The Kuskovo Estate, nicknamed the Moscow Versailles due to its formal French gardens, is a perfect example of an 18th century Muscovite country residence. The history of the estate dates back to 1715, when Tsar Peter the Great awarded the village of Kuskovo to Boris Sheremetev, a Russian general who excelled at the battle of Poltava and who decided to build a summer residence there.
The centerpiece of the estate, the wedding cake-like main Palace, was constructed entirely of wood and although damaged by the French during the Napoleonic Wars of 1812, has since been completely restored to its former glory. It’s painted salmon-pink and white exterior was completed between 1769 and 1777 by the serf architects Argunov and Mironov and supervised by the professional architect Karl Blank.
The interiors include a silk-wallpapered card and billiard room, a mirrored dining hall, a tapestry room hung with original Flemish tapestries, a grandiose state bedchamber featuring an allegoric fresco “Innocence Choosing Between Wisdom and Love”, and a cozy study made entirely of solid oak paneling. But the highlight of the palace is undoubtedly the magnificent ballroom, sumptuously decorated with gold ornamentation, crystal chandeliers and relief panels depicting the exploits of the ancient Roman hero Mucius Scaevola, who thrust his hand into fire to prove his indifference to pain.
Visitors can see everything from the Egyptian dinner service of Tsar Alexander I to vases commemorating the construction of the Moscow metro system. In the park you will also find Blank’s Baroque Hermitage, the 1749 brick Dutch Cottage, the elaborately gabled Swiss Cottage and a black obelisk built to commemorate a visit by Empress Catherine the Great.
Nearby visitors will find the delightful Italian Cottage, a miniature palace which houses a period grandfather clock that still chimes the hour. Beyond the estate’s Aviary and open air Green Theater stands the Orangery, which houses a magnificent Ceramics Museum. The museum features an impressive collection of ceramics and glassware, including more than 33,000 pieces of Italian,Venetian, English glassware and Russian porcelain from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
During the summer the estate’s main palace hosts occasional classical music concerts and festivities, organized by the US and French Embassies, to celebrate Independence Day on June 4th and Bastille Day on July 14th. The celebrations usually involve music, fashion shows, period costumes, games and air displays.
Address: 2 Yunosti Street
Open: 10.00 – 18.00
Closed: on Mondays, Tuesdays
Contact us for more details.