Spring and Art Nouveau in Tsarskoye Selo (aka Pushkin) equal a very very enjoyable Sunday! Let’s dive into the Art Nouveau architecture straight away, by visiting one of the first modernist buildings in St Petersburg:
It’s such a coincidence that the first building discussed in the book on Art Nouveau in St Petersburg I picked up today for reading would be this very dacha!
According to the legend, Queen Victoria presented it to one of her relatives from the Russian royal family Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia (grandson of Alexander II), who ordered it to be built in the very end of the 19th century by British architects. Hence the English-cottage style:
The Soviets first gave it to Lunacharsky and then to the famous scientist Vavilov who had his study in this building. Since then it is still occupied by Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry. You can spot their greenhouses to the right:
And thanks to them they also preserved the garden surrounding the dacha buildings. Not all them survived though. But the over-hundred-year-old cedars are alive!
This building has become a film star thanks to becoming a filming location of the much loved Soviet Sherlock Holmes series back in 1980. It was filmed from the outside to make a perfect home for one of the characters in The Adventure of the Empty House. And from the inside it impersonated a hotel in Switzerland in The Adventure of the Final Problem 🙂 And how amazing it is actually inside – oak furniture, doors and wall panels… Pity we couldn’t enter to see all that!
The early spring decadence can only rival with that of autumn.
The ivy is still dormant, there are a few flowers around and the sun graphically emphasizes the details. And Art Nouveau is in the details.
This nearby building was less lucky. Just a few years ago the clock tower was still holding on but now it is pretty much threatening the passers by. This is the stables, actually.
And this one is a later addition by the court architect, in the same style. It was supposed to house the duke’s guests along with one of the first cars in the country (and a chauffeur).
This used to be an arch – for that very car to drive through:
And this one:
And just for a change – the glorious gates to Catherine Palace:
This post goes to my St Petersburg series.