev family assets, the structure ensemble of the Ostankino Estate was formed over several centuries and generations. The current main Ostankino Palace was built by one of the richest and noblest men of his time, Count Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetev, in the last decade of the 18th century. The Ostankino gardens, once an important supplier of exotic plants for wealthy Moscow families, today compasses the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, a Botanical Garden and the Ostankino Television buildings.
A magnificent jewel in Moscow’s impressive collection, is the Grand Summer Residence of the Russian Empress Catherine the Great – Tsaritsino. The Palace had initially saw ten years of construction from 1776 under the architect Bazhenov before being raised to the ground by the order of the Empress herself - she simply did not like it. Another architect named Kazakov came in to do the job for another 10 years but with the death of Catherine the Great, the Tsaritsino residence was abandoned and unfinished. Thankfully, a grand renovation took place between 2005 and 2007 and is now arguably the most grand and beautiful estate in Moscow with palaces, dancing fountains, a park, picturesque church, bridges and ponds. Tsaritsino is rightfully a popular attraction and thousands of people visit throughout the year.
Parks are not necessarily confined to estates. Two such examples are the popular Gorky Park great for families with its own amusement park located on the Moscow River bank and a former Emperor’s residence, and the central Victory Park with its 1,418 fountains for each day of the Second World War leading to the monument of the Goddess of Victory.
The above covers the highlights of what we believe to be recommended estates and parks to visit in Moscow. However, it is not a complete list as there are many other parks available to explore in various states of beauty and disrepair such as Izmailovsky Park, Kuzminka Park, Uzkoe Park and Estate, Lyublino Park, Lefortovo Park, Timiryazevsky Park...
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Kremlin by night
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"Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken" - Frank Herbert