About sight: Kuskovo

Kuskovo is one of the most famous manorial estates in Moscow. From 17 century the estate belonged to the ducal family of Sheremetyev and remained in a wonderful state to our days. 

The grand palace is on the shore of the Palace pond, which has a right square shape. A beautiful regular park with numerous buildings and sculptures is behind the palace.

Kuskovo was first mentioned as a possession of the Sheremetyevs in the records of the end of 16 century and the family had owned this estate for over 300 years, up to 1917. Originally, the Sheremetyevs had there only a small lot of land surrounded by the lands of Prince Cherkassky. Count Boris Sheremetyev called his land «kusok» (piece).

Then his son Pyotr married a daughter of Prince Cherkassky, and all lands in that area came into possession of the Sheremetyevs.  During 1750-1770 Pyotr Sheremetyev had Kuskovo turned into a vast estate with a classic style palace, numerous «amusements» and a large park with ponds. 

The Sheremetyevs had other estates and mansions in Moscow, so Kuskovo was originally created as a place for splendid balls, parties and pleasure events. In 1780 a sumptuous flower ball was held at Kuskovo in honor of a visit of Empress Catherine II. 

It is known that Catherine II had been several times to Kuskovo, together with the kings and the nobility from Europe. At the time of her first visit to Kuskovo in 1775 Catherine II was accompanied by Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Joseph II with his retinue. Thanks to such visits Kuskovo estate became widely known beyond the limits of the country. 

Of a great success were also theatre performances the count Sheremetyev staged in his theatre at Kuskovo. All actors were the serfs of the count. An actress and an opera singer Praskovia Zhemchugova was especially popular in those years. Her first success was the role of Louise in Monsigny's opera «Le déserteur» (The Deserter) in 1781. In 1785 she brilliantly debuted in the role of Eliane in Grétry's opera «Les Mariages samnites» (The Samnite Marriages.) Praskovia Zhemchugova sang this role on June, 30 1787 in the new theatre building at Kuskovo. Its opening was timed to a visit of Catherine II to the estate. The empress was so impressed by the skill of the actress that she gave her a diamond ring.

But at the end of 18 century Kuskovo lost its popularity, as they say, went out of fashion. In the time of Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetyev known for his marriage with the same serf actress Praskovia Zhemchugova, no balls and parties were held at the estate and his son Dmitry began to use it as a dacha for short visits. 

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