Author Topic: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo  (Read 20986 times)

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Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« on: January 01, 2006, 05:36:59 AM »

Once there was the Annenhof Palace in the Lefortovo Park, built by the architect Rastrelli for the Tsarina Anna in the early 18th century. It was the Petershof of Moscow. In the 19th century it disappeared. Today there are plans to restore the park and even maybe to rebuild some buildings, of which one can doubt if this is good.

Does some one have pictures or plans or any other information of this palace.

Thx in advance.



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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2006, 05:37:49 AM »
Article about the possible 'restoration'

Historical Falsification
Natalya Davydova Moscow News

City fathers have a new idee fixe: to build a historical decoration in the Petrine style - a Peterhof of their own, no more, no less, with canals, embankments, ponds, fountains, and sculptures. The area for translating these splendid concepts into reality is 28 hectares of Moscows Lefortovo Park. The price tag, $77 million.
Furthermore, chances are that the project will assume an even more breathtaking scale (naturally, at extra cost). Early in October, big shots from the Moscow city government paid a visit to the park and decided there and then to add two palaces to the historical embankments and fountains that are currently under restoration.

Tree Felling

In the 1990s, when the Third Transport Beltway approached the Lefortovo area, city residents put up a stubborn defense of the park. As a result, it was decided to build an underground tunnel. A portion of the funds earmarked for the project was to be spent on restoring the parks water system - in case the federal landmark was damaged. The tunnel did it no harm. But today the project threatens the park no less than did the Beltway because it is planned to force the park back into the 1840s even though we are now in the 21st century.

The fact that the main contracting agency for the historical restoration project is OOO Organizator - the company that is building the Third Transport Beltway - defies all logic and common sense. It is equally inexplicable why the contract was awarded not to leaders of the historical restoration market but to some obscure company, TsentrRestavratsia PIK, in tandem with the unpronounceable OOO NPRP Simargl, which proposed recreating the Petrine era in the park.

This past spring the project, with an estimated budget of $77 million, was submitted for appraisal to the Moscow City Main Administration for Expert Review of Designs and Budget Estimates for Construction Work. Had it said "yes," construction work could have begun the following day. But the administration said "no."

According to Yuri Pirogov, the administrations deputy chief, there were two main problems with the project. First, the prospect of removing the surface layer of soil as the ponds and sites for the long lost fountains would have to be dug anew. Second, the destruction of trees: Under the project, 1,900 are to be cut.

Ahead of St. Pete

Neither could the projects independent expert - Professor Arkady Vergunov of the Moscow Architecture and Town Planning Institute Urban Landscaping Department, D.Sc. (Archit.)- say "yes."

Admittedly, there are no Petrine parks in Moscow, and this is all the more unfair given that the world famous beautiful suburbs of St. Petersburg originated from Lefortovo. It is enough to visit the park once to see that not only the enormous Catherine palace, designed by Giacomo Quarenghi, but also other magnificent specimens represent various lines of Classicism. Not a single Baroque fountain or bridge or rotunda has survived. Yet it is proposed to restore them. Moreover, the park will have to be closed and for years turned into a construction site. Would it not be a better idea to restore history step by step, cleaning the rest of the territory, trimming lawns, and planting new trees?

Royal Plans

The Catherine palace stands on the site where the Summer Annenhof palace stood once. It was designed for Empress Anna Ioannovna by the Rastrellis, father and son (Rastrelli Senior, Carlo Bartolomeo, is known in Russia more as a great sculptor, while his son Francesco, as the designer of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg). In front of the summer palace, the Annenhof Canal was dug: The imperial family liked taking trips there in pleasure boats. The projects authors propose restoring the canal - together with two arch bridges and a white-stone embankment (with a balustrade and flower-pots on top) - that were also designed by Rastrelli.

Yet the project materials contain not one description of these facilities, to say nothing of facade plans signed by Rastrelli, and the experts have not been shown a single draft of any of the 18th-century structures to be restored.

Tsereteli or Rastrelli - What Difference Does It Make?

Behind the canal, close to the Annenhof Palace there once stood a huge "cascade" - a 380-meter support terrace wall, likewise designed by Rastrelli. Inside it was a gallery. Its facade had semicircular niches adorned by mascarones (grotesque stone carved faces) while the parapet was decorated with statues.

Now all of this Baroque work is to be rebuilt right in front of the Catherine Palace - a Classicist building. According to experts, the surviving drawings of the ancient cascade at the History Museum are too tattered and faded to be of much use. Meanwhile, it was a model sculptural work, similar to Lorenzo Bernini creations in Rome. How can it possibly be recreated? It will be just an imitation. And then who will dare "rebuild" Rastrelli?

It seems that there is a likely aspirant. With a like-sounding name, too (reference is to Zurab Tsereteli, a controversial sculptor strongly backed by the Moscow mayor but thoroughly hated by the populace. - Ed.) Nor is he unfamiliar with the great Italians style: At any rate, the cuirass on his outrageous monument to Peter the Great on the Moskva River was clearly borrowed from the famous bust by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The only snag is that Muscovites, already traumatized by the masters previous endeavors, may find this the last straw.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 11:49:34 AM by Svetabel »


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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2006, 05:38:09 AM »
Wholl Foot the Bill?

Incidentally, project materials often use the word "restoration." The fact is that restoration work is several times more expensive than ordinary construction. Who is going to pay for this "restoration"? The recent cleaning of the ponds and archeological excavation was funded from the city budget. "A source of further project financing has yet to be found," OOO Organizator said.

There has been no word of sponsors wishing to bury their millions in Lefortovo Park. So you can rest assured that the required $77 million will also come out of the taxpayers pocket.

There can also be some contingency expenses.

Winter Palace in October

An October meeting at town hall decided also to rebuild two palaces in Lefortovo. Yuri Luzhkov for one said that "the old Golovin palace, built in 1701, should be restored." If the mayor referred to Admiral Golovin chambers, no drawings thereof have yet been found in the archives.

The second edifice to be recreated - the Winter Annenhof Palace built for Anna Ioannovna in the Kremlin, in 1730, and moved to Lefortovo in 1736 - burned down exactly 250 years ago.

Alexander Grintsev, Organizator project manager, says that this has nothing to do with the Winter Palace: The project is only about the ponds and fountains, not palaces. This reporter could have taken his statement at face value if she did not know which particular volume of the design and budget estimate documentation proposed restoring Winter Annenhof. (As usual, there are no facade drafts.) True, to this end, it will be necessary to pull down a 12-story apartment building (it was once built for Armor Academy officers) and another four residential low-rises. Given that dwellers of these buildings will have to be rehoused, the imitation of Anna Ioannovnas Winter Palace will come with an astronomical price tag.

What for?

Why all the fuss about this Moscow Peterhof in the first place?

Political Issue

Igor Voskresensky, Moscows chief designer, gave the following answer to this question: It is important for him as a person to have in Moscow a park that was the predecessor of St. Petersburg parks. "It is not simply doing historical justice - it is a political necessity," he said.

Not all of Moscow city government officials have yet appreciated the projects political relevance. They say one of those who was at the Lefortovo conference later on came on his own, took a long time walking about the park, and then said, in a fit of tempter: "Just think of how much money has been sunk into the underground tunnel to keep all of this intact, and now we are going to destroy it with our own hands." Comment "Very big money is at stake" Alexei Komech, director of the Institute of Art Studies, on the situation around the "new Peterhof"

"Why has the project of restoring the Lefortovo park as it purportedly was during the Petrine era stirred up so much controversy?" Alexei Komech says. "If the park is restored in its original image, the existing monument will have to be destroyed, ending up with a shining Peterhof that never was."

What is world practice in restoring long lost palace ensembles?

As a rule, only what has been preserved and can be proven by documentary evidence is restored.

Has an entire historical ensemble ever been restored in Moscow before?

Let us get the record straight: The project at issue has nothing to do with restoration. The authors propose building an ensemble anew Ц on a whim.

What about professional principles then?

Very big money is at stake. In our days, everyone is ready to forget their principles just to land such a contract. He who pays the piper calls the tune. A Christ the Savior Cathedral or a park and palace ensemble from the first half of the 18th century - they are only too happy to oblige.

Why was the project okayed by all authorities except the Moscow City Main Administration for Expert Review of Designs and Budget Estimates for Construction Work?

This is not so. The Moscow City Main Administration for the Preservation of Monuments of History and Culture Methodological Council cleared the project with so many provisos that it will have to be reworked and submitted for approval again. The Federal Council (of the Ministry of Culture. - MN) also rejected it.

But these administrations and councils can be squeezed?

There have been plenty of examples here in Moscow when the city government overruled federal-level decisions. This was the case with the Voyentorg department store building and the Moskva hotel. So protection of monuments administrations can also be told to shut up and give the go-ahead to the project.

So nothing can be changed then?

Why not? After all, this is a federal monument. The Ministry of Culture could claim jurisdiction over the project, and I am sure that this is what will in fact happen.


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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 11:11:04 AM »

I was studying Moscow in Google Earh, and I am wondering if the following placemark in Lefortovo is the Catherine palace (made to an army academy under Paul I), can some one confirm this?

And an other question, does some one has more info on this palace?

thx in advance



  • Guest
Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2006, 06:31:04 PM »
Is there really no one who knows something about this palace, or the nearby Lefortovo palace and the disappeared Annenhof palace? Maybe some one knows where I can start to search?




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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2006, 01:53:45 PM »
have you been to this site,  they have a section on russian royalty, someone there might be able to help, there is a thread called Russian Castles but some palaces are listed.  you might have to join the forum to access some information but it is free, and a pretty good site.

hope you find some information on it,

Sky :)


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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2006, 02:18:00 PM »
The palace was built by Catherine II the Great, while Catherine I built the one in Tsarskoe Selo (which is "only" rebuilt by Catherine II). Yes, I know that forum, it is very nice.

Offline BobG

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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2006, 02:32:27 PM »
From Discovering Moscow by Helen Boldyreff Semler:
"The Palace which Golovin built on the Yauza River opposite Lefort's palace has not survived, nor has the palace which Peter the Great erected in its place when Golovin died in 1706.  The enormous red palace one sees today dates from the reign of Catherine the Great.  It was begun in 1774 by Giacomo Quarenghi but finished only at the end of the eighteenth century by Domenico Gilliardi.  The palace is famous for its huge Corinthian colonnade consisting of sixteen grey columns.  Despite their beautiful proportions, the columns make the palace appear morose which may be why Catherine the Great chose not to live here.  The building stood empty until her son, Paul I, cam the the throne.  Wishing to eradicate all memories of his despised mother, Paul turned her palace into a military barracks.  Since 1866, it has been a military school, first housing the Cadet Corps, and, later, the students of the Soviet Mobile Units (Tank) Academy.
   The garden, which runs down from the palace to the Yausa River, once renowned for its artificial ladkes an cascades and whimsical bridges, dates from 1724."

There is a very small picture of the colonoade which I have scaned:

The address given for the palace is Krasnokursanstskiy 1. Proyezd 3/5.  This was during the Soviet era, and I hav found many of the street names are no longer accurate.

Hope this helps.


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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2006, 02:38:11 PM »
thx very much for the picture  :)

i did not expect from the aerial photo that the palace had such columns, it makes the palace really apart

Offline Svetabel

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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2009, 12:01:08 PM »
The last post in this topic was in 2006 but since then nothing has changed fundamentally with the Annenhof restoration. The Lefortovo park is a large area, almost 60 ha. And 32 ha of them are occupied by various organizations and priate owners which of course didn't want to leave their place.

So the question of the restoration is still not solved.


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Re: Annenhof and Catherine Palaces at Lefortovo
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 06:23:03 PM »
Many articles have been published on the project of restorartion, this must start in 2 years, there is still problem with private owners who constructs illegal house in the park...

We can also drow a parallel with the reconstruction of the Sokolniki park, recreation of the 19th alley, aristocratics dachas near the road,gardens...
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 06:27:51 PM by Vassili_Vorontsoff »