One of the most interesting museum in the open air is "Kolomenskoye" Museum-Preserve. This architectural and historical preserve built in the 16th - 17th centuries used to be a village residence of the Russian Tsars (Peter the Great spent his early years here, in Kolomenskoye). The museum is famous with its outstanding example of 16th-century tent-roof architecture, i.e. the Church of the Ascension (1530-1532) (see Chapter "Churches and Monasteries") and the interesting samples of the Russian wooden architecture brought here from different regions of Russia.
The ceramics museum in Kuskovo
18th century Muscovite country residence, built by the Russian General and hero of the Battle of Poltava, Boris Sheremetev, who was awarded the land and the local village in 1715 by Peter the Great. Features a wedding cake-like main Palace, constructed entirely from wood, and formal French gardens that prompted the estate`s nickname the Moscow Versailles.
Russian estate near Sergiyev Posad is considered to be the site of an artists’ colony. In 1843 the estate was acquired by the Russian writer Sergey Aksakov. He wrote his most successful works there and had numerous artists and writers as visitors, including Taras Shevchenko, Ilya Repin, Mikhael Vrubel and others. In 1870 the estate was acquired by the prominent industrialist and patron SAVVA MAMONTOV, who made it a major Russian artistic colony from the 1870s to the 1890s. Nowadays it is a very popular museum for tourists from all over the world.
Rough terrain, plentiful rivers and streams, picturesque ponds are the trademarks of the Tsaritsyno estate. During the times long past there were no ponds however and at the foot of a steep shore flowed together a rich river Gorodenka and Yazvenka running from the East. A little further downstream a deep ravine intersected with the Gorodenka river. From the XI to the beginning of the XIII century this region was populated by the Vyatichi people – one of the tribes descending from the slavonic peoples that came to their new homeland in the VI century. Traces of their settlements remain along the Yazvenka river, while the park contains their burial mounds. Over a long term of years these places were covered with dry forests, which were interrupted by wastelands formed by the people’s attempts to clear these forests to create new more fertile lands. (Until the XVI century the forests were cleared by cutting down and burning down the trees). The Black Dirt wasteland became the nucleus of the future estate. It was first mentioned in the property record books in 1589. At that time it belonged to the lands of the tsar’s village in Kolomenskoye. These lands were sparsely populated. At the beginning of the following XVII century the first legal owners of the surrounding areas appeared. These lands were given to them for their public services. January 26, 1633 the “lands … belonging to the Moscow district village of Kolomenskoye, including the Babinina wasteland and the Black Dirt and the Arehovo wasteland and the Korshavino” were sold as an ancestral to the regional prince Lukian Streshnev by a personal decree of the tsar. Lukian. Streshnev was the father of tsarina Evdokia Streshneva, the wife of tsar Alexei Mihailovich Romanov. Streshnev started court service under the tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov. Later he took part in the crowning ceremony of Alexei Mihailovich Romanov – he held the crown during the ceremony. In 1646 he was granted the title of the boyar in attendance.
"The Russians can feel charms of nature, they can even beautify it. Take for instance Arkhangelskoye country house, only 20 kilometers from Moscow, which can amaze a British lord by its taste and splendor of its gardens. The fortunate and uncommon location of the estate only raises its charm."
Karamsin N. M. “Tour around Moscow”.
The country estate "Arkhangelskoye" is a wonderful monument of Russian culture from the end of the XVIII to the beginning of the XIX century. It is famous for the magnificent beauty of its garden and park ensemble and its splendid collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and pieces of applied art and apart from it the superb collection of rare books.
Arkhangelskoye belonged to the prince Golitsinsky’s family until 1809 but in 1810 it was bought by the richest Russian noble the prince Yusupov, who was a collector and patron of art. It took Yusupov 50 years to build and decorate the ensemble. He invited such well- known architects as Gern, Trombaro, Pettondi, Gonzago, Bove and others. The first third of the XIX century was the period of golden age for Arkhangelskoye.
This wonderful ensemble consisted of the church of Michael Archangel built on the Moscow river bank, the central part – palace with a terraced park, where you could enjoy seeing one of the world’s largest collections of park sculptures, a landscape park, a theatre built in 1817-1818 on project of the Italian architect and painter Gonzago, a small palace "Caprice" and pavilion "Tchainy Domic" ("Small Tea House"). All this has made Arkhangelskoye one of the most charming places near Moscow. In the 19th century a number of distinguished Russian writers, poets and historians visited the estate. Among them were Karamsin, Pushkin, Vyasemsky, Gertsen and Ogaryov.
This late 18th Century park, which lies somewhat incongruously between the Ostankino TV center and the Soviet kitsch of the vast VVTs exhibition grounds, was once part of the estates of the Princes Cherkassky, but came to the Sheremetev family in 1743 through the marriage of Varavara Cherkasskaya to Count Petr Sheremetev.
Their son Nikolai moved the family seat here from Kuskovo in 1790, along with the famous Sheremetev serf theater, for which he built an impressive new stage, one of the highlights of the park, still used to this day for classical music concerts.
Also on display is the grandiose neoclassical palace, made entirely of wood. The glorious interiors house many fine collections, some of which were the property of the two families, and some of which found their way here after the estate was taken into State control in 1918. They include a large collection of European gilt furniture, rare Chinese ceramics, and a vast collection of fans.
In the park there are a number of copies of classical statues, as well as Egyptian and Italian pavilions, and the beautiful Church of the Trinity, which dates from the 1680's and is the only building that remains from the Cherkassky's tenure here.
While Ostankino feels less organic and less cherished than Kuskovo (Nikolai Sheremetev was forced to move to St. Petersburg shortly after the project was completed to take up duties as a senator), there is nonetheless plenty to be seen here. And the sight of this emblem of cultured gentility dwarfed by the monolithic modern buildings on either side is both striking and surreal.