Princess Irina Yusupova, daughter of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, with her husband, Prince Felix Yusupov
After being closed for nearly 30 years, the palace-estate complex of the Yusupov family at Arkhangelskoye (situated about 20 km west of Moscow) has once again opened its doors to visitors.
Arkhangelskoye is a perfect example of an historical monument reflecting several eras of Imperial Russia. Rich in history, the estate has retained the main features of the old manor building, and various other buildings scattered throughout the vast park. The characteristic features of several artistic styles are united to reveal its classic foundation.
In the early 1980s, a decision was made to carry out a complex repair and restoration work around the manor complex, and therefore, in November 1985 the palace was closed to visitors, and the museum began work in preparation for the upcoming restoration. The work lasted only two years. The staff was reduced to 18, the exhibits moved to temporary storage. The restoration costs were disproportionately higher than the funding received from government coffers. Therefore, the museum began to work on the restoration of the vast park surrounding the palace. Today, it is considered one of the finest parks not only Moscow but also Russia.
A qualitatively new stage in the history of the museum began in January 1997 when, in accordance with a decree of the Russian Federation, "On measures for the preservation and further use of the historical and cultural monuments at Arkhangelskoye in the Moscow region," the Arkhangelskoye Museum-Estate was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Culture, and received the new status and the official title of "Arkhangelskoye State Museum-Estate".
Views of the cermonial halls restored in 2007
After the restoration of several palace interiors in the spring of 2007 - the museum was able to open for the first trial show tour during the summer season. Visitors got their first look at three ceremonial halls - Entrance Hall, Antechamber and the Oval Room.
Since then there has been ongoing restoration of the state rooms located on the first floor of the palace, including: the State Dining Room, Tiepolo Hall, North Hall, Antique Hall, South Hall, front bedroom, and the Imperial Hall.
On May 31st, 2013, after years of restoration the Arkhangelskoye State Museum-Estate unveiled the next room - the Main Dining Room. The multi-style decor which includes Egyptian frescoes and chandeliers, as well as a collection of rare Japanese and Chinese vases is both spectacular and elegant.
The video (in Russian) shows visitors to Arkhangelskoye getting their first peek at the newly restored dining room
While the palace is now officially open, the parmount task of the museum will now be the preparation and opening of more rooms, with several planned for this summer. Now comes the hard work: the restoration of paintings, frames, objets d'art and furniture which will fill the rooms of the palace-museum. Much of this work will be carried out by experts selected by an advisory board. Their restoration will be based on old photographs which depict the interiors as they looked before the Revolution.
On a more personal note, I have been travelling to Moscow since 1986, a year after Arkhangelskoye closed its doors. I have visited the estate on several occasions over the years only to find it closed and falling into a sad state of disrepair. I look forward to my next visit to Moscow in which Arkhangelskoye will be on my list of places to visit. I look forward to seeing yet another fine example of the Yusupov legacy.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 June, 2013
The Moscow Region Arbitration Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Oblstroiuniversal against the Cadastral Chamber of the Moscow Region, a division of the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography.
The company leases 20 hectares of forestland in the park attached to Arkhangelskoye Museum and wanted to deprive the land of its conservation status, which prohibits any construction on it.
The site dates to the 18th century and surrounds the well-known Gonzago Theater.
The park, which has a total area of 46 hectares, was leased to three private companies for "health and fitness purposes" in 2004. In 2008, the agreements were rewritten for "recreational purposes" with the right to build. Tenants planned construction, in spite of restrictions stemming from the site's historical status in cadastral records.
"To overcome that obstacle the tenants filed suit," said Yevgeny Sosedov, deputy head of the Moscow region branch of the All-Russia Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments.
"Removal of restrictions from the state cadastre … would really free their hands," added Alexei Konevsky, head of land law, real estate and construction practice at the Pepeliaev Group law firm.
In addition to Oblstroiuniversal, the other two tenants at Arkhangelskoye had filed similar suits. On March 1, the Moscow Region Arbitration Court ruled in favor of Erlik Group, which rents 20 hectares. But on March 11, the same court dismissed the suit brought by the Park Arkhangelskoye company, which rents the 6 hectares of forestland around Gonzago Theater. Park Arkhangelskoye has not appealed that decision.
Construction in protected historical and cultural areas is a frequent subject of dispute in Russian arbitration courts, Konevsky said.
"However, tenants rarely win in such disputes, only if there is something wrong with the documents establishing the land's conservation status," he said.
The owners as well as the tenants of Arkhangelskoye are fighting for the land. The Defense Ministry, which previously owned 20.67 hectares of land since 2005, sold it at auction to Gradostroi, owned by businessman Viktor Kiselyov, for 754.5 million rubles ($25 million).
A day later, Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev asked Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to halt the sale, since a 1996 government decree transferred Arkhangelskoye and the territory surrounding it to the museum in perpetuity.
In March, the Moscow Region Arbitration Court found the auction of the land in the protected area illegal. The Defense Ministry has filed an appeal.
© The Moscow Times. 15 May, 2012
A modern building is planned to be erected at the territory of the Arkhangelskoye memorial estate in Moscow.
Builders have dug a huge ditch just several hundred meters away from the Arkhangelskoye Palace, and drove heavy construction equipment and delivered building materials to the protected zone.
This has been reported by the editor-in-chief of Our Heritage magazine Vladimir Enisherlov. According to him, "This territory represents the neighbourhood of two establishments: the memorial estate itself and a military sanatorium. The military sanatorium appeared there after the revolution, when Lev Trotsky seized Arkhangelskoye. Later, in the 1960s, a sports base hotel of the CSKA football team was built in less than one kilometer away from the palace. This base was demolished at the end of the last year. So, we all thought that now the Ministry of Defense would restore that part of Yusupov’s Park, where the base had been constructed. But just three days ago new construction was started there. They say that the House of Receptions of the Ministry of Defense will be built there”, reports Radio Kultura.
© Oreanda.Ru. 25 April, 2012
Prince Felix Yusupov poses for famed Russian artist, Valentin Serov (1865-1911). He is holding his French bulldog, Gugusse, which he bought in Paris in 1900. Felix reminisces lovingly about his "devoted and inseperable" canine companion in his memoirs, Lost Splendour. Gugusse lived to the ripe old age of 18!
Serov is considered by many as one of the premier portrait artists of his time. He painted numerous portraits of members of the Russian Imperial family, the Russian nobility, as well as depictions of the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896.
Serov's portrait of Prince Felix Yusupov was painted in 1903. Today, this portrait can be seen at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 06 April, 2012
A former royal residence turned into the home of one of Tsarist Russia’s wealthiest families, Yusupov Chambers is offering visitors a fascinating journey through the centuries.
Located in Bolshoi Kharitonyevsky lane, the area was once woodland during the times of Ivan the Terrible. The Tsar liked to hunt there, so he ordered a palace to be built.
The legend goes that it was designed by Barma and Postnik, the renowned duo who went on to create St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. The Tsar used the palace to relax after his hunting sprees, feasting lavishly, before slipping back to the Kremlin via a secret underground tunnel.
After Ivan’s death, the building stood abandoned until the reign of Peter the Great, when its ownership switched hands several times. The chambers were successively presented to a string of courtiers who rose to power and then fell out of favor.
In 1727, the palace was granted to Prince Grigory Yusupov. The wealthy and influential House of Yusupov owned the chambers for the next 200 years, rebuilding and enlarging the estate and gathering a vast collection of art.
At the start of the 19th century parts of the huge house were rented out. One of the tenants was the father of Aleksandr Pushkin – the future poet loved to roam the palace’s gardens, which inspired some of his works.
After the revolution, the Yusupovs fled to Europe and the estate ended up housing an agricultural academy. Now restored to its former splendor, it is open to visitors. Much of the house is decorated in the traditional Russian style.
On the ground floor, the so-called Hunting Room is dominated by paintings of hunting scenes featuring Ivan the Terrible, while at the main staircase guests are greeted by lions holding the family’s coat-of-arms.
The first floor has a striking Chinese Room, decorated in the Oriental style, very fashionable in the 19th century. Next to it is the Throne Room used for receptions and adorned with portraits of several Russian Tsars. With plenty more to see, the palace offers a fascinating look at how some of Russia’s richest nobles lived.
© Russia Today. 05 April, 2012
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