Travel Snapshots: Kuskovo, Moscow's only French park

Surrounded by quiet residential neighborhoods in the east of Moscow lies the Kuskovo Park and Estate, this is the only French park that remains in Moscow.
Surrounded by quiet residential neighborhoods in the east of Moscow lies the Kuskovo Park and Estate. Its history dates back to 1750, during the reign of Empress Elizabeth (Peter the Great’s daughter). This is the only French park that remains in Moscow. It features a complex hydraulic system consisting of ponds, canals, and bridges.
The Open-Air Theater. Theaters like this became fashionable in Russia in  the 18th century. The ruling elite and commoners alike could watch shows here without disturbing each other.
The eastern part of Kuskovo Park features a grotto. These structures were first built in Italian parks at the end of the 16th century. Soon after, they became popular in many other European countries, including Russia. Grottos were designed as a place to relax on a hot day.
The Italian House was constructed between 1754 and 1755. Initially, it was intended for small royal receptions. This is where European rulers of the time were entertained. The Italian House later became a museum of rarities.
After the Dutch House, the estate’s earliest construction was the church, while the bell tower was the latest structure to be built.
The Kuskovo Park and Estate have always been open to visitors. Iron-wrought benches situated under the shade of centuries-old oak trees line the park’s alleys. The park also has a café where you can stop for a bite to eat.
The park’s own Hermitage is located in its southwestern part. Just like other pavilions in the park, the Hermitage was used to entertain guests in the 18th century. This particular pavilion was intended for small gatherings, while the second floor offered the chance to meet in private, away from the prying eyes and ears of servants.
The Palace was the principal building of Count Pyotr Sheremetyev’s estate.  It was created to receive European emperors and kings in the summer. Balls and many other functions were held here.
The estate is dotted with numerous marble statues that were sculpted during Count Pyotr Sheremetyev’s times and earlier. They are all originals.

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