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Arkhangelskoye Estate Museum

ArkhangelskoyeThis museum lies in the village of Arkhangelskoye, 16 kilometers (ten miles) west of Moscow. The estate is situated along the banks of the Moskva River and took 40 years to comlete. Prince Golitsyn originally founded the estate at the end of the 18th century. The mansion and park were designed in French style by the architect Chevalier de Huerne and built by serf craftsmen. In 1810, the estate passed into the wealthy landowner Prince Yusupov (a descendent of one of the Khans not the one who killed Rasputin) who was the director of the Hermitage Museum and Imperial Theater. He turned the classical palace into his own personal art museum. Today the palace (made into a State museum in 1910) contains works by such artist as Boucher, Hubert Robert, Roslin and Van Dyck. The rooms and halls are beautifully decorated with antique furniture, marble sculptures, tapestries, porcelain and chandeliers; much of the china and arkhangelskoyeglassware was produced on the estate. The palace is surrounded on three sides by a park, lined with sculptures, pavilions and arbors. The Temple to the Memory of Catherine the Great depicts her as Themis, Goddess of Justice. There is also a monument to Pushkin, who enjoyed visiting the grounds. The triumphal arch over the entrance was built in 1817.

A short distance from the palace is the wooden Serf Theater, exhibiting theatrical and original set designs by Pietro Gottardo Gonzaga. Built in 1819 by the serf architect Ivanov, the theater had one of the largest companies of serf actors. Nearby is the Russkaya Izba (Russian Cottage) Restaurant, fashioned after Russian peasant rooms. The cooking is also  Old Russian; the menu offers bear meat and venison along with kvas, mead and tea served from a bubbling samovar.

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