Rising like a phoenix: Tsaritsyno, Moscow's restored beauty

For more than two centuries Moscow's Tsaritsyno was a cozy albeit shabby estate rising above the nearby cottage houses. Since a major reconstruction in 2005-2007 it has begun to shine once more with its original splendor. Take a 3D-tour of one of the gems of the Russian capital!

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The Tsaritsyno Estate is part and parcel of every Moscow guidebook. And not for nothing, since such an astonishing architectural ensemble should not be missed. The splendid pseudo-gothic palaces surrounded by a gorgeous landscape park with elegant canals, bridges, grottos and pavilions recall Versailles and the like, and are of truly regal proportions.

The irony is that the Tsars never actually lived here. Tsaritsyno was a project of Catherine the Great, who wanted a residence near Moscow. The finest architects of the time, Vassily Bazhenov and Matvey Kazakov, worked on the new ensemble for more than 20 years. One can just imagine what beauty would have risen above the nearby picturesque hills if it was not the sudden death of the mighty empress in 1796. Her successors Pavel I and Alexander I had little interest in the place. Instead of a supreme royal palace, Tsaritsyno had to settle for being just a picturesque ruin around the summer cottage houses beloved by Moscow intellectuals. The landscapes in Bunin's Dark Alleys and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard are believed to have their prototypes in Tsaritsyno.

Following the restoration in 2005-2007, the palace and park began to sparkle with truly royal splendor. RBTH invites you to take a virtual tour of the renovated estate. This luxury has never been revealed — until now. On display are the Ekaterininsky and Tavrichesky halls of the Grand Palace and the atrium of the Bread House, containing the kitchen and utility outbuilding, which have almost preserved their original state.

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