Ostankino Palace

Ostankino Palace

Location: 1-ya Ostankinskaya ulitsa 5a  Map

Constructed: 1790- 1798
Tel. (495) 286 6288
Subway: VDNKh
Open: 10am- 5pm Wed- Sun
Closed: Oct- Apr


Description of Ostankino Palace

The Ostankino Estate Museum is a monument of Russian architecture of the 18th century, located in the former estate of the Sheremetevs on the territory of the modern Ostankino Park. It is the closest manor and park complex to the Kremlin.

The ensemble of the estate was formed under Count Nikolai Sheremetev at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries. The palace-theater built in Ostankino is the only theatrical building of the late 18th century that has survived in Russia with a stage, an auditorium, and make-up rooms.

After the revolution, the count's estate was nationalized and turned into a museum, which in 1938 was named the Museum of Serfs' Art. In 1982, the historical name was returned to the institution, and since 1992 the former Sheremetev estate has been called the Moscow Ostankino Museum-Estate. Since the fall of 2022, the museum has been merged with the Kuskovo Museum-Estate as the Ostankino State Palace and Park Museum-Reserve and Kuskovo.



Ostankino's possessions

For the first time, the village of Ostashkino (later Ostankino) is mentioned in written sources of the middle of the 16th century: in the boundary book of 1558, the size of the poll tax of the peasants is indicated. This area is also found in the spiritual letter of Ivan the Terrible in 1572 as a will to his fourth wife Anna Koltovskaya.

The history of the estate itself begins in 1584, when Ostankino passed into the possession of the keeper of the state seal, clerk Vasily Shchelkalov. Under him, a boyar house was built on the estate, a grove was planted and a wooden church was laid, consecrated in the name of the Holy Trinity. Shchelkalovsky buildings were destroyed in the Time of Troubles, only a pond dug with it has survived to this day.

The estate, the boyar house and the Trinity Church were restored by Prince Ivan Cherkassky, who was granted Ostankino in 1601 and remained the patrimony of his family for more than 120 years. The prince's nephew Yakov Cherkassky, who inherited the land, arranged hunting grounds in Ostankino, and his son Mikhail ordered the construction of a stone church instead of a dilapidated wooden church.


Sheremetev's estate

In 1743, Princess Varvara, the only daughter of the Chancellor of the Russian Empire Alexei Cherkassky, married Count Pyotr Sheremetev, uniting two rich and noble Russian families. The estate, included in the dowry, belonged to the Sheremetevs until 1917.

Since Pyotr Sheremetev regularly lived in his family estate in Kuskovo, Ostankino was an economic fiefdom with him. On his instructions, a regular square-shaped garden was organized on this territory, greenhouses and greenhouses were built in which lemons, peaches, pomegranates, almonds, fig and olive trees were grown.

The heyday of the estate is associated with Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetev, who made Ostankino his summer residence and created a theater troupe consisting of more than 300 people. Under him, Ostankino became one of the most beautiful estate ensembles in Russia. Nikolai Sheremetev was a highly educated person, fond of art and the ideas of the Enlightenment. He decided to implement one of these ideas in Russia: to build a "pantheon of arts" - a building that would combine a theater, an art gallery and a library. In 1792, the construction of a palace-theater began in Ostankino, designed by architects Francesco Camporesi, Ivan Starov and Vincenzo Brenna. The opening of the theater took place in July 1795, the interior decoration was completed by 1798. Sheremetev's fortress architects Pavel Argunov, Grigory Dikushin and Alexei Mironov were engaged in the implementation of the project and design.

The building was built of wood in a classical style. Performances performed by serf actors of the Sheremetev Theater were often staged in a special room with a mezzanine. A well-known actress, a former serf, and later the wife of Nikolai Sheremetev, Praskovya Zhemchugova, played on the stage at that time. Many eminent guests visited Ostankino at different times, including the Polish king Stanislav August Poniatowski, the Russian emperors Elizaveta Petrovna, Paul I and Alexander I. Information has been preserved that Alexander II signed a draft law on the abolition of serfdom in the Ostankino Palace. In the second quarter of the 19th century, the count's estate began to gradually fall into decay. Alexander Pushkin, who visited here in the 1830s, noted:

Horn music does not thunder in the groves of Ostankino and Svirlovo (Sviblovo)... Buns and colored lanterns do not illuminate the English paths, now overgrown with grass, but once planted with myrtle and orange trees, numbering hundreds of years of their existence. The manor house is decrepit...

Since the 1890s, the backyard territory of Ostankino began to be built up with dachas.


Museum period

After 1918, the palace was nationalized, and on May 1, 1919 it was opened to the public as a museum. In 1938, the institution was renamed the Ostankino Palace-Museum of Serf Art, because the palace itself and its interiors were decorated by Sheremetev serf architects and artists, and the theater troupe consisted of actors who were in personal dependence. Since 1992, the former Sheremetev estate has been called the Moscow Museum-Estate Ostankino.

The museum's collections are diverse and consist of both personal belongings of the Sheremetevs and items collected after the revolution. In particular, before the closure for reconstruction, a collection of Russian portraits of the 18th-19th centuries, a collection of gilded and type-setting furniture of the 18th-first half of the 19th centuries, a collection of Russian, European and Oriental porcelain and other collections were presented here. The general fund of the museum has about 20 thousand different items.

In the early 1980s, the museum began to revive theatrical and concert activities. Since 1996, the theater and music festival "Sheremetyevo Seasons" has been held annually in Ostankino.

In 1993, Gennady Vdovin became the director of the museum, who headed it until his death in 2021. Thanks to his efforts, in February 2013 the estate was closed for major reconstruction, one of the main tasks of which is to preserve the wooden walls of the palace. From the beginning of the reconstruction, emergency works were carried out in the palace: the roof was covered with a metal roof, and plafonds were strengthened in the halls. In March 2021, the Moscow regional newspaper Vestnik Ostankino, citing Gennady Vdovin, director of the museum-estate, reported: “The process of restoring the Sheremetev Palace will be made public - after some time, a website will appear on the network with information on the progress of all work, as well as photo and video recording ".


The architectural ensemble of the estate

Church of the Holy Trinity
The Church of the Life-Giving Trinity is the oldest building preserved in the estate. In September 1678, according to the petition of Prince Mikhail Cherkassky, Patriarch Ioakov blessed the construction of a stone church to replace the dilapidated wooden one. The construction of the temple was carried out from 1678 to 1683 according to the project of the fortress architect Pavel Sidorovich Potekhin. The building is made in the style of Russian patterning, its walls are decorated with ornaments of red brick and hewn stone. A special feature of the church is a nine-tiered carved iconostasis. Currently, the temple houses the courtyard of the patriarch.

The Sheremetev Palace in Ostankino, built of Siberian pine with exterior plaster and decorated with interior decoration, is an example of classicism architecture. Works of art are presented in all state rooms, foyers and halls. The walls of the palace are upholstered with velvet and satin from the inside and decorated with gilded carvings. The appearance of the palace is complemented by columns, loggias and bas-reliefs.

Recalling the Ostankino Palace, an unknown English traveler wrote:
... in its fantasticness, it resembled one of the Arabian nights. In terms of brilliance and splendor, he surpassed everything that the richest imagination of a person can give or that the wildest fantasy of an artist could only draw.

The central place in the palace was occupied by the theater hall, when designing it, the best European theaters were taken as a model. The hall was connected to the Egyptian and Italian pavilions, which were used for theatrical performances and other entertainment events. At the moment, the palace is the only one in Russia and one of the few in Europe theatrical building of the late 18th century, in which the stage, auditorium, make-up rooms, and theatrical machinery have been preserved.

front yard
The small front yard of the estate, together with the adjoining outbuildings, resembles a stage space in their design. The fence of the main entrance of the palace was installed in 1827, and is an important element of the park ensemble of the XVIII century.

A park
The organization of the park area at the estate began in the middle of the 18th century and was finally formed at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries. The Ostankino Park consisted of Pleasure and Surplus Gardens, which were, respectively, the "English" landscape and regular "French" parts.

In 1932, the Park of Culture and Leisure named after Felix Dzerzhinsky was organized on the territory of the former park of Counts Sheremetevs. In 1991, PKiO was returned to its historical name - Ostankino Park.