The Kuskovo complex which was once called The Pearl of Europe was the summer residence of the Sheremetev family, and they used it as a place for entertainments and fun. Through the years of construction in the Kuskovo, many architects such as Kologrivov, Fiodor Argunov, Karl Blank worked on the project.
The Kuskovo had contained only a wooden church, a house, and a few lakes in the 17th century. The area gave to General Boris Sheremetev, one of the field marshals of the Peter the Great's army during the war with the Swedish Empire. Though, it was his son, Petr Sheremetev who brought glory to the place.
Petr Sheremetev who was one of the richest counts in Russia at the time planned to construct a palace equal to the tsars' palaces at the east side of Moscow. However, because the distance between the Kuskovo and Moscow center was less than a day, they had decided to build a palace for recreation for the guest and operating festivals instead of overnight-staying guests. He did that task perfectly well since the palace could host more than 25000 guests at once. He constructed the Kuskovo complex on a 300 hectares area. The fame of this place's entertainment with its theaters and music festivals was quite loud that made Catherine the Great visit it herself, in 1775. At the end of the 18th century, however, the Kuskovo began to ruin, particularly after the invasion of Russia by the French army most of the palace damaged severely. After that, the Feudalism system failed, and most of the fields around the palace loaned to the common people. At the end after the October Revolution in 1917, the Palace complex nationalized and turned into a museum.
The vast Kuskovo Park which intended to host for more than 25000 guests at once had the formal French garden and built through1750 till 1780. The park decorated with a variety of flowers, marble statues, myrtle trees, and orange trees. Although, around 1770, there was an English garden made built within the park, but other than the Hermitage pavilion which was the place count lived most of the time, the rest is no longer exist. Inside this park, there are several buildings including the Hermitage, the Dutch House, The Italian House, and the Grotto.
The Kuskovo Palace with its neoclassical construction and its enormous entrance caught everyone's eyes at first sight. The glory in the architecture of this building which intended to be in harmony with the church and other surrounding is easily transmissible. The Palace which its first aim was to impress the guests and made a situation for the residents to have fun and entertainment had twelve great halls and a few smaller rooms. The great bedroom which never used as a bedroom but a way to fascinate the guests and show off the excellent design of the interior of the palace. The Billiard room which had a British made billiard table from the 18th century inside it. The tapestry room, the reception room, the dining room, and the main hall are the other rooms of the palace.
The Dutch House built on the face of a big pond near the palace, in 1750. The building had its kitchen with a magnificent Dutch tiling and decoration; however, the meal cooked in a kitchen outside of the house in the forest, and only served in the house's dining room by the servants. The Dutch House named after its exterior of the building which is the Dutch famous brick style and color.
The Orangery used as reception hall since the citrus grew outside of the palace and served at the main palace. The building constructed between 1761-64 by the young architect Fyodor Argunov. After the October Revolution, the Orangery turned into the Ceramics Museum.
Between 1731 and 1739, the new church building constructed over the old wooden one with Petrine Baroque architecture style, and marble statues for interior design. The neoclassical bell tower added to the church later, in 1792.
The Grotto designed by Argunov and built between 1755 and 1761, the Grotto designed to represent the King of the Seas constructed on a large pond near the palace with a dome on top of it. The exterior and interior of the structure designed by Roman goddesses such as Venus, Fleur, and Jupiter. The Grotto is the only place in the palace complex that remained untouched and kept its original designing.
The Ceramics Museum in the Kuskovo Palace contains more than seven collections of ceramics artworks such as 18th and 19th centuries of German porcelain, the English porcelain, artworks from the 18th century of France, Danish collection o 18th and 19th centuries, and Russian artworks especially from Soviet-era which caught many tourists and visitors' attention. Also, there's a portrait room in the main palace which includes portraits of each Sheremetev house member in the history.
The vast Kuskovo park which is a great place for picnicking and gandering around is very popular among Muscovites, and they spent many of their free time in there. The park equipped with a playground, cafe, and restaurant, and also a place for people to rent a boat to sail around the huge lake of Kuskovo park.
In general, the Kuskovo palace might not be in the top of the list in travel agencies and Russia tours, but, it's totally worth the time and effort to attend and observe its history, and also, you can get to know the Sheremetev family which once was one of the richest family in Russia.
If you think that you would enjoy the Kuskovo Palace, make sure to visit our blog at the Star Travel Group to find out the other outside-city attractions of Moscow that you can visit in your travel to Russia.