So Charming to the Eye. A Guide to the Fall Parks of the Capital

According to CNN, this is the second year in a row that Moscow makes the list of the best places to visit in the fall. We will tell you about seven beautiful parks of the city, where it is especially delightful to take a walk in the fall and to feel the effects of color therapy, feasting your eyes on the riot of colors.

Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve: Turgenev and the Secret Place

In the 17th-18th centuries the area now occupied by the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve was taken by the Chernaya Gryaz [Black Mud] village. Subsequently it was re-named as Tsaritsyno [Belonging to the Tzarina] by Empress Catherine the Great. By her order, the construction of the palace and park complex in the Russian Gothic style was first headed by architect Vasily Bazhenov and later on by Matvey Kazakov. The palace complex never became a residence. Some time later, Emperor Alexander I, Catherine’s grandson, opened the park to visitors.

Take a walk by the ponds — they were created back in the 18th — 19th centuries to provide water for the greenhouses full of exotic plants. In the southern part of the Upper Pond, the romantically-minded may find a stone arch called the Mermaid Gate. Once upon a time, there used to be a small stream there and you could row under the arch in a boat. It is here that the enamored Ivan Turgenev brought the singer Pauline Viardot. She sang for him as they went around the island in a boat.

As you tread the paths around the Tsaritsyno Upper Pond, you can see the Small Palace, the Circe Temple pavilion and the Milovida [ Good-looker] Pavilion. The best view of the palace and park complex can be seen from under the bridge connecting the park and the museum.

Moscow, Dolskaya, 1
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Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve: Ancient Oaks and a Legend

The Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve, opened in 1923 at a former royal estate, invites you to take a tour into the past. Exhibits and festivals take place here regularly, while there are over 172 thousand artifacts stored in the vaults of the museum: specimens of ancient Russian painting, early printed books and manuscripts, unique collections of tiles, archeological finds, numismatics and much more.

Kolomenskoye also features the ancient Church of Ascension (1532), St. George the Victorious Church and Bell Tower (1843), as well as the re-constructed Palace of Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich.

There is an oak grove next to the apple orchard located by the ponds at the top of the park. Some trees there are as old as 400 to 600 years! Most possibly this is where Peter the Great used to skip his lessons when he got bored with them.

Moscow, Andropova Avenue, 39
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Mikhalkovo Estate: the Princely Homestead and Picturesque Ponds

Come the Mikhalkovo Estate on the shores of the Big Golovinskiy Pond (Bolshoy Golovinskiy Prud) to turn up in the 18th century. The main architectural complex, designed by Vasily Bazhenov, was built in 1780–1784. The estate belonged to Mikhail Dashkov, a diplomat of the times of Catherine the Great, and the tutor of Tsar Paul I Nikita Panin, who were both of princely decent.

There are terraces with rest areas around the ponds. Some of the estate buildings are still standing: the east and the west gates, part of a wall and residential outbuildings, as well as two small rotunda pavilions.

In 2017, the pavilions were put in order, the paths and terraces were fixed, the ponds were cleaned and their banks were shored up, and water birds of the Small Golovinskiy Pond were happy to get aviaries. There are now three playgrounds, a bike path and five sports-grounds in the park, including a volleyball court and a badminton court.

Moscow, Mikhalkovskaya Street, 36/1
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850 Years of Moscow Park: a Comfortable Promenade and Biking Paths

One of the greenest parks in the capital was established in 1997 — the year of Moscow’s 850th birthday. For a long time a large part of it was not developed. Finally, the park was put into shape; major work was completed in 2018.

Those who like hiking will enjoy the 10-mile trail. There is now a picturesque boardwalk along the banks of the Moscow River with convenient stairs leading down to the river. For those who prefer sports, there are 16 venues, including two soccer fields, two tennis courts, a volleyball court, a basketball court, two beach volleyball courts and four work-out courts.

There are lighted and marked paths for bikers, joggers and pole walkers totaling 8.8 miles. There is also a ski and roller ski run that is 5.7 miles long.

850 Years of Moscow Park
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Khodynka Field Park: Mirrored Columns and Sage

This is a new green spot on the city map. In 2018 a new recreation area appeared in place of a deserted air field and wasteland. The park features artificial hills with view points, playgrounds and a trampoline center. Feel free to ride a skateboard or a bike here, go roller skating, play ping-pong or basketball.

The park enjoys a dry fountain and a very unusual art object: several mirrored columns of various heights. When the weather is good, the installation casts a complicated shadow that resembles a maze, which makes for very interesting photos. The park also has a pond with a small embankment.

If you go in for sports, keep in mind that there’s a jogging track around the park. It is 1.5 miles long. There are fragrant plants bordering the track: sage and mint, bird-cherry, jasmine, linden and lilac.

Moscow, Khodynka Field Park
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Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park: Beaver Houses and Dirt-Jumping

The valley of the Khimka River, one of the most picturesque rivers in the city, lies in the north-eastern part of the Pokrovskoe-Streshnevo Natural Historical Park. There is an   eco-trail along the river that is 0.08 miles long. It starts at the Tsarevna-Lebed [The Swan Princess] Spring. Enjoy walking along the comfortable causeway, watching numerous birds and beaver houses. You can learn about the animals inhabiting the park by looking at the interpretive displays.

The park is also famous for its dirt runs (a special dirt-jumping track for ATVs and mountain bikes) and high jumps.

Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park
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Bitsa River’s Floodplain Park: Embankment and View Points

This park, located in the North Butovo District, was awarded the Best Comprehensively Improved Residential Area Prize at the 19th Russian National Landscape Architecture Awards in 2018. Its key feature is the unique terrain with a natural slope and cascading ponds.

The area of over 36 acres features walking paths, a bike track, rest areas and sports-grounds, as well as playgrounds.

The Bitsa River’s Floodplain Park is wonderful for those who enjoy peace and quiet as well. An embankment has been made along the ponds. The hiking trail is almost a mile long. There are four timber decks with railings and three staircases with seats for convenient access to the water.

The best view of the park is from Ratnaya Street (near number 10), where there is a pavilion.

Moscow, Bitsa Park
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