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Video: Tsarskoe Selo Parks Landscape, Part 2
Read the previous part. ← Landscape of parks in Tsarskoe Selo
To the 300th anniversary of the founding of Tsarskoe Selo
From the north, the park is bounded by a granite embankment of a rectilinear canal with twelve cascades. It is adjoined by the first street of Tsarskoe Selo - Sadovaya, along which the old Kavalersky houses are located.
The eastern border of the regular part of the park runs along the second and third Lower, or Cascade ponds.
The layout of this part of the park is emphatically geometric and symmetrical. Garden masters Jan Rosen, Jagan-Kaspar Focht worked on the creation of a regular garden. The garden was arranged in the Dutch style of the Baroque period with numerous flower beds, straight paths and canals, with terraces, with rather narrow alleys in the center of the garden, not intended to reveal views of the palace. It was typical for the Baroque style to create some "reticence", mystery, ambiguity. Baroque, as later Gothic buildings, were surrounded by trees that almost hid them.
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The front parterre is framed by closed trellises of clipped linden, which grows in the form of a bush and forms high living walls, green in summer and brown-reddish in winter. On the south side of the parterre, ancient linden trees have survived, which now have a spherical crown, supported by a regular haircut.
In winter, the pattern of powerful trunks and an openwork compact crown are especially clearly visible, and, sprinkled with snow, they look like sleeping black and white graphics against the background of the colored facades of the Agate Rooms. Trimmed trellises adjoining old linden trees acquire a reddish color of the bark of young shoots closer to spring. It looks unusually touching and unexpectedly bright against a snowy background, especially in bright sun.
The General, or Hermitage Alley divides the parterre into two parts and runs along the main axis of the park through the center of the palace, built on the highest point of Tsarskoe Selo.
From the first terrace, on which the parterres are located, a small staircase leads down to the second terrace. It is decorated with four bosquets in which the now tall trees of maple and linden grow. The edges of the General Alley on this section, according to the canons of a regular layout, are framed with marble statues and busts.
The third terrace is an open space with two symmetrically positioned mirrored ponds-pools, framed by stone "frames" with baroque fillets in the corners. From the side of the alleys, these corners are also marked by curly contours of low-cut bushes of the Thunberg barberry, which completely replaces the boxwood that does not winter in our area.
The banks of the ponds are significantly understated in relation to the surrounding alleys, which in the warm season allows you to admire the reflection in the water surface of the changing colorful range of foliage of trees and shrubs.
This terrace ends with a transverse alley with tall larch trees, in the lower tier on the other side of the alley there are fir trees with dark needles. A small staircase in the central alley, also decorated with sculptures, connects the terrace part of the Old Garden with the lower one, located on the plane. The basis of the layout of the lower part of the regular garden is a trident of alleys emerging from a semicircular area: one central and two lateral radials.
These alleys reach the Rybny Canal, which was opened in the times of Peter I and Catherine I. The canal was intended for draining the place, for raising fish to the tsar's table. It was planted with fir and spruce trees, which, according to legend, were planted by the sovereign himself. Five bridges are thrown across the canal, coinciding with the intersection of the axes of the alleys.
In the middle part of the garden, three avenues diverging at an angle are crossed by a straight transverse alley that runs from the canal embankment with cascades to the "Grotto" pavilion built in the Baroque style. All of them are framed with trellises of sheared lindens, forming closed bosquets inside themselves. In these inner "green halls" grow taller standard lime trees with a cubic crown shape and several old apple trees.
This part of the regular garden was arranged as a maze of sheared trees and shrubs, which was an integral part of such Dutch-style palace gardens. Their peculiarity was the abundance of various places of solitude in the form of green arbors, grottoes, bosquets, trellises, envelope alleys (with an openwork frame instead of a roof, along which branches of lianas grew, creating green tunnels).
The labyrinth existed as a garden venture not only in the West, but also in Russia for a long time, including in the royal garden in Izmailovo in the 17th century. It is interesting that at different times it served different purposes and had different meanings. Over time, the labyrinth became one of the garden fun, entering into which one had to be able to get out. In the era of Romanticism, long walks are becoming fashionable, and the labyrinth, at the most opportune time, lengthened the paths of guests walking in the park.
The central or Hermitage alley runs along the central axis of the labyrinth. It is planted with standard lindens imitating a large tub culture. Their crown is cut in the shape of a cube. Various geometric shapes of linden crowns create an interesting space, live green halls, niches, secluded places for walking. Even in summer, when we see "green on green", the cropped forms make a very strong impression.
White marble busts and sculptures placed in semicircular niches at the intersection of alleys in front of the Grotto look spectacular against the background of the "green" walls. After 1743, the sculpture was transferred to the Old Garden, partly from the Summer Garden, for which it was ordered according to the instructions of Peter I. These were the works of the Venetian masters D. Bonazza, A. Tarsia, P. Baratta, D. Zorzoni especially for parks in Europe.
From the bridge on the Hermitage Alley, two ray alleys diverge like a second trident. Two radial alleys run towards them from the western façade of the Hermitage, and seven more radial alleys extend from the opposite, eastern side. If one could look at this part of the park from above, it would turn out that the Hermitage, which is cruciform in plan, is placed in the center of the Big Star, which is bordered along the perimeter by a double rectangular frame of straight alleys lined with tall maples and lime trees. (The plan of the parks is presented on a large stand near the main entrance.)
The central alley ends with the Hermitage building, surrounded by dense thickets of trees. This place was once called the Wild Grove because the trees were not trimmed there, unlike the garden on the upper terraces. The Hermitage is the architectural and compositional dominant of the lower half of the regular garden.
In the middle of the 18th century it was surrounded by a figured moat with water, a balustrade, numerous sculptures, vases and green bushes of trees. This pavilion was typical of the romantic gardens of the era. Richly decorated inside, it amazed the Empress's guests with technical innovations that were perceived as a miracle. As if by magic, without the presence of servants, a luxuriously laid table rose from an opening niche in the floor. Nothing interfered with the secluded, sophisticated receptions in this "place of solitude", which in translation means the very name of the pavilion.
At the end of the 18th century, by order of Catherine II, the moat was filled up, marble slabs were removed from the site in front of the building, and part of the sculpture on the facade and roof of the pavilion was removed. Now the pavilion is under restoration, but you can see the restored moat, marble paving of the site and facades with a characteristic finish designed by the architect FB Rastrelli. In the surrounding area, young trees are regularly planted to replace the lost ones: birches, lindens, oaks.
The regular garden ends with the Lower, or Cascade ponds. Mighty trees now grow on their banks, reflected in the smooth surface of the waters. There are tall larches, oaks, lindens, silvery willows, golden-leaved and purple-leaved maples in autumn. At the junction of the Kaskadny pond and the Kaskadny canal, clumps of Siberian deren with crimson stems have grown picturesquely, which makes this corner elegant and colorful even in winter.
In the spring, when the Wild Grove is still transparent, carpets of oak wood anemones wake up there; at the beginning of summer, marsh marigolds with glossy leaves are golden. Autumn landscapes along Sadovaya Street and Ekaterininsky Park are the brightest in terms of the various colors of the foliage of maples and lindens that soared up into a high closed wall.
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