Kuskovo Summer Palace

Moscow, Russia | C.1774

Photo Credit: Alexey Puzynya

The Kuskovo Summer Palace isn’t just as pretty as porcelain, it’s home to it, too. Now the Russian State Museum of Ceramics, this estate was one of the first great summer palaces of the Russian nobility, and is one of the few near Moscow that’s still preserved.

Count Petr Sheremetev had the palace built in the 18th century. At the time, Petr was one of the richest men in Russia and a patron of theater and the arts. He was also the son of Boris Sheremetev, a Russian Field Marshal under Czar Peter the Great. When Boris died, the Czar took Petr under his wing and raised him in the Russian court as a companion and possible heir to the throne.

Petr designed his estate to be larger and more beautiful than other noble estates and match any residence of the Czars. Since it was so close to Moscow, the palace was not designed to accommodate overnight guests, but instead served purely as a place for entertainment, ceremonies, and festivities.

A famous host, Petr threw lavish events that attracted up to 25,000 guests. Parties often included theatrical entertainment, featuring serfs as actors. But the party wouldn’t last long. Kuskovo fell into decline and sustained extensive damage during the French Invasion of 1812. Two decades later, the serf theater was torn down.

Following the Russian Revolution, the estate was nationalized and turned into a small museum of natural history. By the 1920s, it had become the State Museum of Porcelain and today it is known as the State Museum of Ceramics. The estate is a popular destination for tourists visiting its ceramic collections and lush parks.

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