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The palace in the Kuskovo estate museum. Author M. Ozersky. 1954 year. Main Archive of Moscow

In the former estate of the Sheremetev counts, an architectural and artistic ensemble of the 18th century has been preserved.

Kuskovo was first mentioned at the end of the 16th century as the possession of the Sheremetevs. Documents describing how the estate appeared and how it changed are stored in Main Archive of Moscow.

Kuskovo belonged to the Sheremetevs for more than three hundred years, until 1918. During this time, the architectural and park ensemble of the estate was formed. In the years 1623-1624, a wooden church, a boyar courtyard, and serfs’ courtyards stood here. In accordance with the fashion of that time, an English garden appeared in the estate, the decoration of which were streams, ponds, waterfalls, picturesque mountains and ravines.

The main monuments of landscape art appeared in the Kuskovo estate in the 1780s. The alleys with neatly trimmed trees, floral carpets and smooth lawns became a kind of labyrinth: some of them ended in mirrored dead ends or painted trompe l’oeil perspectives that hid real space. In the 18th century, the estate was even nicknamed Versailles because of the similarity with the residence of the French kings.

The park attracted with its greenhouse, in which laurel, lemon, orange, coffee and other trees, exotic for our latitudes, grew to no less size than in their natural habitat.

The 1907 Dacha Directory and Guide to the Moscow Environs reported: “In the forest adjacent to the park, over a vast stretch, there are many dachas of different prices, but cheaper ones – in the densely populated dacha area“ Gai ”, located on the road to Kosino. The Gai amusement garden with a theater is located here.

The forest was distinguished by birch forests, walking paths and century-old oaks and lindens, which, according to experts, can be attributed to valuable objects. Unfortunately, due to the abundant dacha development, the old Kuskovsky park was practically destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century. Its condition in the first decades of Soviet power can be judged from the description in the guidebook of 1928: “Of course, after a hundred and fifty years the park is far from what it was in the time of Catherine, then the army of serf gardeners groomed it like an odalisque, curls, watered flower beds. Now a resting worker is walking along the paths, critically examining the noseless, armless marble gods and goddesses. “

In 1918, Kuskovo received the status of a museum-estate; the museum expositions include the collections of porcelain, ceramics and glass of the State Museum of Ceramics, which was transferred to Kuskovo in 1932. During the Great Patriotic War, there were barracks on the territory of the estate, where the cadets of the school of sniper training instructors lived.

Improvement works have been carried out in the park since 2011. The central part of the estate was decorated with cast-iron benches, modeled after the 18th – 19th centuries. Experts carried out drainage works, planted trees in a French regular park – the only one in Moscow. In addition, an aerial theater was recreated in Kuskovo (a unique example of the synthesis of architectural, park and scenic art), the pond was cleared, its banks were repaired and strengthened.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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