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Photo by Y. Ivanko.

The manor complex, consisting of the main house and the arena, is located on Povarskaya Street. The buildings were built in the first third of the 19th century.

Experts have identified the architectural value of the historical estate of Prince Gagarin on Povarskaya. The Department of Cultural Heritage of the city of Moscow approved the subject of protection for this architectural monument. We are talking about the main house of the estate, an arena and a forged-welded fence with spear-shaped ends and two gates (address: Povarskaya street, building 23, building 4, building 25a, building 1). The complex belongs to the Empire architectural style, it was built in the first third of the 19th century for Prince Sergei Sergeevich Gagarin. For a long time, the construction of the house was attributed to the architect Osip Bove, but in 1975, when the first scientific restoration of the estate was carried out, the authorship of Domenico Gilardi was established. The sculptors Gabriel Zamaraev, Ivan Vitali, Santin Campioni took part in the decoration of the mansion.

The estate has the status of a cultural heritage site of federal significance. Any restoration work should be carried out there only under the supervision of the Metropolitan Department of Cultural Heritage and in accordance with the approved subject matter of protection. This document included all the elements of decor, interior decoration, as well as the layout of buildings and materials that were used in their construction and decoration.

“Gagarin’s estate on Povarskaya Street is a fine example of a preserved historical ensemble of the 19th century. The main house, which now houses the Institute of World Literature, was built in the 1820s by the outstanding architect Domenico Gilardi. This building is truly a gem of the area. In addition, the historic arena and the fence have been preserved. They also form an integral part of the old buildings of this place. The Moscow City Heritage Committee approved the subject of protection of the entire complex. The document includes all the unique details of the monuments “, – commented the head

Moscow City Heritage Alexey Emelyanov.

The main house of the Gagarin estate has two floors, a basement and a mezzanine. It is a stone building with rich stucco decoration on the central façade. The covering of the walls of the house at the level of the first and second floors is different from each other. At the bottom, a special rustic plaster was used, which imitates convex masonry. And the upper floor was plastered smoothly. The window openings on the first floor are decorated with white lion masks. This decor is by sculptor Gabriel Zamaraev. Domenico Gilardi has repeatedly used his work in his projects. In particular, Gilardi first tested similar masks when decorating the facade of the Moscow University building on Mokhovaya Street.

The side facades of the house are devoid of decorations. The semicircular projections of the courtyard facade are connected by a balcony with a metal lattice.

The layout of the house is original. The central place in the mansion is occupied by the main staircase, and above it you can see a window in the ceiling, or the so-called skylight. A staircase leads to a vestibule with low Doric columns. The entrances to the front rooms of the house are surrounded by a staircase, they are made in the form of arches.

Only in the western part of the house there are several small living rooms, above which there is a mezzanine floor with an elegant wooden staircase. Many rooms have vaulted ceilings and rich stucco decoration. It is especially worth noting that the ceiling vaults of the master bedroom are painted using the grisaille technique, which conveys different gradations of the same color. In the study, a bay window separated by columns (a three-dimensional window protruding forward from the plane of the facade) and a carved marble fireplace have been preserved. Currently, the building houses the A.M. Gorky Russian Academy of Sciences and the A.M. Gorky.

The manege of Gagarin’s estate is a two-story stone building with semicircular windows, rectangular and semi-arched niches, and white stucco decoration. In 1989, the building of the arena, damaged by a fire, was transferred to the Institute of World Literature named after A.M. Gorky. In 1994, a large-scale restoration and reconstruction began in it. By the time the work began, only a brick skeleton with a gable roof was preserved from the historical structure. In 1995, the manege building was returned to its historical appearance. Now it houses a bank.

Prince Sergei Sergeevich Gagarin (1795–1852) was chief of the chamberlain and head of the imperial theaters from 1829 to 1833. He put in a lot of work to put theatrical business in order: he introduced a post-performance fee instead of subscriptions, transformed the theater school, and opened the Alexandrinsky Theater in 1831.

After his resignation in 1833 from his post, the prince sold his Moscow estate on account of debts. Ownership often passed to different owners until it was bought by the management of the Moscow stud farm. The outside arena was supplemented with wooden stables, which occupied most of the manor park. Exhibitions and sales of horses were held in the arena building. And the main house housed the apartments of the employees. In one of them, in 1875, the manager of the imperial stud farms in Tula and Moscow, Major General Leonid Gartung, settled with his wife Maria Alexandrovna, the eldest daughter of Alexander Pushkin.

After the revolution, the first Moscow machine-gun courses of the Red Army, the Institute of Red Professors, the equestrian base of the Council of People’s Commissars and the International Lenin School were located at different times in the former manor house. And in the 1930s, the estate housed the Semyon Budyonny Cavalry School, whose classes (not being cadets) were attended by Vasily Stalin and the sons of Anastas Mikoyan.

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

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