Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve

Tsaritsyno is a palace and park ensemble in the south of Moscow. It was founded by the order of Empress Catherine II in 1776. Now it is administered by the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve, founded in 1984.

This is the historically established, most famous and well-maintained part of the specially protected natural area (SPNA) “Tsaritsyno,” located between the Moscow districts of Tsaritsyno, Biryulyovo East, Orekhovo-Borisovo South and Orekhovo-Borisovo North.

The Tsaritsyno Palace and Park Ensemble, covering an area of more than 100 hectares, is located on a hilly area crossed by ravines on the site of the former estate of the Kantemirov princes. The territory of the ensemble and the park is bounded from the northeast and south by two deep ravines. One of these ravines bounds the park from the west by the Tsaritsyno Ponds and the other from the east by a complex of greenhouses.

Tsaritsyno is a monument of the so-called “Russian Gothic” (pseudo-Gothic). The most famous architects of their era, Vasily Bazhenov and Matvey Kazakov, worked successively over the course of 20 years on creating the imperial residence.

Tsaritsyno is the largest pseudo-Gothic building of the 18th century in Europe and the only palace complex designed in this style. The features of the palace and park ensemble largely determined a new direction in Russian architecture. In different parts of the former Russian Empire, many buildings of the late 18th and early 19th centuries were created under the influence of Tsaritsyno.

The Tsaritsyno landscape park, founded together with the palace complex, became one of the first landscape parks in Russia outside the St. Petersburg palace and park ensembles.

The main attractions of Tsaritsyno

Palace ensemble

Bazhenov’s buildings

It consists of more than 20 buildings, most of which were built by the architect Vasiliy Bazhenov in 1775 – 1785, giving Tsaritsyno its recognizable appearance. All of them were made in Moscow Baroque and Neo-Gothic styles. It is also claimed that the decoration of the buildings includes many Masonic symbols (Bazhenov was a Freemason), and the meaning of many of them is still not solved.

Kazakov’s Big Palace

However, the largest building of the complex – the Grand Palace – was designed by Bazhenov’s student, Matvey Kazakov. Construction began under the command of Kazakov in 1786 but was not fully completed. The unfinished palace stood half-ruined for more than 200 years. It was finished only in 2007 by architectural restorers according to historical drawings.

Later buildings

In the era of Romanticism, many small architectural forms, pavilions, and “picturesque ruins” in the park were erected in the 19th century. This happened after Tsaritsyno ceased to be a personal royal residence and became a public park.

Park and ponds


The park began to be arranged in the 1770s, simultaneously with the beginning of the palace construction. The palace’s first architect Bazhenov and English garden masters Francis Reed and Ion Murno created it.

The park is designed as a landscape park, with picturesque views of the pond and the palace’s buildings from its paths. Pavilions and other small buildings mark the most beautiful spots. Sculptures are also installed in some places.

Vyatichi’s burial mounds

The place where Tsaritsyno is located was inhabited long before Catherine’s reign. One of the first inhabitants was the East Slavic Tribe of Vyatichi between the 9th and 12th centuries.

In the depths of Tsaritsyno Park, their burial mounds are still preserved. The complete archaeological excavations date back to 1944. They attracted the attention of historians and archaeologists as early as the 19th century.

A group led by A.V. Artsikhovsky discovered some interesting items, including tools, which until then had not been found in similar burial mounds in the Moscow region. The findings were later transferred to the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve and laid the foundation for its archaeological collection.


The Tsaritsynskiye Pond cascade was formed during the XVI-XVIII centuries. The Tsaritsynskiye ponds are older than the manor itself. The oldest is the Borisovsky Pond, founded during Boris Godunov’s reign.

The upper and lower Tsaritsynskiy ponds appeared when the estate of Chernaya Gryaz belonged to the boyars Streshnevs: the lower pond appeared in the XVII century. All the subsequent owners of the Chyornaya Gryaz paid much attention to maintaining the ponds, building and reconstructing dams and water mills, and creating artificial islands.

The Middle Tsaritsynsky Pond appeared in the 1980s after the construction of a high dam, along which the route of Novotsaritsynsky Highway divided the Lower Pond into two parts. The Upper and Middle ponds are directly next to the Grand Palais and park ensemble. They form a natural boundary of the ensemble from the west and an essential part of it. Some of the palace buildings and pavilions of the landscape park are oriented toward the ponds.

There are picturesque islands on the ponds, the most famous of which are Bird Island and Mermaid Island.

Several natural springs flow into ponds within the park.


During the 2000s restoration, a light and music fountain was installed on Horseshoe Island in the Middle Tsaritsyno Pond. It is one of the biggest fountains of that type in Moscow.


Swimming is prohibited, but boating and catamarans are allowed and very popular.

In the north Tsaritsyno borders Kolomenskoye park.

How to get to?

Nearest metro: Tsaritsyno, Orehovo.

See also all parks in Moscow

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