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Palaces and estates: how the architectural heritage of tsarist Russia is dying
Palaces and estates: how the architectural heritage of tsarist Russia is dying

Abandoned houses throughout Russia are countless. And the reasons why they turned out to be unnecessary are very different. But they leave a depressing impression after themselves in any case.

But much deeper feelings are experienced at the moment when, in an abandoned state, one has to observe the once majestic estates and residences of Russian noble families, where a century or two ago women in luxurious dresses, men in tailcoats and ceremonial uniforms, were invited to a waltz tour during a ball. And today all the former luxury has remained in oblivion, like that era.

1. Estate of Znamenka (Peterhof)

A manor where time has stood still

It would seem that this is where, where, but in Peterhof, whose majestic palace complexes are printed on postcards and souvenirs, any architectural object of the era of pre-revolutionary Russia, belonging to the noble residences, will definitely not be deprived of attention. However, the reality is much more stubborn: it is there that the now useless palace of the Znamenka estate is located.

Modern view of the main building of the complex

Today, not only the main architectural complex is slowly turning into ruins, but also the Konyushenny yard, a kitchen building, a gardener's house, and old greenhouses. And the park, made in the French style, has already lost most of its former luxury, although it is still kept neat.

Everything that remains of the Konyushenny yard in Znamenka

It is customary to begin the history of the Peterhof estate in 1755, when the estate and the surrounding area were bought by Alexei Razumovsky. Initially, the estate had only two floors, and the third was built later under the next owner.

Then Znamenka was in the possession of the imperial family: Tsar Nicholas I presented it to his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and she later gave it to her son Nicholas. It is believed that the reason for such a choice of a gift was the Stables yard, and the prince doted on horses. It was during the time of Nicholas I that it was rebuilt in the Baroque style by the efforts of the architect Andrei Stakenschneider, and it took on the look that we know today.

This is how the estate looked in pre-revolutionary times

After the revolution, the estate was nationalized, and its premises were used for various institutions. The Germans also visited Znamenka during the Great Patriotic War: during the occupation of Peterhof by the Wehrmacht troops, the latter were based precisely on the territory of the complex. During the fighting, the building was damaged, but it was restored only in the 1970s, and even then not completely.

The estate is not in the worst condition yet, but it looks like it won't be for long

After the renovation, the building was given as a boarding house, and in the 1990s the church and the chapel located on the territory of Znamenka were restored. Today the former palace of the grand dukes is part of the nature reserve "South Coast of the Neva Bay" and has the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which, however, does not prevent it from slowly fading away.

2. Estate of the Demidovs (Leningrad region, settlement Taitsy)

The once beautiful manor looks like this today

The ancestral nest of the Demidovs dates back to 1774, and two years earlier, State Councilor Alexander Demidov ordered from the architect Ivan Starov, who was building the Tavrichesky Palace, the creation of a manor on the territory of a plot acquired for his family in the village of Taitsy.

View of the Demidovs' estate during the Soviet period

The building was built in accordance with all the canons of the classicist architectural style. The striking elements of the facade of the building, erected on a high base, are a belvedere with a turret, which crowns the first, as well as two semicircular balconies. Their architect Stavrov specially designed for the seriously ill daughter of Alexander Demidov, so that she could walk without getting too tired.

The surviving images of the buildings of the manor complex

In 1827, the estate passed into the possession of Pyotr Grigorievich Demidov, who expanded the family land fund by purchasing the surrounding territories. It was at this time that a carpentry and wheel factories, a mill, four stables, three cattle yards, three stone greenhouses and a number of other structures also appeared next to the estate.

The foundation of a pavilion that has not survived on the territory of the park at the estate

However, soon after that, already from the second half of the century before last, the once rich family of Demidovs was in debt, and the estate was transferred to the state to pay them off. Since then, for more than a century, a dispensary for patients with tuberculosis, as well as the Tatsky sanatorium, have been located on the territory of the estate. During the Great Patriotic War, the building was used by the Germans as a hospital, and after de-occupation it returned to its previous purpose.

The interior of the estate, modern look

The last medical facility was closed on the territory of the former estate of the Demidovs in 1989, and since then it has been in disrepair for a long time, despite several tenants.

All these ups and downs tragically affected the splendor of the once one of the most beautiful estates in pre-revolutionary Russia. Most of the above buildings have not survived to this day; in addition to the main building, the Gothic gate and the bridge on the territory of the manor park have remained.

The condition of the original Gothic gate is depressing

Several years ago, the government of the Leningrad Region began a large-scale project for the restoration of the complex, according to which it is planned not only to restore the preserved objects, first of all - the main building of the estate. Also, the list of relevant activities includes the development of the park ensemble, as well as the arrangement of an active recreation area and even a camping.

3. Snazin's estate (Ivanovskoye village, Tver region)

Another noble estate that is abandoned today

The history of this estate is so unusual that it began long before it was even built. But it was like this: in 1797, Emperor Paul I granted Major General Ivan Snazin a thousand peasant souls in his patrimony. The new owner brought them to the estate in the village of Ivanovskoye. A few years later, at the beginning of the new century, the Major General built a two-story wooden house on his lands - however, he did not survive to this day, having died in a fire in 2007.

This is how Snazin's estate looks like today

After some time, the heir of Ivan Snazin, son Pavel, took up active development of the territory: under him, brick houses, three outbuildings, a stable, four greenhouses, and a three-story house grew up here. It was the latter that, in 1907-1914, was rebuilt into a palace, and unexpectedly using the medieval Gothic architectural style.

The entire palace and park complex is slowly crumbling

After the October Revolution of 1917, the then owner of the estate, Vladimir Gasler, left the village of Ivanovskoye light, taking nothing with him. From 1921 to 1925, already under the Bolsheviks, the estate was used to house an orphanage, later there was a pig farm there. During the Great Patriotic War, a hospital was located in the former noble estate, and since 1945 a sanatorium has been opened.

Everything inside the estate is really bad

In 1994, the institution was closed, and since then the estate of Snazin, which is also called by the name of its last pre-revolutionary owner, has been in an abandoned state.

Nothing remained of the four luxurious orchards either. The backyard area is overgrown so much that in summer you cannot see the building at all through the dense walls of trees. Moreover, not even all local residents know about the existence of the once luxurious manor. Today the fate of the former residence of the Snazins is unknown.

4. Estate of the Trubnikovs (Mikhnevo, Tver region)

A place that was once the center of pre-revolutionary life

The ancestral nest of the Trubnikov family appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, and from the very beginning of its existence life was in full swing there: a member of the Tver provincial zemstvo assembly Arseny Nikanorovich kept the estate in exemplary order, taught local peasants to read and write, arithmetic and the law of God.

In addition, a school was located in the right wing of the main house of the estate, and students who showed talents and aptitude for science received a ticket to life at the expense of the same Trubnikovs who paid for further studies.

More than a hundred years ago, the building looked very beautiful and soundly

Often on the territory of the manor park, folk festivals were held on holidays, where all the locals from the surrounding lands gathered. Everything changed in 1918, when the estate was nationalized, and since then the purpose of the buildings has changed several times. So, at first, a school of accountants was opened here, and later - four years later - in the regional fruit and vegetable school. Tver University brought its students here for summer field practice.

Today, the once seething manor looks like this

And the last official owner in 1970-1990 was the Kalinin Carriage Works, which placed a rest house there for its employees. Irreparable damage to the main building of the complex was caused by a fire that happened in 1996. And since then, the estate, from which by and large only walls have remained, has been abandoned.

Today, only rails remain of the magnificent building

In recent years, local enthusiasts have been clearing the territory so that it does not overgrow at all, and somehow ennoble the appearance of the once beautiful complex. However, these efforts are not enough to save the 200-year-old architectural monument from total destruction.

5. Voeikov's estate (Kamenka, Penza region)

Voeikov's estate in 1938

The history of this beautiful manor, in fact, ended before it really began. And it was like this: a large pre-revolutionary landowner Vladimir Nikolaevich Voeikov was not only the owner of almost 14 thousand acres of land in the Penza province, but also the godfather of Tsarevich Alexei. It was for him that the nobleman decided to build a summer residence.

Alekseevsky Palace during the construction period, 1910s

The place for the construction of the future estate was not chosen by chance: everyone knew about the poor health of the heir to the Romanov dynasty. And not far from the construction site there was a source of mineral water. Therefore, the young man could not only take a break from the summer heat in this area, but also replenish his strength. They decided to build the palace in a very original style - an Italian villa with a park with rare trees and fountains.

The palace was in a terrible state

But the estate was never completed. In 1917, after the victory of the October Revolution, it was nationalized, and it ended up in the introduction of the agricultural commune "Mayak".

They set up a hospital on its territory, and years later a rest house for railway workers was located on the territory. In recent years, the estate has become of no use to anyone, slowly crumbling and attracting the attention of only tourists and lovers of antiquity.

6. Estate Znamenskoye-Raek (Maryinskoye rural settlement, Tver region)

The majestic palace and park complex of catherine's era

The magnificent estate, the construction of which took more than four decades - from 1743 to 1787 - was built for General-in-Chief Fyodor Glebov. The palace complex with two pairs of wings connected by a gallery-colonnade and a huge park with a cascade of ponds was built by the architect Nikolaea Lvov, known as the author of the Nevsky Gate in the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Transfiguration Cathedral in Vyborg and a number of other buildings in Moscow.

Today, the luxurious palace is in a depressing state

Such a luxurious complex and housewarming received a corresponding one: celebrations on the occasion of the completion of construction lasted for three whole weeks and included balls, feasts, fireworks and even boating. Some sources claim that Empress Catherine the Great once visited the estate. But what is reliably known is that her portrait hung in a place of honor for many years.

There is also nothing left of the magnificent interiors

During the years of nationalization after 1917, the luxurious estate unexpectedly became a place for the placement of a children's colony of the Makarenko type, after which a tourist base of one of the Tver enterprises turned out to be there. However, many years ago the territory of the estate was abandoned and since then has been slowly deteriorating.

Today the complex is undergoing a large-scale reconstruction

The landscape park and the original pavilions have already been irretrievably lost, the original layout is practically not like.However, the main architectural complex still has the opportunity to preserve: for example, since 2018, the Znamenskoye-Rajok estate was closed for large-scale restoration, which is designed to preserve the object of cultural heritage of the Russian Federation, and therefore the visit was limited.

7. Estate of the Vorontsov-Dashkovs (Andreevskoe village, Vladimir region)

The Vorontsovs' estate during the Soviet period

The history of this estate is interesting from the very beginning. So, the place of its future location - the village of Andreevskoye - was received by Mikhail Vorontsov from the state for participating in the 1741 Palace coup. True, the construction of the palace and park complex itself began after his death, when the estate was inherited by his brother Roman Vorontsov.

Interesting fact:Roman Vorontsov remained in history not only as one of the richest people in the Russian Empire, but also for his love of bribes and extortions, which is why he received the nickname “Roman - Big Pocket”.

Today the building is slowly falling into decay

This luxurious manor complex was built by the personal architect of the family, Nikolai Petrovich von Burk. The central building is a stone palace, united by its other elongated building, forming a ceremonial courtyard. The estate was not only quite extensive, but also had its own infrastructure, which made it look like a small town. So, there was a central square, streets, a servants' settlement and a number of stone buildings for various purposes.

Time has not been kind to the interiors of the estate

In 1917, the estate was nationalized, a variety of institutions were located in the manor buildings, mainly in the medical field, for example, a tuberculosis dispensary. But in the unique church of St. Andrew the First-Called, also located on the territory, at first a club was opened, and then a garage was placed altogether. After the war, during which the buildings were given over to hospitals, they were returned to the appointment of medical facilities.

The restored Church of St. Andrew the First-Called on the territory of the estate complex

The last owner of the Vorontsov-Dashkov estate from the 1980s to 2012 was the children's pulmonary sanatorium "Boldino", and after its closure, the complex was abandoned. Back in Soviet times, the original layout was largely violated and irretrievably lost due to numerous reconstructions, and now it is slowly declining at all.

The authorities are trying to save the cultural heritage site, but for which year they have been lacking funding to save the once luxurious manor.

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