A little trip into Russian history – Kuskovo (part 2)

Ok, we are now in Russia of 18th century. Pyotr  Sheremetev, the richest and ambitious man, decided that he needed a decent place to entertain his noble guests. He knew just the place – why, Kuskovo, of course.

Have a note: not to live in but to just have parties  and receptions. The family never actually lived in Kuskovo and no guests stayed overnight. There is no bedrooms in any of the buildings (well, strictly speaking, there is a “State bedroom” in the Palace, but it was never used as a bedroom, but rather as a formal reception room, to impress the guests with the owner’s taste).

So, Pyotr wanted a place where he could entertain his guests, show off his wealth and good taste and place his vast collections of art. Not that he was short of money – or land, for that matter. In its best time Kuskovo spread out on 230 (!)  hectares of land and was a venue for up to 30 000 (!!!) guests

old kuskovo

I saw this engraving of the Kuskovo estate in its hey day in “Italian House”

The earliest building in Kuskovo is the baroque Church but the Bell Tower is the latest… Interesting…

church

The Church and the Bell Tower

The whole complex took about 20 years to create. It included the Palace itself, many smaller “pavilions” used for fun and art, green houses, menagerie, hunting lodge,  huge park and a lots of ponds and canals. Pyotr was lucky that he had very talented architects among his serfs, so all the planning cost him nothing 🙂 A small fleet of rowing boats could be seen in the pond. Alas, no more…

pond2

Main pond in Kuskovo

They built the first In Moscow French-style park in Kuskovo – Russians were always fond of everything French – with complicated hydraulic engineering including ponds, canals and bridges. Sheremetev put lots of marble sculptures in the park, like this:

DSCF5901

I am afraid his mascara got a bit runny :0

Ok, how do you entertain so many people? There is lots of ways:

– church serices

– folk festivals (poor serfs! they were kept busy)

– boat trips accompanied by a choir singing (ditto)

– fireworks

– parades

– theater and opera performances (all the actors and singers were serfs)

– games and funfair

– promenades in “French” and “English” parks

– balls

–  dinners

All of these were employed by our man and for all these there were special buildings – about them later!

pond

————————————-to be continued —————————————

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