Kuskovo, nicknamed the Moscow Versailles due to its formal French gardens, was thesummer country house and estate of the Sheremetev family. Built in the mid-18thcentury, it was originally situated several miles to the east of Moscow but now is part ofthe East District of the city. Today the estate is the home of the Russian State Museumof Ceramics, and the park is a favourite place of recreation for Muscovites.The Palace was constructed by Petr Borisovich Sheremetev (1713–1787). Constructionwas carried out between the 1730s and the 1790s on a site of over three hundredhectares. The earliest surviving structure is the Saviour church, on the site of the oldwooden church, built in 1737-39 in a Petrine baroque style and decorated with marblestatues. The neoclassical bell-tower was added later, in 1792.The Palace was designed in the new neoclassical style, then becoming popular for statebuildings in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The exterior was made of wooden planks,which were plastered and painted in soft pastel colors. The six-column portico at thefront of the house was designed with a ramp so that carriages with as many as eighthorses could come directly to the front door.
The Grotto The Grotto was constructed between 1755 and 1761 by the architect F. Afgounov, and was intended to represent the palace of the King of the Seas. It was placed next to a large pond, which reflected its imposing facade and dome. Inside rows of niches were filled with statues of Venus, Diana, Ceres, Flore, Juno and Jupiter.
Dutch HouseA traditional brick Dutch Housewas constructed in the 1750s ona small pond near the Palace.The house has kitchen on theground floor decorated fromfloor to ceiling with tiles fromDelft.
The Orangerie (1761–1764) was designed by F. Argounov. It was not used asorangerie- the lemons, oranges and pineapples served the guests at Kuskovowere actually grown in greenhouses outside the park. Rather, it was used as alarge banquet hall for guests. In the 1960s, it was turned into an exhibit hallfor the collections of porcelain. The museum in the Orangerie containscollections of fine porcelain assembled by Russian merchants and EmpressMaria Fedorovna before the Russian Revolution.
The Park of Kuskovo was created between 1750 and 1780 as a formal Garden àla française, with large ornamental parterres of flowers, carefully trimmed hedges,and alleys which met at either right or diagonal angles, ornamented with statues,and lined with either rows of trees trimmed into spheres, large vases, orange trees,or myrtle trees trimmed into cones. Eight park alleys converge in a single point,where the circular Hermitage pavilion (1764–77) now stands.
Images and text: InternetTchaikovsky “Serenade for Strings in C Op48” (Waltz) Adriana