Basement for The Four Seasons: restorers save the pylons of the front gate of the Alexandrinsky Palace

September 21

The front gate of the Alexandrinsky Palace in the Neskuchny Garden is considered an architectural masterpiece of the mid-XIX century. It was created in the late Empire style. The gate strikes with majestic statues that are mounted on high pylons. In order to restore the unique monument and not to harm its design, the specialists had to use a complex technology. The work was preceded by thorough scientific research: familiarization with archival documents that contain information about the monument structure and the materials used for it, as well as the study of the characteristics of the soil on site.

Design solution

To date, the restorers have aligned the right (northern) pylon and began to do the same with the left (southern) one. Massive white stone structures are the main elements of the front gate. It is on them that there are antique statues of men and women holding a cornucopia. The composition is called The Four Seasons.

Prior to works, the pylons were strongly inclined towards each other.

It was necessary to excavate manually the foundation of the northern pylon and go lower. During the work, the integrity of the white stone masonry was protected by a steel frame. Then a structure was installed along the perimeter of the foundation, which became a new support for the pylon. In fact, this is a steel belt, beams and six piles at the base of the foundation (for strength, concrete was poured into hollow metal pipes). Deep wells were drilled to install the piles.

"The process of strengthening the pylon was long, because it took 28 days just for the concrete to be solidified in the piles. The very elimination of the right pylon tilt took specialists about eight hours. The restorers have done the job as carefully as possible. The position of the massive element was changed using several hydraulic jacks. These devices are capable of lifting and lowering loads weighing several hundred tons smoothly, and they are often used in restoration work. The whole process was monitored by engineers-surveyors, " Alexey Yemelyanov, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage, said.

According to the Head of the Moscow City Heritage, work on straightening the left pylon will be carried out by the end of September 2021 using the same technology.

Sculptural compositions from both pylons are now in the workshops. They are being got in order. In addition, the restoration of the palace fence is underway.

Currently, a project is being developed for the restoration of the Alexandrinsky Palace itself. All works are carried out at the expense of funds provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences in the form of a grant from the Moscow budget.

The restoration of the entire complex is planned to be completed in 2023, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Academy.

The Alexandrinsky Palace is the site of cultural heritage of federal significance and is located in the northern part of the Neskuchny Garden (Leninsky Prospekt, 14). The modern territory of the garden was formed in the XIX century after uniting three estates. One of the first to settle here was Prince Nikita Yuryevich Trubetskoy, for whom the architect Dmitry Ukhtomsky built a Neskuchny country house in 1728. The manor house territory was used for recreational country trips of the prince and his surroundings. At the beginning of the XIX century, the Trubetskoy family sold the property to the court adviser Vasily Timofeevich Zubov, who significantly increased its territory. He purchased the neighboring Andreevskoye manor house and the small manor house of Lieutenant Goryanov standing next to it.

The next owner appeared here in 1823. It was Prince Lev Alexandrovich Shakhovskoy, who decided to create a resort area with healing water on the territory of the estate. In 1825, the prince arranged wellness baths and walking galleries in the park. However, as follows from archival records, " no one sat in the bathrooms there, they did not drink water, they did not walk in the galleries." Having lost a lot of money, in November 1826 Shakhovskoy sold the estate to the palace department for the construction of the residence of Nicholas I.

The second manor house, from which the Neskuchny Garden was formed, was the manor house of the industrialist Prokofy Akinfievich Demidov. In 1756, he divided the plot into six rectangular terraces that led to the Moskva River, and planted a garden in the form of amphitheater. More than two thousand plants were planted here, and rare birds and animals were brought from Holland. Palm trees grew in the stone greenhouses of the Demidovsky Garden, and the park itself was open to notable visitors.

At the end of the XVIII century, after Demidov's death, the manor house came into possession of the princes Orlovs. When they lived there, the paths were arranged, hills were filled up, baths were built.

The Orlovs manor house was annexed to the Trubetskoys - Shakhovskoys lands in 1832. The third part of the future Neskuchny garden was the manor house of the princes Golitsyns. It is noteworthy that in 1798 it was owned by Natalia Golitsyna, who became the prototype of the heroine of Alexander Pushkin's novel The Queen of Spades. Only in 1843 the manor house was purchased by the Palace department.

The gate and fence of the palace overlook Leninsky Prospekt, the former Kaluzhskaya Street. The gate was designed by the architect Yevgraf Tyurin after he reconstructed the Palace itself by order of the Emperor. Before that, the Palace belonged to the industrialist Prokofy Demidov and was therefore called Demidovsky. When in 1832 the building became the property of the royal treasury, Nicholas I ordered to name it after his wife Alexandra Feodorovna.

After the revolution of 1917, there was a furniture museum in the Palace. It was here that the heroes of the novel Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov were looking for chairs with treasures. Today, the building is occupied by the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Yevgraf Tyurin (1792-1875) was a Russian architect and teacher. He graduated from the architectural school at the Department of the Kremlin Building. He took part in the reconstruction of the Kremlin Palace after the fire of 1812, was engaged in the restoration of the Arsenal building in the Kremlin. In 1834, Yevgraf Tyurin erected the church of the Holy Martyr Tatiana (ul. Mokhovaya, 7). Three years later, he converted the Pashkov manor house at the corner of Nikitskaya and Mokhovaya into a new building of the Moscow University (ul. Mokhovaya, 9) in the style of the late Empire. He was a member of the commission for the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, taught at the school at the Department of the Kremlin Building.


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