This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
For the noble Sheremetev family living in Russia during the 18th century, summers were spent at Kuskovo, their grand estate just east of Moscow. A menagerie of buildings occupied the 741-acre property including a church, a grotto, a large orangery, their Palace, and the Dutch House – seen here.
Boris Sheremetev, a Russian Field Marshal and war hero, first acquired the Kuskovo property in the 17th century when it had only a church, house, and ponds. Years later, his son Petr set out to build the Palace and transform the land into Moscow’s most sought after estate.
Petr grew up to be one of Russia’s wealthiest men and a patron of the arts. He commissioned the design of the palace to be “larger and more magnificent” than any of the estates of the Russia nobility – even matching that of the Czars. In the 1730s, construction on his Neoclassical-style palace began.
Nearly twenty years later, the Dutch House was added. Designed by architect Y.I. Kologrivov, the traditional brick dutch house is situated near the estate’s ponds. Inside, Guests often ate meals in the kitchen, however those meals were actually prepared in a separate kitchen in the nearby woods and then carried by servants to the House.
In 1919, Kuskovo was given to the State Museum where it later merged with the Museum of Ceramics. Today, visitors can explore not just the preserved buildings but also collections of specialized ceramics and glassware from all over the world.
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