The Kuskovo Estate and Turgenev House: what cultural heritage sites will be renovated in 2016?

The Kuskovo Estate and Turgenev House: what cultural heritage sites will be renovated in 2016?
As many as 614 architectural landmarks have been renovated in Moscow over the past five years. This year, two historic buildings will be opened to the public for the first time.

Two newly-restored architectural landmarks will welcome their first visitors on 17 April and 21 May as part of the Historical and Cultural Heritage Days programme.

One is the Korobkova mansion on 33-35 Pyatnitskaya Street ( , bldg. 1). Built in 1866, it was redesigned by architect Lev Kekushev in 1894 for merchant Trifon Korobkov, a prominent representative of Moscow’s commodity exchange market and a paper-manufacturing tycoon. He bequeathed the mansion to his wife Olga Korobkova. President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences Alexander Karpinsky lived there from 1935 to 1936, followed by his successor, Academician Vladimir Komarov, until 1945. In 2013-2015, the mansion was refurbished. It was repainted its original violet colour. The dome-shaped bay window on the second floor and the sculptures and reliefs on the façade were renovated. The entrance hall also regained its initial interior: the marble staircase was repaired, the railings gilded, and the stuccoed ceiling and walls were restored.

The Olga Korobkova mansion

The Greek embassy at 4 Leontyevsky Pereulok will also open its doors to the public. A fine sample of Moscow estate architecture in the Classical style, the mansion was first owned by Prince Meshchersky and later by Count Saltykov, Prince Bagration and Prince Rzhevsky. The latter sold it to Prince Dolgoruky shortly before the Russian-French war of 1812. The building suffered extensive damage during the war but was partially restored by its new owners, Colonel Nikolai Volkov and his wife. It received a Classical façade. The architectural ensemble of the front courtyard also comprised the nearby Church of St Nicolas (the church was torn down in the 1930s). In 1858, Agrafena Zakrevskaya, the wife of Governor General Arseny Zakrevsky, became the mansion’s next owner. She was on friendly terms with poets close to Alexander Pushkin, and with Pushkin himself. In 1862, the family built a home church in one of the risalites (avant-corps). After her husband’s death, Zakrevskaya spent most of her life in Italy. She died in 1879. The mansion was put up for sale and was soon bought by Pyotr Sorokoumovsky, the fur supplier to the Russian Imperial Court, who, in 1888, made up his mind to rebuild it. He entrusted the project to architect Alexander Kaminsky, the designer of the Tretyakov Gallery’s original building and the Ugresha Monastery (Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery). After 1917, the mansion belonged to the Central House of Education Workers. Over the past several decades it has been occupied by the Greek Embassy.

The Greek embassy at 4 Leontyevsky Pereulok

Exhibitions, lectures, quests and concerts: in all, over 450 events are included on the Historical and Cultural Heritage Days programme. On 17 April, more than 230,000 people visited cultural heritage sites, museums and theatres. Tours to 18 embassies and ambassadorial residences drew 875 people.

What sites are to be renovated in 2016?

Moscow is stepping up its efforts to renovate its historical landmarks under one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind launched by any world capital. In 2015, 115 of nearly 400 sites were renovated, among them the Spasskaya Tower, the main entrance to Gorky Park and the Gagarin House.

In 2016, renovation will be completed on 377 sites, 270 of them from the 2015 plan. These include the central and northern entrances to VDNKh and the Cosmos and Agriculture pavilions. The renovation of 136 landmarks will be funded by the city, 93 – by the federal government bodies, and 148 – by private investors.

The maintenance of Moscow’s architectural landmarks looks increasingly attractive to business with more private investment being pumped into it than from the city itself. The 2016 cultural landmark renovation budget is around 16.7 billion roubles.

The sites that will be renovated in 2016 include:

  • the Grotto Pavilion in the Kuskovo Estate;
  • the Neskuchnoye Estate;
  • Baron von Rekk’s estate mansion or the “house with lions” on Malaya Ordynka Street;
  • the Zimins’ mansion on Degtyarny Pereulok;
  • Turgenev House on Ostozhenka Street, where the writer lived in 1850;
  • a house on Tverskaya Street, where Ivan Sytin, a prominent Russian publisher, lived in 1904-1928;
  • the main electricity station for the city tram system on Bolotnaya Embankment;
  • the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery. 

The subsidies for the renovation of religious landmarks has been increased to 300 million roubles this year. The measure was approved by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin upon the request of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. In 2015, religious organisations received 186 million roubles worth of subsidies from the city and 44.8 million in charity funds (from religious organisations and individuals).

Review of the 2015 renovation programme

Of the 385 cultural landmarks on last year’s renovation programme, 115 were completed, which is 50 more than planned in 2014.  Moreover, 54 sites out of 115 underwent through repairs in addition to façade renovation.

Of the renovated landmarks, 37 were funded by the city, 23 by the federal government, and 55 through private investment.

The landmark sites renovated last year include:

  • the Spasskaya Tower at the Moscow Kremlin;
  • the Novo-Yekaterininskaya Hospital near Petrovskiye Vorota (the Gagarin House);
  • the main entrance to Gorky Park;
  • the Zaryadye churches (the Church of St Barbara the Great Martyr, the Church of St Maxim the Blessed, the Church of St George the Conqueror on Pskovskaya Hill, the Church of the Conception of St Anna the Righteous);
  • the Chernigovskoye Podvorye churches;
  • the Rusakov Palace of Culture;
  • the Gnessins Music School (an estate house on Znamenka Street);
  • a haut-relief by Yevgeny Vuchetich, Glory to the Soviet People – the Standard Bearer of Peace!, in the Central Pavilion at VDNKh;
  • the Podmoskovnaya locomotive depot;
  • grave sculptures at Novodevichye Cemetery.