Is it too difficult to get around more than 2000 hectares of forest? Weak, of course, but it’s worth getting to know at least a part of the second largest park in Moscow, Bitsevsky. You can get acquainted even on skis there are plenty of trails for a regular ski trip, even on foot. I walked in and now, instead of the usual sounds of the highway (the Moscow Ring Road is very close), you listen to birds and echoes of history in the preserved estates.
Just take with you a thermos with a drink and pies (or whatever you are used to eating on the road), because Bitsevsky Park in Moscow is actually a forest, with all the ensuing consequences. There are no stalls with coffee and shawarma in the forests yet. And they won’t ride here on horses for 500 re per circle, as in ordinary parks. But you can imagine that you are walking in the footsteps of the team with the heroes of the film “The Wizards”.
After all, it is through Bitsevsky Park that they race in the troika to the song “Three White Horses”. Fans of mysticism can remember (or read the day before) the novel by Victor Pelevin “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf.” Its plot unfolds exactly on the territory of Bitsevsky forest: the love story of an ancient werewolf fox and a young werewolf, a secret service officer. However, no fictional stories stand next to the real history that goes back as far as the 12th century, which is kept by Bitsevsky Park in Moscow.
Bitsevsky Park, Story
The name Bitsevsky Park in Moscow got from the Bitsa River on the southern edge of the forest. Once she was called Obitz (she is Obitets, she is Abitsa, she is Bitsa). There is a version that the name comes from the Old Russian word “obisist”, which means “surround, bypass”.
There is another version: during the time of Dmitry Donskoy in the 14th century, a major battle took place on the bank of an unnamed river between the army of the Golden Horde and the Muscovites. Before that battle, it was said: “We will fight here!” It was from this “beating” that Bitza, they say, came about.
This is most likely a legend, but the true truth is that people lived in this area back in the 12th century. It was at that time that the Vyatichi began to make burial mounds. Seven such kurgan groups in fact, they were cemeteries of small settlements have survived on the territory of the park: hemispherical embankments 1.5-2 meters high.
At the end of the 17th century, rich people began to settle here.
Of the seven estates of that time, three have survived to our time; from others, ponds and old trees of the former manor parks have remained as a keepsake.
Part of the forest had to be cut down during the Great Patriotic War the tree went to military fortifications. Bitsevsky forest still keeps traces of trenches and reinforced concrete caps of bunkers, from which they were preparing to shoot at the enemy. Fortunately, they were not useful: the Nazis did not reach these places.
In the 1960s, part of the forest was cut by the Moscow Ring Road, and most of the forest park became part of Moscow. In the 1980s, they even wanted to move the Moscow Zoo here. But they decided to be content with natural fauna for example, proteins. And the forest remained a forest.
One of them “Touch the Nature” begins at the address: Novoyasenevsky Tupik, 1. Includes an apiary, a pharmaceutical garden with medicinal plants, a rock garden. The path can be found at the stands or with the help of a guide.
The second trail is a historical and ecological one, it starts in the same place, and the guides tell about the secrets of the flora and fauna of the Bitsevsky forest.
A vegetable garden with rare plant species is located on the territory of the park directorate. There are also aviaries with squirrels and pheasants.
The name does not come from the ash tree, but from the name Yasin. That was the name of one of the first owners of this area, the housekeeper of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky and one of his murderers.
In the Middle Ages, there was a royal patrimony here. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great presented the estate to Fyodor Lopukhin, the father of his first wife Evdokia. After Lopukhin’s death, the house with the garden passed to his son Abraham. And here is the end of a happy story.
After an investigation into the treason of Tsarevich Alexei in the early 18th century, Abraham was sentenced to death for participating in a conspiracy. And his manor house was given to the churches of Peter and Paul.
Then the estate changed owners several times. The main house with outbuildings from the first half of the 18th century has survived to this day. Opposite is the Church of Peter and Paul (1750s). Here in 1822 the parents of Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai and Maria, got married. And from the former owners of the estate got the Marble Pond, the bottom of which, according to legend, is lined with marble.
After the revolution, a state farm was set up in the estate. The church was closed in 1941 and used as a warehouse. But already in the 1970s and 1980s, both the estate and the temple were restored. True, in 2018, they say, it was sold to a certain private company, and since then no life has been observed on the territory, the buildings are empty. But the temple is working.
Located at: Novoyasenevsky prospect, 27, Novoyasenevskaya metro station.
The name Narrow estate came from a former village known here since the 16th century. It belonged at different times to different noble noble families, the last owners were the Trubetskoy princes. After the well-known events, almost all of them emigrated. Only Vladimir Trubetskoy remained in Russia, who was shot in 1937. Like his daughter Varvara.
In the 1920s, a complex institution was set up in the former estate a sanatorium for improving the life of scientists under the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR. And until now it is used as a sanatorium belonging to the Ministry of Education. You can’t just walk past the fence, but bus tours are taken here that’s when you can get into the territory.
But what is certainly available to everyone and always is the temple of the Kazan Mother of God, built in the 17th century. In Soviet times, valuable books, manuscripts of repressed writers were brought here, withdrawn from circulation. And when the church was returned to the church, during the renovation, the workers found some kind of board in the underground. And just about to throw it out lo and behold! the image of the Mother of God began to appear on the board. Now this icon is solemnly hanging over the entrance to the temple. Locals say that the image is getting clearer every year. Located at: st. Profsoyuznaya, 123A, metro station “Teply Stan”.
In the 19th century it belonged to the Trubetskoys. Pushkin, Gogol, Griboyedov loved to visit here. Leo Tolstoy’s parents got married here. Well, the ancestors of the great writer were drawn to this place: remember, they got married nearby, in Yasenevo? Located at the address: MKAD, 36th km, building 1, metro station “Bulvar Dmitry Donskoy”.
Bitsa Park in Moscow includes a huge meadow with rare herbaceous plants. Locals advise: to get here faster, enter the forest from the car circle at the intersection of Balaklava Avenue and Miklukho-Maklaya Street. Then go along the footpath, and soon you will see a huge clearing. This is the Bald (another option is the Fox because of the abundance of foxes that were found here) mountain.
It is believed that once there was an ancient temple something like an ancient Slavic pagan temple. In honor of this legend, wooden idols were erected on Lysaya Gora in 2000. The most impressionable ones leave reviews on the Internet that they were thoroughly imbued with the anomalousness of this place, that they suddenly became ill, dizzy, and that it was not for nothing that Bulgakov dedicated Margarita to a witches right here. But you and I understand: this is simply the highest point of Bald Mountain. By the way, it’s very cool to watch the sunset from here.
They are from the side of Sevastopolsky Avenue, on the field, and in the forest itself, if you walk from the side of the Bitsevsky Park metro station. Locals seem to like to come here every now and then they bring drying and sweets to wooden idols. There is a belief that this is the only way to appease the pagan gods in order to help fulfill the desire made around them.
Miracle track, where you make 3 4 steps up the path, and then the same amount down. And so long, long: up and down, up and down. The undulating trail goes over the cliff. Taking careful, miniature steps, you feel like a forest gnome.