Tsaritsyno is the wildest historic park in Moscow, located in the south of the city. On the territory of 405 hectares of this palace and garden complex, built for Empress Ekaterina II, you can spend the whole day. You can explore its recently reconstructed paths and get lost in the historical park or go boating on one of the three Tsaritsyno ponds. History lovers can travel back to the 18th century, at the museum in the Grand Palace, or visit the dreamy greenhouse with plenty of exotic and sun-loving plants. You can also enjoy a musical concert in the Opera House, or just listen to Tchaikovsky near the light-dynamic fountain. However, if you don’t have much time, you can take a one-hour trip, and still get inspired by Moscow's most romantic park.
From Orekhovo metro station, enter Tsaritsyno through the gate no. 8 and go along the linden alley called “The Morning Path”. Many trees in the park are 150-200 years old, some even older, and they all have their 'passports' with all the data about their age and health, place in the park and distinguishing marks. If you come in July, you can also enjoy the linden blossom fragrance.
You can enjoy some historical landmarks on the sides of the alley during your walk. The white statue visible among the trees on the right marks the burial mounds of Vyatichi, a native tribe of the Early East Slavs. Around the statue, erected in the 19th century as a depiction of our mortal existence, you can see several ancient tombs - small grassy hills.
On the left, a small yellow pavilion “Nerastankino” (meaning “We will never part”) invites you to stop and take a breath. Such pavilions were built in the early 19th century at the very picturesque spots so that people could sit in armchairs, talk, and contemplate the beautiful view of the pond.
Whenever you exit the linden alley and come back during you walk, it will bring you to the Ruins, a monument in the form of a ruined fortress erected in 1804, to commemorate the Russian victory in the Russian-Turkish War. If you climb to the top of the fort, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the surroundings.
From the ruins, you should continue right, to the next pavilion. Many squirrels are living in this part of the park, so keep an eye for them. If they spot you, they will run to meet you, expecting a treat. So, to make this meeting pleasant, bring some nuts with you. You can sit on a bench and feed the squirrels, which would probably run to hide your treat in the park.
Just on the opposite side of the pavilion “Milovida” (meaning “Pleasant view”), in the pond, you’ll find a perfectly round artificial island. It was built in 1800 and decorated with a vaulted gallery and the sculptures of goddesses and sphynxes. The pavilion signals you that you are close to the Grapes Gate, through which you enter into the central part of Tsaritsyno, the complex of royal palaces.
The complex of the royal palaces in Tsaritsyno includes the huge Grand Palace, the Small Palace with a monogram of Ekaterina II on the pediment, the Bread House (the kitchen) and a few more. The first architectural style that came from Europe to Russia, when Emperor Peter I “cut a window to Europe”, was the Baroque, skipping the Gothic entirely. The complex of the royal palaces was built as an imitation of the Gothic, to remind empress Ekaterina II about Germany, where she was born.
If time allows, you can find the emblem with bread and salt on the kitchen wall. Behind the gallery that connects the kitchen with the Grand Palace, there is the monument to Vasily Bazhenov and Matvey Kazakov, the famous Russian architects who created this complex. You can also visit the 18th-century orthodox church “Life-giving Spring” just across from the Grand Palace. If time doesn’t allow, go under the Figured Bridge to the last point - the light-dynamic fountain.
The light-dynamic fountain is a modern landmark of Tsaritsyno located on the small island in the pond. It consists of 12 circles, 915 streams, and more than 3000 colorful underwater lamps. On a hot day, you can enjoy the coolness of the fountain and watch it dance to the music of Tchaikovsky and Paul Mauriat. And, in the evening, a charming light show of the continually changing colors will strike you.
And right there at the fountain, your one-hour trip to Tsaritsyno is completed. A five-minute walk from the fountain and you will leave the most romantic Moscow park through the gate near Tsaritsyno metro station. There are many legends about the power of this place, and hopefully, you will get inspired by its beauty. Its magic will attract you again and again because Tsaritsyno wants to open all its amazing treasures and tell you all of its breathtaking stories.
Cover picture © credits to iStock/wastesoul
Cover photo © iStock/koromelena
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