Recreate like Tchaikovsky or Tolstoy: Moscow to host Dacha Tsaritsyno festival

June 25
Parks and pedestrian areas

Dacha Tsaritsyno festival will take place in the Museum Reserve 12 through 21 July. It will carry Moscow residents back to the entertainment events Tsaritsyno summer residents used to host in the late 19th — early 20th century. During these 10 days, Tsaritsyno will offer theatrical performances, good music and dancing. That's the way the summer residents spent their summer in the country village that once occupied the grounds of the Museum Reserve, with famous writers, musicians, scientists, industrialists and politicians among them.

"The first Dacha Tsaritsyno festival took place last year, with more than 480,000 people attending. At the end of 19th — early 20th century, Tsaritsyno was one of Muscovites' favourite summer vacation destinations. Summer residents spent their summer days walking in the old park, playing lawn tennis, dancing, enjoying concerts and theatrical performances. The festival aims to recreate the atmosphere this place had 100 years ago," Tsaritsyno Museum Reserve Director Yelizaveta Fokina said.

As reported by the Press Service of the Museum Reserve, the festival programme would start daily at 10:00 am with entertainment shows for the youngest park visitors and their parents. Kids aged 1+ will do exercises to the music and watch children's shows. On 12 July, at 11:00 am, on the festival's opening day, guests will watch 'The Scarlet Flower' play performed on the stage installed next to the Grand Palace. It is a story about beauty and the beast presented in an unusual style, with classical patterns of Russian architecture used to create the performance scenery.  Actors' play will be accompanied by folk melodies performed on antique instruments. On 13 July, the same time, this venue will also host  'Songs for Elephants' musical for the youngest children based on fairy tales by Donald Bisset, performed to reggae.

Daytime entertaining programme for other citizens is to start at 03:00 pm, with concerts, performances, master classes and lectures. On July 19, Tsaritsyno visitors will hear unusual accordion and cello adaptations of Johann Sebastian Bach and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

On 12, 13, 14, 19 and 21 July, the Grand Palace's stage will host chamber storytelling productions by actors Alexei Rosin and Ilya Barabanov. They start at 05:00 pm. The actors will narrate famous literary works ('Woe from Wit', 'A Hero of Our Time' and others) and share their experience on how to make your story more absorbing. On 14 and 21 July, visitors may attend a cooking master class and cook some unusual meals. In addition, daily at 04:00 pm, the stage will offer lectures by professional artists including those on the history of book illustrations.

During the festival, a picnic area with sun loungers is to be equipped for vacationers.  Also, you may play badminton and frisbee on the grounds near the stage. Rackets, balls and frisbees are available on the spot (unless you have brought them along).

The evenings are to be the most interesting time in the Museum Reserve. 07:00 pm till 08:00 pm, the stage next to the Grand Palace will host theatrical performances. Aronin Space creative laboratory, 7 Cubed theatre, Stanislavsky Electro Theatre, Teatrium on Serpukhovka and other teams will show their programmes.

Daily at 08:30 pm, concerts by famous pop-music artists are to start. On 14 July, Puerto Candelaria, a Colombian band, will perform in the park, and on 17 July, you will listen to the Klezmasters orchestra. On 19 July, you will also hear Russian singer Pyotr Nalich among the programme participants.

Find a detailed schedule of all the events of the Dacha Tsaritsyno festival on the Museum Reserve's website

From Chyornaya Gryaz village to the Museum Reserve

Tsaritsyno's history dates back to the 17th century. The Museum Reserve's grounds were occupied by Chyornaya Gryaz village, later renamed Tsaritsyno by Catherine the Great. Architects Vasily Bazhenov and later Matvei Kazakov were put in charge of the palace and park ensemble's construction in Russian Gothic style.

After Catherine the Great died in 1796, the ensemble never became an actual royal residence. The empress’ grandson, Emperor Alexander I, opened the park for the public.  In the early 19th century, the landscape park was completed in Tsaritsyno.  The stone pavilions Milovida, Nerastankino and the Ceres Temple were built, along with alleys, paths and bridges.  Dams and artificial islands created during Catherine’s reign were restored on the Tsaritsyno ponds, supplemented by new ones as well as piers and bath houses.

Tea party for a duchess: Milovida Gazebo renovated in Tsaritsyno

In 1865, Tsaritsyno was handed over to the Moscow Office for Royal Property. Part of the Tsaritsyno land was let out for the construction of dachas (summer houses).  Since then, the Tsaritsyno chronicle starts a dacha period. Launch of passenger traffic on Moskovsko-Kurskaya railway facilitated rapid development of the dacha village. It was now convenient for Muscovites to get to their summer houses and back to the city. Picturesque landscapes and romantic Palace's ruins attracted city dwellers. In the early 20th century, the countryside accounted for 400 dachas with street lighting, telephone communication, a fire-fighting service and children playgrounds arranged in the village. Summer residents walked, rode on boats on Tsaritsyno ponds, fished and attended theatrical and musical evenings, dancing and cinema sessions. A Russified German Balthazar Dippman was in charge of proper summer leisure of Moscow citizens.

There was also Dmitry Yezuchevsky, a physicist and inventor, living in the dacha village.  It was his wooden house that Anton Chekhov wanted to buy in 1904, but never did, as he died the same July. An outstanding archaeologist and a numismatic scientist Alexei Oreshnikov adapted the First Cavalry Corps built by Vasily Bazhenov in the 18th century four use as dacha. Oreshnikov conducted archaeological excavations in Tsaritsyno, together with his neighbour, famous historian Ivan Zabelin. Upscale Pokrovskaya area that had summer stage, indoor bowling alley and tennis court among other things, also housed a dacha of Head of First State Duma Sergei Muromtsev that occupied six standard land plots. His niece Vera Muromtseva became later Ivan Bunin's wife. They met in Tsaritsyno. Philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, biologist Kliment Timiryazev, poets Fyodor Tyutchev and Aleksey Pleshcheyev, writers Leonid Andreyev, and Andrei Bely, composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, singer Leonid Sobinov, artists Konstantin Korovin, Stanislav Zhukovsky and many others occasionally visited Tsaritsyno.

Today the Museum Reserve runs 'Dacha Tsaritsyno' permanent exhibition about this period in Tsaritsyno's history.

In Soviet times, there was a village of Lenino on today's Museum Reserve grounds. In 1969, it became part of the Krasnogvardeysky district of Moscow. In 1984, Tsaritsyno was transferred to the State Museum of Decorative and Applied Art of the Peoples of the USSR, transformed in 1993 into the State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Tsaritsyno Museum Reserve.


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