The Grand Palace in Tsaritsino
The true pearl of the architectural complex of the imperial Tsaritsyno estate is the Grand Palace. This building in the styles of pseudogothic and classicism has a rather complicated destiny, and the history of the construction of the palace is closely related to the history of the Tsaritsyno estate.
The founder of the object is Catherine II, who instructed the famous Russian architect Vasily Bazhenov to develop a palace design that would become the architectural dominant of the Tsaritsyno estate. In 1775, Bazhenov proposed a plan for the construction of the original building of three buildings. The architect’s ideas were approved and he dedicated himself to the construction.
After 10 years, Tsaritsyno decided to visit the Empress. Catherine II had a superficial look to reject the work done by Bazhenov. The Tsarina ordered that the palace be ready to be demolished, and the architect was deprived of the position of principal builder of the Tsaritsyn estate.
The construction of the palace was entrusted to a talented colleague from Bazhenov – Matvey Kazakov. Under the revised plan, the building was supposed to be larger and more luxurious, but the new architect retained the general configuration of the Bazhenov palace.
Kazakov, in general, completed the construction only in 1976: work was constantly halted due to lack of funds. Empress Catherine II never saw the Grand Palace: she died suddenly in November 1976. The new head of state, Paul I, was not interested in Tsaritsyno’s property. In addition, the sovereign who hated his mother issued a decree that prohibited any construction in this territory of Moscow. Then Paul I fought with the memory of his great predecessor.
Without care, the Grand Palace began to collapse quickly. The marauders looted interior elements, cut bricks from the walls. At the beginning of the 20th century, the temporary roof collapsed and only the walls of the majestic building remained.
In 2005, restoration work began. For two years, the Grand Palace was revived. The restoration of the facility has been repeatedly criticized for numerous deviations from the plans of Bazhenov and Kazakov. However, due to the incompleteness of the object, it was not possible to completely recreate the original appearance of the building.
The restaurateurs allowed the greatest freedom when working on the roof. In the 18th century, the metal roof of the Grand Palace was painted black. The building acquired bleak features and was popularly called the “great coffin.” During the reconstruction work, it was decided to use green paint for the ceiling.
Kazakov divided the second floor of the palace into 2 rooms of equal size, which were supposed to be used for dances and social events. A wide staircase led to the hallways from the first floor. In the western part of the building is the luxurious Catherine Hall, generously decorated with statues, marble, gold, rock crystal chandeliers. The central element of the decoration of this room is a huge bas-relief “The triumph of Catherine”, performed by artists R. Saifutdinov and V. Ageychenko. The triptych of E. Maximov, dedicated to the coronation of Catherine, also attracts the attention of visitors.
In the Catherine Hall of the Grand Palace you can see a large statue of the Empress. The monument was made by the sculptor A. Opekushin in 1889.
In Soviet times, they wanted to remake the statue in a monument to Lenin, but art historians miraculously managed to defend it. During the war years, the marble sculpture was evacuated to Yerevan, where it was located until 2003, when the Armenian Ministry of Culture agreed to return the monument to Russia.
Currently, the Grand Palace hosts exhibitions of the Tsaritsyno Museum-Estate. It hosts press conferences, meetings with interesting people, temporary exhibitions.
In the Grand Palace you can use the services of a professional photographer: guests can take photographs with historical costumes in a context of unique interiors.
Grand Palace Exhibitions
- “Tsaritsyn Antiques” and “Silver Pantry”
The Grand Palace has four permanent exhibits. The first two: “Tsaritsyn Antiques” and “Silver Pantry” are located in the basement.
The exhibition “Tsaritsyn Antiques” is a collection of ancient coins, jewels, paintings, icons, chandeliers.
The silver pantry is divided into two rooms: in the first one you can see archaeological antiques found during the excavations in the Tsaritsyno State Museum. These are gold and silver coins, metal and ceramic plates, household items, jewelry for ladies and gentlemen. The pride of this part of the exhibition is the collection of gold items from the mound of the ancient Vyatichi from the 11th to the 13th century.
The second Silver Pantry room is completely dedicated to jewelry. Visitors will see unique articles made by the famous teacher Faberge, his students and followers. Of great interest are the “Swan” and “Cancer” vases of the Nemirov-Kolodin jeweler. The teacher used gold, silver, platinum, precious stones in its manufacture.
The 1899 vessel, in which the champagne cooled, will also be of interest to the guests. A large vessel made of rock crystal and silver, inlaid with diamonds.
- “Memories of the great ruin”
On the ground floor there is a model of the Grand Palace, which was before restoration work began in 2005. Tourists will see from which ruins they managed to build the architectural monument, so that it receives a new life.
In addition, in this part of the exhibition you can see part of the original bricks placed during the reign of Catherine II, as well as bricks with hallmarks of the brick factories of the eighteenth century. Photographs of the palace before and after the restoration are shown on liquid crystal displays.
- “Catherine II”
The exhibition on the first floor is completely dedicated to Empress Catherine II, whose rule is considered the golden age of Russia. Here are the personal belongings of the queen and her entourage, collections of paintings, documents, exhibits of the queen’s childhood, the palace coup and her apogee as sovereign.
- “The art of great style”
The second floor is dedicated to a permanent exhibition dedicated to Soviet jewelry and decorative art. Collections include gold and silver jewelry, dishes, Soviet awards, commemorative coins, paintings, photographs and much more.
In this part of the museum, visitors will get acquainted with the life of the late USSR (from the years 61 to 91), learn that they consider the country’s elite and its common citizens to be luxury goods.