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Entries / Menagerie (an ensemble of the Alexander Park)

Menagerie (an ensemble of the Alexander Park)

Categories / Tsarskoe Selo and town of Pushkin. The digital chronological reference book/Monuments of history and culture

The oldest part of the park, founded as the Menagerie, occupied more than a half of the Alexander Park territory. The area for the Menagerie has been chosen as early as 1710, the date coincides with the first visit of Peter I and Catherine to “Saari Mois”. During 1718-1723 gardendesigners Ya. Roozen and I. Fokht laid out the area of the Menagerie. According to the landscape design the Menagerie can be named the second “wild grove” in the Tsarskoye Selo escape. The Menagerie area was three times greater than the regular garden of that time. A square plot of spruce forest with sides about 1 verst (3500 ft. ) was enclosed with a wooden palisade and ditch. The Menagerie was located on the central axis of the stone mansion but in the distance 400 sazhens (852 metres) from it. A vista road, with lime tree planted along it, led to it. In the middle of every Menagerie sides there were lattice cabinet-work gates with wickets. In the center there was an open lattice garden-house which was set on an artificial hill. Under the garden-house there was covered up with earth stone cellar where stores for hunting were saved. Clearings (so-called “Plezir”) led from the garden-house to the gates and corners. The Zverinochny Pond, where there were pikes, was dug on the Kioke River (or Kuzminka) which flowed there. A mill dam was constructed and a mill shed and granary were built on the dam. Deer, elks, Siberian deer, wild boars were placed in the Menagerie from the beginning, sometimes hares were added. Special workers were responsible for supervising animals as far as the palisade. They worked under the direction of the senior forester. In addition the senior forester supervised forests in all country-houses of Tsarskoye Selo. The Palace sloboda peasants were contracted to supply moss for feeding up animals, hay was brought from the palace stables. In autumn black grouse hunting, using stuffed birds from disguised with fir branches boxes on sledge, was the most attractive amusement. Catherine I, Peter II, Princess Elizabeth with courtiers liked hunting elks, deer, foxes, hares and stuffed birds in Tsarskoye Selo.
In 1750-1752 according to the design of Rastrelli the hunting lands were fenced with the stone fence of 4.5 arshine (about 3.2 metres) instead of the wooden palisade. In the middles of the fence sides there were passages, two fronts crossed the Kuzminka River. So called Menagerie (Zverinets) line of the Upper hothouses, been here from 1722, bordered with the south-eastern front from the outside. According to rules of military engineering the engineer Pyetr Ostrovsky built four bulwarks crowned with lusthauses in the corners of the stone fence. Diagonal clearings which were begun at the Monbijow ground to the lusthauses. The Tsarskoye Selo Menagerie was used for presentations . According to the court ceremonial hunting for the diplomatic corps and other guests of high rank were organized in the Tsarskoye Selo Menagerie. Empress Elisabeth received ambassadors of France and Austria in the pavilion Monbijow that was richly decorated with pictures of hunting plots.
. Keeping wild animals in captivity, hunting and high perimeter fence was unacceptable for ideas of landscape parks which became popular and it changed the attitude to menageries. New landscape parks were often begun to create on these areas. The Alexander Park is one of example of this. During the rule of Catherine II, who herself was a lover of hunting, the hunting grounds were located in Tsarskoye Selo environments in forests on the Slavyanka River banks and then in Gatchina Town. Gradually the Menagerie fell into neglect and only in 1799 Emperor Paul I ordered to introduce order in the forest, to repair the Monbijow, the Menagerie roads and clearings, but works were stopped in 1801.
In 1803 Alexander I ordered to give a part of the Menagerie area for experiments of The Forestry School organized in Sophia Town. In March 1814 a gardening school or a nursery for trees, that were needed for planting on the vast territory of the creating Alexander Park, was opened. In addition to old clearings landscape roads and paths were paved in the Menagerie during 1819-1823. The east bulwark, surrounded with a ditch, was preserved and included in the new landscape composition of the park. The Menagerie wall and three bulwarks were knocked down, their places were laid out, ditches were filled up. Bricks and stones, remained after dismantling, were used for constructing new buildings: the White Tower, the Chapelle, the Farm group, the Menagerie line of Green Houses, pavilions for llamas and elephants. These pavilions served as the peculiar marking of the borders of the Menagerie territory.

Semenova Galina Victorovna

Alexander I, Emperor
Catherine I, Empress
Catherine II, Empress
Elizaveta Petrovna, Empress
Foсht I.
Ostrovsky, Pyetr
Paul (Pavel) I, Emperor
Peter I, Emperor
Peter II, Emperor
Rastrelli Francesco de
Roozen Yan

Pushkin, town

1752 - the 1760s

The territory of the palace parks were enlarged. The Hermitage and Grotto pavilions were built, the new Upper Garden and Menagerie were reconstructed and the Monbijou povilion was built there
Source: Tsarskoe Selo

Barracks of the Own His Emperor Majesty Escort

During its random staying in Tsarskoye Selo over the 19th century the Emperor Escort occupied hussar and cuirassier barracks. The first permanent wooden barracks of the Own His Emperor Majesty Escort were built in 1895 in the Alexander Park in
Source: Tsarskoe Selo