Bykovo estate

Bykovo estate

Bykovo estate in Moscow region

Five minutes walk away from the noisy road along which cars and buses rush from Moscow and back – and now, from around the corner of the village street, the towers of the Vladimir Church are visible. They approach, growing in size and transforming into some kind of solemn Gothic castle. The famous architect of the 18th century Vasily Bazhenov built this unusual Orthodox church in the Bykovo estate in the Moscow region.

Built in honor of the untimely deceased mistress of these places – by order of her husband, the Moscow commander-in-chief Mikhail Izmailov. It is even believed that he painted on the walls of the temple … portraits of the Izmailov couple.

The very same Bykovo estate in the Moscow region has not yet regained consciousness from its Soviet history, when after the Great Patriotic War a tuberculosis sanatorium was located here. Since the mid-1980s, when the sanatorium closed, the palace was abandoned, brick walls and sculptural decorations were dilapidated and crumbled. But surprisingly with dignity, the palace carried through the years of desolation its majestic red-brick beauty.

Tourists constantly come here – with excursions and by themselves. They are photographed against the backdrop of incredibly beautiful landscapes and walk in a wonderful park that hides long dungeons underneath.

Bykovo estate


The first owner of the village of Bykovo was the governor Illarion from the Vorontsov family, having received these lands from Peter the Great – as a token of gratitude for all kinds of services to the homeland. However, in the second half of the 18th century, the Vorontsovs fell out of favor, and Catherine II gave Bykovo to the Moscow commander-in-chief Mikhail Izmailov. He called Vasily Bazhenov, asked to rebuild the estate and build a temple in honor of his wife, Maria Alexandrovna, who died early from life (more precisely, in honor of her heavenly patroness Mary of Egypt). The Izmailovs had no heirs, so after the death of Mikhail Mikhailovich, a man from the Vorontsov family, Ivan Illarionovich, again became the owner of the estate.

After the revolution, the temple of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, of course, was closed, but not destroyed – the workshops of a garment factory settled here. The Bykovo estate was nationalized, at first a children’s colony was located, and during the war – a school of scouts and saboteurs, their secret base. Well, after the war – the same tuberculosis sanatorium.

According to urban legends, after the closure of the sanatorium, Koch’s wand hovered for a long time in the halls and corridors of the abandoned palace. They say that is why no one wanted to repair it. However, experts say that since no patients with an open form of tuberculosis were kept here, there was nowhere to take any sticks. They say that all this is speculation, and in general the estate has recently passed into the jurisdiction of the federal authorities, so the time is not far off when it will be brought back to life.

Interesting Facts

If you enter the territory of the estate through a broken “turntable” (there used to be a checkpoint to the territory of the sanatorium), there will be a shed with pipes nearby. Only this is not just a barn: it stands in the same place where the grotto once was. From the grotto to the palace, a 200-meter underground passage meanders. And another one of the same kind leads towards the temple (a simple tourist will not be allowed here, but knowledgeable guides say: the passages are kept in excellent condition).

Thus, the dungeon connects the palace and the temple. The grotto at the entrance to the park served to ventilate the underground passage. Now the function of ventilation is performed by the pipes of the barn. As historians say, the underground passages and grottoes were by no means a decoration of the park, but an additional exit in the event of an attack on the estate or a natural disaster.

Bykovo estate
Bykovo Estate Church

The tower in the circular part of the temple is surrounded by eight spiers with crosses. The number 8 means the eighth day – the day of the Resurrection of Christ and the beginning of the New Time.

There is an opinion that the name Bykovo comes from the fact that in the old days there was a cattle drive station in these places. According to one version, the cattle were fattened here before being sent to Moscow, according to another, on the contrary, they were slaughtered before the same shipment. And even before the revolution in these places there was a tavern with an outstanding name – “Bychiy”.

In the private sector of the Bykovo estate in the Moscow region, there is an interesting pattern: along the road and at a distance of about a meter from their fence, almost all homeowners stuck tires – apparently, so that other people’s cars would not park at their fences.

What to watch

Temple of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God by Vasily Bazhenov. It is believed (and about this, in particular, it is written on the stands at the entrance to the Vladimir Church) that on the facade of the temple the architect Bazhenov placed high reliefs (sculptural images on the plane) of the apostles (below) and the owners of the Izmailov estate, the husband and his early deceased wife (tier higher). However, some historians refute this: they say, an Orthodox architect could not have thought of depicting mortal people on the walls of the temple, and even higher than the apostles. They say that the Izmailovs’ portraits appeared here after the restoration of the temple in the 1990s. There is another version – all the high reliefs depict benefactors who donated money for the construction of the temple.

A pond with a rotunda in the park in front of the palace. The rotunda is the only garden decoration left from Bazhenov. This pond was once called Black, perhaps because of the large amount of silt in it. Opposite is the largest pond of the estate – Triangular (so named due to its shape). Until 1930, the Hermitage pavilion stood here, which in architecture resembled the Hermitage in Kuskovo. Here they received guests and organized musical evenings.

After passing from the ponds along the Linden Alley, go up to the palace. It stands on a hill – partly natural, partly embankment. Bulk hills were used by Bazhenov when he built Catherine the Second castle in Tsaritsyn (though not completed, because her Majesty once quarreled with the architect in a splash). And although it is impossible to get inside, and along the perimeter there is a notice like “do not climb the stairs: it is dangerous!”, You will get aesthetic pleasure from the architecture. And from the mysteriousness of the buildings, including the former kitchen wing, this is a two-story building with columns just to the left below.

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