by Olga BAZANOVA, journalist
In 2007, Moscow landscape parks and gardens round the manorial estates of Kolomenskoye, Lyublino and Lefortovo got a welcome addition. This is "Izmailovsky ostrov", or the "Island of Izmailovo", a lovely site of historical monuments of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries on the eastern edge of our capital. This place witnessed landmark events. For one, the Russian Navy was born out there. Ground was broken for landscape architecture and gardening, and many exotic plants were brought in. The erstwhile sylvan wilderness changed beyond recognition. The "ostrov" became a home of this country's first menagerie, the "wolf's den".
Back in the 16th century Czar Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) presented this woodland with its dense oak and birch forests, and the Serebryanka river valley to the younger brother of his wife Anastasia. That was Nikita Zakharyin-Yuriev, a highborn noble (boyar), a voivode (army chief and governor) and diplomat. Registers of the 1570s confirm his ownership of this patrimonial estate. Thereupon it was inherited in succession--first by his son, then grandson and in 1654, by his greatgrandson, the "most pacific" Czar Alexei Mikhailovich, the second monarch of the Romanov dynasty. At first this large patrimony served as a hunting estate with a nursery of its own. But then the czar decided to turn this land into a model experimental "farm". And work began on a truly grand scale. Earthwork was in full swing as of 1663: one built roads, dug out ponds and cut the bed of the Serebryanka in two near the village of Izmailovo. Both parts of the river were spanned by dykes, and thus two ponds, Serebryany and Vinogradny, were formed round a patch of dry land with wooden structures on, a church and H.M. chambers. Two master masons, Dmitry Kostousov and Ivan Kuznechik, were the builders of the waterworks, the last word of hydraulic engineering of the day.
A huge farmstead of the czar grew up round the han ... Читать далее