Tsaritsyno Park is a large park in the south of Moscow. The area is most famous for its estate which was constructed as a summer home for Empress Catherine the Great in the late 18th century. Unfortunately, a lack of state funds meant that Tsaritsyno was never lived in and actually not completed until almost 200 years after construction began. However the legacy of her opulence remains to this day. Muscovites and tourists can explore the beautiful grounds, the lavish palace, and even burial mounds dating almost 1000 years old.
The Grand Palace was commissioned by Catherine the Great to be her summer home. Its construction took place from 1786 until 1793. It is quite unlike anything else in Russia; in fact it was modeled after the type of residence popular with European royalty at the time. Unfortunately the palace was never completed. Financial issues due to a war with Turkey and Catherine’s death in 1796 meant the Tsaritsyno palace was never finished until recent reconstruction efforts.
One of the most popular places for a Tsaritsyno photo-op is this bridge with its iconic archway. The Great Bridge over the Ravine (which is also known as the Gothic Bridge) was constructed in 1778 – 84 by Vasili Bazhenov, one of the two main architects of Catherine the Great’s Tsaritsyno Estate.
This church pre-dates the rest of Catherine’s estate as it was built by a previous owner in the early 18th century. This traditional Orthodox church stands out from the Gothic architecture of the rest of the estate. Rumor has it that the architects refused to destroy a church in fear of God’s wrath even though it didn’t fit aesthetically with the rest of Catherine’s residence.