Gothic in Russia

Gothic in Russia

Despite the name, we admit that there is no Gothic in Russia. And where does it come from, if such architecture in our country began to appear only under Catherine II, while in Europe, where it came from, by that time the peak of its heyday had passed. Therefore, all we have is stylization, pseudo-Gothic, which does not prevent these objects from being classified as masterpieces and architectural monuments.

Chesme Church, St. Petersburg (Lensovet St., 12)

The temple is memorable at first sight. Pink, with a snow-white ornament, it resembles a festive gingerbread. There is no trace of that gloomy severity that is characteristic of many proper Gothic buildings. According to legend, at the place where the temple now stands, Catherine II received news from a courier about the victory of the Russian fleet over the Turkish in the Battle of Chesme. Such a significant event simply had to be captured in stone, which resulted in the solemn consecration of the church in 1780 – on the tenth anniversary of the event.

Gothic in Russia

If you’re in those parts, don’t forget to visit the Chesme Palace (15 Gastello St.), also stylized in pseudo-Gothic style. The former imperial travel palace has seen a lot. In particular, it was here, on the night of March 5-6, 1826, that the body of the deceased Emperor Alexander I was transferred from a traveling wooden coffin to a bronze one. A little later, on July 12-14 of the same year, the body of the deceased wife of the former emperor, Elizaveta Alekseevna, lay in the palace.

The Chesme Church also has a double – the Transfiguration Church in the village of Krasnoye, Staritsky district, Tver region, built in 1790.

Alexandrian Chapel, Peterhof

Also known as St. Alexander Nevsky in Alexandria Park. Built in 1834 as the house church of the imperial family (a little earlier, Nicholas I built a summer residence nearby –
“Cottage”, also, by the way, is in the Gothic style).

The miniature church is perhaps most similar to the image that appears before our eyes when we hear the word “Gothic”: high octagonal spiers, lancet portals, large window rosettes with stained glass, statues of saints on all facades.

Since 1918, the church has not been operating; you can get into it by buying a ticket to Alexandria Park, and then to the Chapel itself. As of 2016, it will cost you 350 rubles (200 + 150). Be careful, during rain and high humidity the entrance to the Chapel may be closed.

Gothic in Russia

Novo-Nikolsky Cathedral, Mozhaisk (Borodinskaya St., 8)

Built in 1814 on the site of the Nikolsky Gate of the Mozhaisk Kremlin, partially capturing their walls. The temple stands on a high hill and is clearly visible from the historical Old Smolensk road.

Red brick, white decor, numerous turrets and spiers – in general, the Gothic style is quite recognizable. But there are no lancet windows here. Unfortunately, the temple was very badly damaged during the Great Patriotic War. At the same time, it lost its central domed rotunda. For some reason, during the post-war restoration they did not restore it. For many years, a knitting factory was located in the church building, but since 1994, services have been held here again. Restoration continues, but you can go see the temple tomorrow.

Gothic in Russia

Marfino Estate, Moscow Region

25 kilometers north of Moscow, in the Mytishchi district, is the ancient noble estate “Marfino” – another masterpiece of pseudo-Gothicism.

The estate itself has been known for a long time – it was first mentioned back in 1585. Whoever owned it – boyar Golovin, Prince Golitsyn, Field Marshal Saltykov and many others. But in the form in which we know it, it appeared in 1846, when the estate was owned by Count Panin.

Currently, a sanatorium for the Ministry of Defense is located in the estate, and not so long ago you could only visit it by ordering a special pass (however, local residents could easily show you the entrance to the territory a little to the side of the entrance). Now admission for non-commercial purposes is free.

Gothic in Russia

Tsaritsyno, Moscow

One of the largest palace complexes in Moscow and one of the most controversial. The controversy lies in the fact that this palace never existed in the form in which we can see it now. This is a kind of reconstruction based on archival materials with an admixture of the author’s imagination. But if we leave the discussions to historians and local historians, we must admit that it turned out interesting and beautiful.

Don’t limit your exploration of the park to just the palace (and the museums inside),

there are many other Gothic objects on the territory: the Great Bridge over the ravine, the Cavalry Corps, the Bread House, and the Arch Gallery. And just take a walk in the park. It is especially good in the early morning, around 6 o’clock, when it is completely empty. Don’t be lazy to get up early, and the park will open up to you from a completely different side, and with the right amount of imagination, you will be able to imagine that in these moments the park belongs only to you.

Gothic in Russia

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