Neskuchny Country House

Neskuchny Country House

The estate was located on a plot of land with a pronounced landscape. Only a third of the area was somewhat flat, while the rest of the territory was speckled with ravines with steep walls and a steep slope down to the river. The spurs of the ravines cut deeply into the flat surface of the estate.

The authorship of the Elizabethan-style  ensemble belonged to a leading architect of the XVIII century, Prince Dmitry Ukhtomsky.

Ukhtomsky brilliantly handled the complicated surface by combining the mandatory traditional front area of ​​the park with the “romantic” forest part located on a spur of the ravine, the wood providing a perfect backdrop for the front zone. The slopes of the ravine were already  covered with beautiful linden trees.

“The Neskuchny Country House" was a leisure estate of Prince Nikolay Trubetskoy, intended for magnificent receptions and celebrations with fireworks, masquerades and theatrical performances. The complex included the main park at the front by Big  Kaluzhskaya road, and the manor itself, consisting of four separate groups of buildings.  In the centre there was the main house with outbuildings, and behind the park - a Guesthouse with its own yard and services; on the spurs of the ravine park there were several pavilions: "The House of privacy”, "Birdman" a menagerie, gallery and a greenhouse. In the southeastern corner of the estate there was a yard with several service constructions.

River served as the background for the front of the architectural ensemble - water was a fixture in the estates of the baroque epoch. All the buildings, except for the "Greenhouse", "Chicken Houses" and "Gallery on the Island" (now known as hunting lodge), were made of wood, and were rather small. The main building - also wooden -dominated the composition. All the buildings were plastered, painted pink with white details and roofs were dark red. The facades featured repeating details specific to the Baroque decor: fan keystones, rusticated pilasters, shell balustrades etc.

The regular park was built in L-shape. The layout was based on the intersection of the longitudinal and transverse axes forming boskets and the Maze. The main longitudinal lane led from the front gate to the court of honour of the house, resuming behind the house, and passing through the parterre, went further down the slope to the river. Within the boundaries of the regular park it was a straight wide alley, formed of spherical and pyramid-shaped trees, and lined with tapestries. Four rectangular thick thorn boskets were on each side of the alley, inside them - rows of fruit trees. This was a common feature in estates of early 18th century that saw combining of traditional economic interests of the estate with the leisure manor. The regular park was surrounded by walls of clipped tapestries. Lateral trellis-oriented alleys continued into picturesque panels-l'oeil inserted into the walls of the open pavilions. The crossing alleys connected trellis pavilions. The crossing of the Maze alleys was marked with white statues  depicting mythological figures.

The main courtyard was fenced off from the regular park with a semi-circular court of honour. There were a two-storey palace house and four single-storey outhouses facing the four axes of the court. The palace was the main artistic focus of the estate. It had a rectangular plan, cubic shape and lavish Elizabethan baroque-style facades. Behind the palace was the parterre part surrounded by a wall of cropped green bushes, and further down the slope the way led to the rive. There was another living block called Gostiny Dvor located on the curve of the L-shaped park, set upon the spurs of the upper reaches of the ravine, and was a miniature replica of the main courtyard. Behind Gostiny Dvor, on the bank of the ravine, began the “entertainment” part of the estate - a bunch of small buildings “Bird House”, "House of Privacy”, “Gallery” and “Greenhouse” pavilions. Ukhtomsky managed to "create a charming setting for the spoiled Elizabethan noble people to holiday in." The stone-made “Gallery on the Island" was located on the peak of the ravine. This was the initial element of the Hunting Hut, the only pavilion that survived to this day.

Several serpentine paths were going down from the "Gallery" and towards the rive - they, too, survived to our time. In the park area of ​​the estate, at the bottom of the ravine, there was a stream. In the lower reaches of the ravine a cascading pond  was arranged with wooden dam. The southwest corner of Neskuchniy hosted the so-called "back yard", with access to Bolshaya Kaluzhskaya road. It was separated from the regular park by a trellis and spur gully. This is where the staff lived and worked as where the carriage houses, stables, and cellars were located. Mid-18th century was the heyday of the Neskuchniy garden, the time when creating a the ensemble was completed and had a clear construction logic and a single concept uniting the many elements of it, a synthesis of "regularity and grandeur." Ukhtomsky not only created a baroque manor but managed to fit it organically into the  surroundings and the river setting.

Manor opens for the public

In 1776, The Moscow News newspaper announced that the manor was now open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays, starting 6 pm except holidays. There were dinners and drinks on offer as well as musical performances. The garden was beautifully illuminated. The events were overseen by the head of Moscow theatre, Melchior Grotti. The entrance   to the garden was free of charge and the guests would only pay for the food and drinks.

Only a handful buildings of the original manor survived to this day.  Among them are  fragments of the main park planning areas - the main road (excluding the front yard part); the road crossing the main one and leading towards the shore of the ravine (initially - to the "House of Privacy"); the main axis of the labyrinth and, in part, the path of the diagonal bosket; the “Lodge" pavilion; foundations of the pavilions; geo-plastic elements such as the serpentine paths; the pond and original topography.

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