Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye Legacy

Arkhangelskoye Estate, a Versailles near Moscow

The Rublyovo- Arkhangelskoye site that will host the future financial centre is located in proximity to the Arkhangelskoye Estate Museum, which is a cultural heritage site of national importance. Thanks to its manor, parks and art collections, it was often compared to the French Versailles. The Arkhangelskoye Estate Museum is considered the only architectural and park ensemble of eighteenth and nineteenth century neoclassicism left in the Moscow region, with all the main elements of the historic layout and buildings preserved to this day.

The first mention of this place was in 1584, in boundary documents that record the “Upolozy estate of Goretov in Moscow district”, in which there was a wooden church of the Archangel Michael. From this church derives the name of the village and the manor, Arkhangelskoye. There is a preserved stone church, built in the 1660s on the site of its wooden predecessor. In the 1640s, the village was bought by the boyar Fyodor Sheremetev, whose domain consisted of “Arkhangelskoye and Zakharkovo villages.” This may well be the first written mention of the Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye site, which until recently was considered part of the Zakharkovo village farmland.

At various times from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries, Arkhangelskoye was owned by the most distinguished Russian aristocratic families, including the Odoyevskys, Golitsyns and Yusupovs. The first major reconstructive intervention in the estate complex was undertaken by Prince Nikolai Golitsyn, who ordered the regular park to be scrapped, replacing it with a system of cascading fountains and ponds; he also initiated construction of a palace designed by French architect C. Gern. The golden age for the manor arrived at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when it was owned by Prince Nikolai Yusupov. He completed the large palace building — this the prince used as the location for his collection of sixteenth to eighteenth century European paintings, some of which can still be seen within the estate museum. In the years 1817—1818 the Italian architect and painter Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga built a theatre in the western part of the estate, which survives to this day. Two years later a church devoted to the empress Catherine the Great was erected.

© Yusupov family vault, known as the Collonade

Prince Nikolai Yusupov outlined his priorities as follows: “Arkhangelskoye is not a village for revenues, rather it has expenses and is for fun and not for profit…All that is rare should be brought there, and everything there should be better than what the others have”.

Arkhangelskoye was visited by the poet Alexander Pushkin and Prince Peter Vyazemskiy, the Prussian envoy Otto von Bismarck, the philosopher and social activist Alexander Herzen, the artists Alexander Benois, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin and others. The estate was also visited by the members of the royal family including the emperors Alexander I, Nicolas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicolas II.

©  Main manor of Arkhangelskoye Estate, Ovall Hall

In 1919, soon after the revolution, Arkhangelskoye was converted into a museum. Recently the state-rooms of the palace and Gonzaga theatre have been restored and are now open to the public. Visitors are also welcome to walk in the park and see the 18th century art exhibition. In summer, Arkhangelskoye hosts a variety of concerts and music festivals, including a famous Usadba Jazz festival.

© Arkhangelskoye Park, Cupid with Dolphins Fountain

© Arkhangelskoye Park